We at “Tucker Carlson Tonight” have watched with growing amusement as our media gatekeepers thrash about in a frenzy of foaming hysteria at the possibility that someone, somewhere might dare to present facts or form opinions without their express written permission. Freelance thinking is what they hate most, because it’s a threat to their monopoly. They can’t say that out loud, so instead they call it “disinformation.”
“Disinformation is the real threat,” says the guy who thinks his union has the contract on bringing you the news. It’s ridiculous.
However, before you judge these people, take a moment and feel some compassion. Imagine if you had spent 30 years making a good living as a car mechanic, and all of a sudden GM invents an engine that anyone can fix at home with a screwdriver. You’d be upset. That’s how CNN feels about the internet. It’s exposing their scam, so naturally, they’re a little irrational about it.
The thing about disinformation, they’re telling us, is not that it’s simply harmful to you personally. It’s not like eating a pint of Ben & Jerry’s or sneaking a smoke while the kids are at school. Dsinformation isn’t a sin, it’s a crime. Disinformation is an offense against this country, an attack on America and, more critically, on something called our “norms.”
If we’re being completely honest, there is a kernel of truth in what they’re yelling about. There is disinformation out there and it does hurt people, imparing their ability to make wise decisions. You can’t know what to do next if you don’t know what’s really going on. A lot of people in this country are in that position right now. We saw evidence of it just this week.
We recently read a research paper called “How Informed are Americans about Race and Policing?” It was published by the Skeptic Research Center, and it’s a pretty amazing document. The researchers asked people to estimate the number of unarmed African-Americans who were killed by the police in 2019. Accrding to the results, 44% of Americans who describe themselves as liberal believe about 1,000 or more than 1,000 unarmed African-Americans were gunned down by cops that year. The actual number of unarmed African-Americans killed by the police in 2019 was 27.
The rest of the study found similar results: Self-described liberals, for example, believe that a strong majority of people killed by police in 2019 were African-Americans. The actual percentage was less than half that, closer to 25%.
These are not small mistakes. A lot of Americans are completely and utterly misinformed, and that has actual consequences. Public policy can change dramatically on the basis of things people think they know but don’t actually know. So it’s worth finding out where the public is getting all this “disinformation.”
Is it QAnon? Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Twitter feed? The Kremlin? The Proud Boys? Alex Jones?
The answer is none of the above. It was cable news and politicians talking on TV. They’re the ones spreading disinformation to Americans. Apparently, not only are huge numbers of unarmed African-Americans murdered every year because of their race, to deny that or question that fact is to effectively participate in those killings yourself.
Where, and this is the missing piece of the puzzle, are all the victims of this indiscriminate racial violence? Last month, MSNBC was pretty sure they had found one. The channel claimed cops had tried to execute an unarmed African-American man called Jacob Blake in Wisconsin. They repeated the claim that Jacob Blake was unarmed again and again and again.
However, someone in MSNBC’s news division forgot to check with Jacob Blake about that because a week later, Blake himself admitted on camera that he was, in fact, armed.
JACOB BLAKE, JAN 14: I’m rattled, you know? I realized I had dropped my knife, a little pocket knife, so I picked it up after I got off of him, because they Tased me and I fell on top of them … I shouldn’t have picked it up, only considering what was going on at that time, I wasn’t thinking clearly.
We feel sorry for Jacob Blake, whose life has been changed forever, but his story is not quite the neat little morality tale we thought it was, is it?
We can give you many examples. Here’s one from the weekend. Hundreds of activists gathered in New York to stage a march against White nationalism. They said they were seeking justice for an 84-year-old man from Thailand who had been attacked in San Francisco and later died from his injuries.
Protesters stormed through Washington Square Park chanting slogans like “Whose streets? Our streets!” One held a sign that read, “White nationalism is the virus.” Maybe it is, but it’s hard to know exactly who’s been infected with it. Police have arrested a 19-year-old man called Antoine Watson for the crime, and let’s just say it’s hard to imagine that Antoine Watson is a White supremacist.
So why are they suggesting otherwise? An interesting theory comes to us from a researcher called Zach Goldberg, who does not work at CNN. Goldberg looked at every time the term racism was used in America’s largest newspapers and noticed a trend. There was a noticeable spike just after 2011, which not coincidentally was right around the time of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
When people are starting to talk about what Wall Street actually does in public, all at once, journalists agree that the real problem in America is its racism. America is not a place with a screwed-up economic system that rewards a tiny number of emotionally damaged grifters who possess otherwise useless skills applicable only to finance while everyone else gets poorer. That’s not a problem. No, America is instead a place where the rest of us must hate each other at all times because of our skin colors, which, by the way, cannot be changed.
That way, once we’re all yelling and aggrieved and angry about irresolvable race questions, once we’ve picked the wound until it won’t stop bleeding, we won’t have the time to ask even the most basic questions about economics — questions like “Why are all these billionaire hedge fund guys paying half the tax rate I am? And who precisely is getting rich from the Federal Reserve? Where’s all that money going?
You don’t see a ton of stories about those questions in The New York Times. They’re too busy talking about race. It’s a pretty sophisticated operation. Vladimir Putin could never pull it off. He’d buy a few dopey ads on Facebook and call it a day.
No, it takes a sophisticated operator to take the central problem of American life, the agonizing death of our middle class, and cover it with a smokescreen of manufactured race hatred so that no one even realizes it’s happening. You’d really need to be, as CNN would put it, a “disinformation network” to pull that off.
The irony is, because everything is irony, that CNN itself has become a disinformation network far more powerful than QAnon, and far more destructive.
This article is adapted from Tucker Carlson’s opening commentary on the Feb. 23, 2021 edition of “Tucker Carlson Tonight.”