June 21, 2019
MY CORNER by Boyd Cathey
Is FOX NEWS Really Conservative?
Increasingly, the Tucker Carlson Tonight program is the only program I can watch regularly on Fox News without thinking that I’ve made a mistake, and somehow I’ve dialed into NBC. At least, that’s the message that is coming through more and more regarding topics like race—and “racism,” and gender—and “feminism.” For Fox seems to be tagging along as a kind of red-headed stepsister to the far left media, essentially normalizing, tepidly at times, what is essentially a progressivist narrative on those hot topics.
Oh, yes, I can hear the objections to my assertion: Fox is just trying to defend the genuine “concept of equality” against those who wish to pervert it in racial and gender matters—Fox is trying to fight back against the extremists who have subverted our traditions of fairness and equal justice under the law. And then: we must admit that Fox defends religious freedom against those who wish to extinguish it. Finally, Fox has been in the forefront of exposing the Russia Hoax and defending the president. Isn’t this true? After all, what else is there?
How, then, can I be so harsh in my criticism?
These are good questions, questions that should be addressed.
I would respond by acknowledging that the network has defended President Trump and helped to expose the Russia Hoax and does generally defend religious freedom. But I would also cite other facts included in any number of past installments in the MY CORNER series which examine how the network and many of its commenters often split hairs, and in the name of opposing the far Left, end up as no real opposition at all.
Consider the number of pundits who are involved in same sex unions who now appear regularly on the network and Fox’s apparent de facto acceptance of that assault on an essential belief of Western civilization. Or, consider Fox’s canonization of race hustler Martin Luther King Jr. and the disastrous civil rights revolution, and its eagerness to attack older traditions and figures of conservatism, in particular, of the Confederacy, as “racists,” “segregationists,” and “reactionaries”. (Remember Fox host Brian Kilmeade’s series on the “Civil War” which could have been—and maybe was—taken right out of Marxist historian Eric Foner’s textbooks?) Or, consider the network’s nearly complete support for globalism and employing American arms (and the lives of American boys) to impose “democracy” (and thus current “American values”) on every poor, benighted desert oasis or impenetrable jungle in every God-forsaken corner of the world. I would argue strenuously that this internationalism is, both historically and philosophically, a leftist position and that it stands in direct opposition to traditional American conservatism.
Such “conservative opposition” ends up through its faint, often nugatory response to the far left actually solidifying a generally progressivist advance, whether in issues regarding race and gender, and perhaps more fundamentally, in the very understanding of what America is--or should be--all about.
In a real sense, this is what the presidential election of 2016 was all over. In that election it was Donald Trump who (perhaps in spite of himself) symbolized a return to an older understanding, and that understanding stood—and stands—in stark contradiction to the view of America and what defines this country held by both the far Left AND most talking heads at Fox and in the Neoconservative foreign policy establishment in Washington: frenetic globalism abroad and acceptance of an essentially progressivist template on issues of race and gender at home, even when protesting otherwise.
Tucker Carlson seems to understand this better than anyone else at Fox. His nightly comments usually at the beginning of his programs offer insight into his thinking. Of course, he is part of the Fox, and he cannot be expected to critique his own network, even if he should take positions which are at direct variance with the general drift clearly observed.
Somehow he manages to balance that with his own refreshingly free-of-cant, non-Neoconservative views on most (but not all) topics. And, certainly, it helps that his prime time program is ranked number one in its time slot. What news network is going to kill the goose that lays the golden egg?
Just as critical as he has been of the lunacy of the Democrats and the loony progressivists, he has not exempted the establishment Republicans from his withering criticism, either. And most recently he offered one of those remarkable monologues that you don’t expect to ever hear from someone who calls himself a “conservative” these days, but, down deep, you know for a fact is absolutely true.
Just as international financier and billionaire George Soros has been a kind of power behind the throne of dozens of leftist movements, foundations, and action, including major elements of the Democratic Party, so the Koch brothers have exercised a tremendous influence in GOP circles, and in shaping Republican positions on such hot button issues as immigration, feminism, and the future of the Internet. And that influence, Carlson declared forcefully, is the antithesis of what voters who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 wanted or desired.
Here below is a transcript of his comments from Wednesday, June 19; they should be nailed to the walls of Congress and sent to every Republican candidate running for office in 2020: where do YOU stand—with the Koch brothers, or with the grass roots Americans who made their choice known in 2016?
Time to ‘fess up.
Tucker Carlson: 'Conservatives Might Want to Pause and Rethink the Relationship' with the Kochs
On Wednesday, Fox News Channel host Tucker Carlson argued conservatives should “rethink” their relationship with the Koch Brothers. Transcript as Follows:
Charles and David Koch are two of the richest men in the world.
