They are after him again. The voices of mainstream media, the voices that are supposed to protect our First Amendment rights, are attempting to quiet still another of those commentators who refuse to join the mobs in the street. I am speaking of Tucker Carlson, host of one of the most popular talk shows on cable TV, and of course the cable network is Fox News if you did not know. Fox News and Tucker are terribly popular. So, they are to be shut down by the voices of the mob.
Last week Tucker made the perfectly sensible observation after days of violence in Kenosha, Wisconsin when he asked rhetorically: “How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?”
The 17-year-old was Kyle Rittenhouse who in the melee of Kenosha at night fired a gun, then ran, stumbled, and fell; and as a couple of reckless protesters lunged to attack him — much as protesters had attacked other vigilantes in other cities and killed at least one — Mr. Rittenhouse fired his weapon at the assailants. Tragically, a gun is a superior weapon to whatever the assailants had at their disposal. Two were shot. Another lost the use of his arm probably permanently, and the shooter tried to turn himself in to the police, but for some reason the cops were preoccupied. Eventually Mr. Rittenhouse was arrested in his home in Antioch, Illinois.
Once again Tucker Carlson was the voice of reason. Yet, what is the mob saying? Over at Politico, the editorial director for politics, one Blake Hounshell, reached for his (or her) Tweeter account and tweeted, “Vigilante violence was always one of my greatest worries about the present moment. And here we have a prominent TV host — a man who had the president’s ear — excusing it, rationalizing it.” Give that commentator a fresh bag of bird seed for his (or her) very next tweet. Incidentally, there was no “excusing” or “rationalizing” in Tucker’s statement.
Or consider this from a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Nikole Hannah-Jones of The New York Times said “He [Tucker Carlson] just justified murder.” She won the Pulitzer Prize not for reporting or for writing history, but for contributing to a piece of propaganda, the 1619 Project, that argues America was not founded in 1776 in Philadelphia by the Founding Fathers, but when a ship landed on these shores carrying some 20 slaves. In a word, Ms. Hannah-Jones is the victim of a highly inaccurate brain.
Tucker Carlson is a wonderfully unrestrained commentator. He attracts millions of viewers to his audience because he gives lively, thoughtful, highly original, commentary. I have had my disagreements with him in the past, but let me tell you that that past occurred a long time ago. For now, I am in his audience whenever I can find the time. Moreover, he has the support of The American Spectator behind him.
Jeff Lord has defended him recently and others will follow. Tucker is an authentic leader of conservative thought. He has created institutions, for instance The Daily Caller, where conservatives can air the truth as they see it. He has been airing the truth as he sees it for years. He is one of us.
His rhetorical question regarding Mr. Rittenhouse’s shocking indiscretion was timely and well-phrased. When will the authorities take charge? How many months is this riotous behavior going to go on? How many statues honoring our past are going to be torn down? What will be torn down after that? How many stores, large and small, are going to be gutted? How many normal Americans are going to lose everything to looters, arsonists and simple marauders? How many of these criminals are going to lose their lives before the authorities take action?
What went on in Kenosha in recent days is just an expansion of what has gone on in blue municipalities for months. Do you really think Americans are going to sit quietly in front of their television sets and do nothing? I get reports all the time that ordinary Americans are preparing to take action.
Some tell me they have for the first time in their lives purchased guns. Others are preparing to take more public action, and these are not necessarily Republicans. Many are independents and Democrats such as the five Democratic mayors in Minnesota over the weekend who endorsed the Trump candidacy. In cities such as Philadelphia local school boards and other community groups are deserting the Democratic Party.
If what I hear from around the country is an accurate sounding of true political sentiment, Joe Biden better not leave his basement. He and his Democratic Party never mentioned the victims of the mobs in the streets during a whole week spent haranguing Donald Trump. In the weeks ahead they might turn on Tucker Carlson to learn where this election is headed.
• R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr. is founder and editor in chief of The American Spectator. He is the author most recently of “The Death of Liberalism,” published by Thomas Nelson, Inc.