No, Tucker Carlson Never Thought Democratic Socialism Was Good. Stop Playing “Gotcha” With Fascists.
How long does it take for Tucker Carlson to appear to admit Democratic Socialism is good? In a 2018 segment of Carlson's Fox show that went viral Thursday night on Twitter, it took about 45 seconds. The moment of "truth" came after Carlson's guest, Dr. Cornel West, explained the basic principles of the left-leaning ideology to Carlson, saying that it’s about “the dignity of ordinary people and to make sure they can live lives of decency.” West went on to say that it’s also about the “accountability of the powerful vis-à-vis those who have less power,” and ensuring that those in power don’t subjugate women, workers, Black people, immigrants, and all other marginalized communities.
“Well, I mean, if that’s what Democratic Socialism is then I’m basically on board,” Carlson conceded. “I do think that ordinary people, middle class people ought to have dignity and I think that our current systems make it hard for them to have dignity.” Yes! It’s pretty much that simple. Obviously, Carlson's "revelation" was just rhetorical misdirection. He is not on board with democratic socialism, and he later went on to condemn the practices supported by West.
So why is this two-year-old clip going viral now? Other than the obvious reason (most people sharing it didn't know it was from 2018), a lot of people seem to delight in the fact that Carlson was "caught" agreeing with a political movement that he — who has made a name for himself parroting white nationalist talking points and spreading far-right conspiracy theories — clearly abhors.
It's a strange kind of delight, though, considering that Carlson was not in any way agreeing with West. As if any more proof than, I don't know, Carlson's whole career is needed, look no further than who Carlson interviewed on his show this pas Thursday night: President Trump’s former chief strategist, white nationalist Steve Bannon, who claimed the Democratic Party was planning to steal the presidential election.
Carlson’s other Thursday night guest Ryan Cleckner, a former Army Ranger sniper, pushed the antisemitic conspiracy theory that philanthropist George Soros is funding the racial justice efforts organizing to abolish the police. As an added bonus, the Fox host has attacked the Black Lives Matter movement more than 45 times since May, calling it a “terror organization” and “a violent movement from its inception.”
Playing "gotcha" with this Tucker Carlson clip, then, is about as meaningful as incessantly calling Donald Trump a Cheeto on Twitter, or getting excited about Trump being caught in yet another lie. Focusing on this type of petty thing is just a distraction, and does little to further the only cause that matters: Removing white supremacist fascists from positions of power. That's not going to be done via a viral tweet.