June 11, 2023

Rachel Maddow debunked the power of Tucker Carlson and conservative media, without ever saying the name of the former Fox News host.

Video of Maddow:

Maddow said:

You are right to see commonalities among them in style and in terms of the kind of appeal they have, the kind of thing they’re selling, the way they try to get Americans to hate each other and resent each other and particularly the way they try to get Americans to hate minority groups but I also think it can be overstated, right, even though there’s always one of them who is dominant, the magnitude of their dominance decreases over time and you can see that when you look at who’s been the dominant figure in decade after decade, generation as generation, as big as any of these modern guys are there’s never ever going to be anyone as dominant as father Charles Coughlin was in the 1930s and as
big as the broadcasters were, you know, in the ’80s and ’90s.

They’ll never compete with Coughlin and the broadcasters huge in the ’80s and ’90s were more dominant in their time than any of the flavor-of-the-month broadcasters are dominant now so we have a dominant figure, almost always there’s someone dominating but the magnitude of their dominance, their overall importance to the media, right-wing media ecosystem shrinks as right-wing media over time diversifies and becomes a lot of different things that exists on a lot of different platforms so they’ll never be somebody as big as the biggest guys of the past were.

Secondly, what you see over and over and over again, and I don’t know why this hasn’t sunk in and become a thing we make fun of these guys for, but when you really look at it it becomes quite clear that dominance inside conservative media doesn’t tend to cross over into any other kind of major influence.

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Rachel Maddow had it nailed on both counts. The real power of Tucker Carlson wasn’t with America at large. Carlson’s real power was in how he could lead around the Republican Party.

Carlson only drew three or so million viewers on his best nights. His audience was less than 1% of the population of the United States, but he had a lording influence over the Republican Party.

The surprise of Tucker Carlson’s firing was that it took away the person who was the dominant conservative media voice directing the Republican Party. Eventually, somebody from the conservative media side is going to get the idea that instead of leading the Republican Party from their media perch, they could cross over into politically leading the Republican Party.

Tucker Carlson was never as powerful as a media force as the right made him out to be. Carlson will be replaced and the next person will have an even smaller audience than Tucker Carlson, but they will rise to be the media influencer of the Republican Party.

What Maddow suggested is that Tucker Carlson will be gone and eventually forgotten.

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