Conservatives love free speech — when it involves denigrating entire segments of the population with whose existence they do not agree, or when “Christians” choose to spout hateful diatribes — but Fox News contributor Tucker Carlson demonstrated clearly on Thursday that “free speech” outside of hate speech does not exist in the right-wing world.
When a blogger for Carlson’s Daily Caller wrote a piece criticizing Fox News for not doing enough to oppose “immigration and amnesty,” Carlson quickly axed the column.
“I wrote a piece attacking Fox for not being the opposition on immigration and amnesty — for filling up the airwaves with reports on ISIS and terrorism, and not fulfilling their responsibility of being the opposition on amnesty and immigration…. I posted it at 6:30 in the morning. When I got up, Tucker had taken it down. He said, ‘We can’t trash Fox on the site. I work there.’”
When Kaus told Carlson that he needed to be able to write about Fox, Carlson told him that this exclusion was non-negotiable.
“He said it was a rule, and he wouldn’t be able to change that rule. So I told him I quit,” Kaus explained. “I just don’t see how you can put out a publication with that kind of giant no-go area. It’s not like we’re owned by Joe’s Muffler Shop, so we just can’t write about Joe’s Muffler shop.”
“Mickey is a great guy, and one of the few truly independent thinkers anywhere. I’m sorry to see him go,” Carlson said of his writer’s departure. He did not explain how he can simultaneously appreciate a “free-thinker” and refuse to allow that person to freely report on issues.
Kaus will now publish his work exclusively on Kausfiles. He says that Fox News’ influence over the Caller was just one small example of an overwhelming problem with conservative media.
“It’s a larger problem on the right: Everybody is scared of Fox,” he said. “Fox is their route to a high-profile public image and in some cases stardom. Just to be on a Fox show is a big deal. And I think that’s a problem on the right, Fox’s monopoly on star-making power.”
It’s important to note that Kaus was not critical of Fox News’ lies, its penchant for demonizing groups who are simply fighting for civil rights, or anything legitimate — he simply does not feel Fox goes far enough. Imagine if he pointed out that more than half of statements made on Fox are “Mostly False,” “False,” or “Pants on Fire,” according to Politifact (Joe’s Muffler Shop, on the other hand, has a 4.5 star rating on Yelp, while Joe himself is repeatedly praised for his honesty).
Carlson’s refusal to allow criticism of his employer begs the question: If he is repressing criticism of Fox, how can anything on his site be considered legitimate by anyone? Can even conservatives trust a site that is willing to censor all criticism of an organization — legitimate or not?
But if a writer for a propaganda outlet can’t be critical of another propaganda outlet’s lack of propaganda on specific topics, “freedumb” is dead.