Goodbye, Tucker


Tim Grieve
January 6, 2005 6:01AM (UTC)

It has been a depressing week for Democrats. Shirley Chisholm and Bob Matsui died over the weekend. A slew of new Republican lawmakers were sworn in Tuesday. John Kerry announced Wednesday that he won't participate in any formal protests against the presidential voting by electors from Ohio. Alberto Gonzales will begin his road to confirmation as attorney general Thursday. And if all that's not enough, Trent Lott has announced that a singer from "The Lawrence Welk Show" will perform John Ashcroft's "Let the Eagle Soar" at George W. Bush's inauguration.

But even in the darkest night, there is hope: CNN just fired Tucker Carlson.

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OK, it's a small thing. It won't stop needless wars, keep abortion legal or speed help to the starving people in Indonesia. But you take what you can get these days if you're a Democrat, and the forced departure of one sanctimonious Republican twerp offers at least a little reason to smile. When Jon Stewart appeared on "Crossfire" this fall, he lambasted Carlson and his cohorts for lowering the quality of political discourse in this country, a point CNN boss Jonathan Klein adopted in announcing Carlson's departure Wednesday. Things ultimately got so nasty on Stewart's sullen "Crossfire" appearance that Tucker proclaimed Stewart a bore, and Stewart called Tucker a "dick." The good folks at MediaMatters.org have another title for Tucker: "serial misinformer." In loyal service to the Republicans' partisan agenda -- or maybe just for the entertainment "value" of shouting at the opposition -- Tucker had a way of saying things that weren't always, you know, true.

We met Tucker over the summer at the Democratic National Convention. While we didn't call him any names, it wasn't because we didn't want to. We took Tucker to task for his misrepresentations of John Edwards' record as a trial lawyer. On "Crossfire," Carlson had referred to a case in which Edwards represented a little girl critically injured by a faulty pool drain cover as a "Jacuzzi" lawsuit. When we asked him if that wasn't a little misleading, Tucker nearly burst out of his bow tie and went off on a rant about how Democrats who dare to make money in their careers have no right to "tell me that you're better than I am."

Poor, poor Tucker. He was always such a victim. But don't shed a tear for Mr. Carlson just yet. He still has his PBS show, and bottom-trolling MSNBC seems anxious to give him just about anything he wants. Tucker is down but not out; this is one dick we'll still get to kick around for a long time to come.


Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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