Tucker Carlson makes me sad

Here’s the thing, though: Compare cable news Tucker Carlson to the Tucker Carlson who wrote the 2016 Politico op-ed titled, “Donald Trump Is Shocking, Vulgar and Right.”

This is one of the most astute and absorbing reads on the rise of President Trump produced by any political commentator, which is saying something considering how overcrowded the field is. Carlson put real thought into this. This op-ed, written months before he took over the 9 p.m. slot, is engaging and beautifully written. It is also persuasive. In short, it’s the opposite of his show.

It’s almost tragic re-reading his Politico op-ed and then turning on his evening show. Gone is that keenness of vision. Gone is that deeper grasp of the decades of context that explains our current culture. Gone is his desire to persuade. It has been replaced almost entirely with circus sideshow stuff, red meat for viewers who don’t want anything more difficult than “blue is bad, red is good.” His show deals with issues in terms of who loves and who hates America. Ideological opponents are classified simply as “elites,” the “ruling class,” “east coast liberals,” “THE MEDIA,” etc.