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Glenn Greenwald Is Tucker Carlson’s PR Man
The supposed radical is promoting right-wing racism
There’s a longstanding debate over whether progressives should appear on Fox News. One strong argument in favor is that it’s important to not just preach to the choir but to win converts. That’s reasonable in theory, but the career of Glenn Greenwald offers an important counterpoint.
As a radical critic of American foreign policy, Greenwald might have started with the goal of winning over Fox viewers to an antiwar position. But conversion is a two way street, and over time Greenwald has become an increasingly loud in defending many of the ideas of Tucker Carlson, whose show he often appears on. On his substack The Flashpoint, the journalist Eoin Higgins looked at Greenwald’s tweets and found that, “Since beginning to appear regularly on Fox in the latter half of last year, Greenwald has been almost uniformly positive about the network.”
A striking example occurred on Monday, when Greenwald got into an exchange with former Trump administration official Darren J. Beattie about a statement made by Kyle Rittenhouse, recently found not guilty of murder after shooting three people, two of whom died, during the civil unrest following George Floyd’s killing in 2020. Interviewed by Carlson, Rittenhouse insists he is not a white supremacist and that he supports BLM.
Beattie, who was fired in 2018 from a Trump administration speechwriting post when it turned out he had spoken at an event featuring white nationalists (although was rehired for another gig in the decadent last days of Trump’s reign), suggested that the statements were self-interested. “He just almost had his life ruined in large part because he was on the wrong side politically,” Beattie claimed. “If he's a kid who wants any shot at a normal life, he'll pay lip service to the Regime.”
Greenwald responded, “I agree he needs to deny that he's an overt racist and white supremacist. But there's definitely space to critique BLM and say you disapprove of its tactics and even core principles, while still affirming you believe in a racially equal society (Tucker's view, for instance).”
Greenwald seems to be suggesting that Tucker Carlson’s view is both a plausible messaging strategy for Rittenhouse and also a generally credible position.
But does Carlson believe in “a racially equal society”? Everything in his record says otherwise. As an undergraduate, he joked that he belonged to the Jesse Helms Foundation (Helms being the notoriously racist North Carolina Senator). In 2009, he said on a radio interview that, “Iraq is a crappy place filled with a bunch of, you know, semiliterate primitive monkeys — that’s why it wasn’t worth invading.” He has repeatedly echoed the racist idea that liberals are promoting “white replacement” and described the 1965 immigration act (which had removed racist quotas) as “the worst attack on our democracy in 160 years.”
One could go on, and Media Matters has done redoubtable work in collecting Carlson’s various racist and anti-immigrant statements over the years. Although he often appears on Carlson’s show, Greenwald has shown a remarkable lack of curiosity about these remarks and a complete unwillingness to raise them or condemn them. It’s a moot question whether this silence is a result of opportunism (appearing on Carlson’s show is good advertising for Greenwald) or ideological sympathy. The pattern is contemptible either way.
(Edited by Emily M. Keeler)
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