Carlson then broke the news so gently to his viewers: He said that, despite his kind requests, Powell had not provided evidence to support her outrageous allegations and had even told him to stop communicating with her. Not only had she failed to provide him with evidence, Carlson said, but she had also failed to back up her allegations to others at Trumpworld.
I will not mention this now to suggest that Carlson deserves praise for acknowledging the truth of the matter in his program. Injecting a dose of reality into one’s coverage should not be a cause for praise. And it’s not what I understand.
But what is remarkable is that, since he called Powell, Carlson has been the subject of complaints from some on the right. His Twitter posts have been flooded with frustrated viewers saying they feel betrayed by him. Right-wing websites have hosted the controversy. And pro-Trump internet personalities have criticized him for having the courage to challenge Powell.
Powell himself re-uploaded accounts that attacked Carlson, including one who said Carlson had dropped “one of the Fox Globalist orgasms” and belonged to The Syndicate. During an appearance Friday night on Maria Bartiromo’s show, Powell accused Carlson of being “offensive” and “rude.”
This means that we are in a place – a bad place – where some Trump supporters will not believe information that contradicts Trump’s narrative, even if it is Tucker Carlson the delivery. Dare to disagree with the Trump camp – even politely and on a theoretical conspiracy – and even someone like Carlson will attack and be branded a traitor.
As I pointed out before: Carlson and the other hosts and personalities on his network are responsible for this culture on the right, we may never imagine he would come back to bite them. But now to some extent it is, although this is unlikely to hurt Carlson in the long run.
What Carlson said
Carlson made it clear on his Friday night show that he was aware of the controversy caused by his department at Powell. “In the last 24 hours, we have heard from a lot of people about this department, including people in the White House and people close to the president,” Carlson said. Carlson went on to say that both he and the White House agreed that the election was “not fair” – but added that “like us”, “they have not seen any evidence that the software changed votes.”
On the one hand, Carlson reassured his audience by fanning the flames of voter fraud. On the other hand, he seemed to be trying to pour cold water on Powell’s most absurd conspiracy theory that millions of votes were changed by a complex international conspiracy to undermine Trump. “If Sidney Powell can prove that tech companies changed millions of votes and stole the presidential election, she will have almost uncovered the biggest crime in the history of this country and no one will be more grateful for it than we are,” Carlson said in the tone of someone who knows it will never happen …
A Fox News spokesman said Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell canceled scheduled appearances on Jeanine Pirro’s show on Saturday. I pinged the Trump campaign for more information, but I did not listen.