There was a time—and it wasn’t all that long ago—when Alex Jones would have been far too toxic and deranged a figure for any influential member of the right to embrace. No more. Jones fits right in, just as Marjorie Taylor Greene, Paul Gosar, Lauren Boebert, Madison Cawthorn, Ron Johnson, and many others do. The right wing and the Republican Party are more, not less, radical than they were when Donald Trump was president.
In praising Jones, one of the most prominent conspiracists in American politics, Carlson called him “a far better guide to reality” than mainstream journalists. This is the kind of tactic that propagandists such as Trump and Vladimir Putin have employed so well: making claims that are so brazen, so outrageous, so untrue that they are disorienting, aimed at destroying critical thinking. Such claims are not just an attack on objective truth; they are an inversion of it, turning people such as Tucker Carlson and Alex Jones into the gatekeepers of reality.
What Carlson is doing is poisonous to a free society, not just because our society can’t operate without shared public facts but also because he is inciting paranoia, which may well lead to political violence.