Each is worth tens of billions of dollars. Some of their money is inherited. Much they made themselves. But the Kochs have never been content merely to get richer. They’re engaged intellectuals, with a sincere desire to change the world. For years, the brothers have been the single most important funders of Republican politics in Washington.
The Koch network of donors spends hundreds of millions of dollars every election cycle.
Virtually every major conservative non-profit in DC takes Koch money. Koch organizations train political organizers and candidates. Many Republican lawmakers owe their careers to the Kochs. For people whose main business is making fertilizer and paper towels, the Kochs have been remarkably effective in politics. Not surprisingly, the left hates them for it. Both the Koch brothers and their families, who by the way are very nice people, have been repeatedly and grotesquely maligned by the media. This, in turn, has convinced many conservatives that the Kochs much be on their side. Anyone who’s been slandered by the New York Times has got to be doing something right. That’s the idea. It’s not a bad standard.
But in the case of the Kochs, conservatives might want to pause and rethink the relationship.
As it turns out, the Kochs don’t have much in common with conservatives. They are totally opposed to most conservative policy goals. The Kochs are libertarian ideologues, passionate and inflexible. America first? The Kochs find the very notion absurd, if not fascist. An economic policy that seeks to strengthen families? The Kochs denounce that as “crony capitalism,” or “picking winners and losers.” They think it’s immoral. Controlling our borders? The Kochs consider that racist. A few years ago, Bernie Sanders noted that the Koch brothers are far to the left of him on immigration. Open borders? Quote: “That’s a Koch brothers proposal,” he said.
Bernie wasn’t wrong. But it’s more than a proposal. It’s in effect what we have now, thanks in part to the Kochs. The overwhelming majority of Republicans want a secure border and less immigration. That’s why they voted for Donald Trump. Two and a half years later, the border is more porous than ever. A tide of humanity is flooding in illegally. Republicans in Congress have done almost nothing to help. Why? You can thank the Kochs for that. In 2018, Koch-backed organizations, Freedom Network and Americans for Prosperity, pressured Republicans in Congress to use their post-election lame duck session to pass an amnesty for the so-called Dreamers. Going into the 2020 race, amnesty remains the Kochs’ top legislative priority.
If you’re wondering why the Republican Party often seems so out of synch with its own voters, this is why. And not just on immigration. The Koch network has also successfully pushed Republicans to join the left in going soft on crime. The Kochs aggressively backed the First Step Act, which is currently allowing drug traffickers to leave prison early. They support the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, which would cut required penalties for heroin and cocaine traffickers in half. They’re doing all this, remember, in the middle of the deadliest drug epidemic in American history. The Kochs don’t even argue that these so-called reforms will help law-abiding Americans in any way. They just believe it’s the libertarian thing to do.
On economics, meanwhile, you won’t be surprised to learn that the Kochs hold views that bear no resemblance to those of most Republican voters.
The Kochs have pushed for cuts to social security and Medicare. A vast majority of Americans are opposed to that. Like everyone else, most Republicans want lower drug prices. Yet the Kochs are working to kill a bill introduced by Senators Josh Hawley and Rick Scott that would prevent drug companies from charging Americans more than they charge the people of Canada or France. Then the Kochs helped craft the 2017 tax cut, which was far better for corporate America than it was for the middle class. A majority of Republicans support capping interest rates on credit cards and payday loans. The Kochs think that’s ridiculous. Some years ago, when David Koch ran for vice president as a libertarian, abolishing all usury laws was part of his platform.
There’s nothing surprising about any of this, or illegitimate. It’s what many rich liberals believe. It’s just not what most Republicans think. And that’s a problem, given that the Kochs are the single most powerful figures in the Republican Party. The Kochs don’t seem interested in hearing you complain about that — or anything else.
Remarkably, they’ve now joined the leftwing campaign against free speech.
Next month, the Charles Koch Institute will be holding a summit with the Anti-Defamation League and executives from major tech companies, including Pinterest, AirBNB, Patreon, and Mozilla. The stated purpose of the meeting is to formulate, quote: “best practices on the fight against hate and extremism online.” You know exactly what that really means: censorship of your views. For the left, fighting “extremism” always entails crushing normal conservatives. That’s why Pinterest has censored Live Action. It’s why Patreon banned Milo Yiannopoulos. It’s why Mozilla drove out Brendan Eich for donating to the wrong political campaign. Big tech has become a far bigger threat to your freedom than government is. The Kochs don’t care. Noting Google does violates libertarian orthodoxy.
More to the point, the Kochs don’t care about Republican voters or what happens to them. Ok. But then why are they running the Republican Party? That’s a question Republicans should start asking themselves.