Once upon a time I read conservative Tucker Carlson and watched him because he seemed like an up and coming conservative pundit. I worked as a staff reporter on the San Diego Union where staffers often talked about his father, Richard Warner Carlson, a former Los Angeles news anchor and U.S. ambassador to the Seychelles who was president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and director of Voice of America. Carlson grew up in Carlsbad, in northern San Diego County. I moved to San Diego in 1982, after working on Knight-Ridder’s Wichita Eagle. I learned about Tucker Carlson from staffers who mentioned him and started to follow his work.
But now I agree totally with Andrew Sullivan in this must-read here. This is a case of someone who squandered his enormopus potential and his “market appeal” will be limited to one choir — a sour-note singing choir that not all Republicans enjoy listening to. Sullivan is right: to some, personal hatred is now politics…at a time when there are zillion things people can say assertively, aggressively on policies that need improvement, alternative policies and alternative programs.
Andrew Sullivan notes that Carlson used to be a “brilliant writer.” He’s correct. And most likely Tucker still is.
But he has dramatically altered his brand — so most thoughtful people won’t read him.
On the other hand, he’ll still have Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.
UPDATE: Josh Marshall has a related post on the journalistic decline of someone else — Matt Drudge. READ IT IN FULL HERE.
And, yes, I was also a huge Drudge fan when he came out. But then I’d link to some of these Drudge SCREAMING HEADLINE SCOOPS (the one I remember most us in 2004 when he reported Hillary Clinton would rock the political world by being John Kerry’s running mate). But some of these turned out false. I began to wonder: who’s writing these original reports? Dick Morris? and I vowed never to link to the site again UNTIL I saw an original report was being reported on by the mainstream media and had been checked out by them. In this election year Drudge has been accused since the primaries as basically being a press release site for and campaign tool of the Romney campaign (even some of GOP rivals noted as such). But once upon a time when he broke the Monica Lewinsky story and was a news aggregator he was perceived differently. Now he’s part of the Rush/Sean/Romney narrative distribution team — and what he hypes gets picked up by conservative blogs who then can push something into the mainstream media.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.