Tucker Carlson, A Modern Socrates

(Photo: Fox News screen grab)

Chris Kalbach Freelance Writer
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Ever since Megyn Kelly’s departure from Fox News, Tucker Carlson has enjoyed the limelight. His new show, Tucker Carlson Tonight, boasts fantastic ratings. To me, as a philosopher, it’s not surprising to see. Tucker Carlson learned the lesson of history, and he’s following in the footsteps of Socrates.

In times gone by, it was not journalism students who took on politicians and corruption, but philosophers. Everyone remembers when Ben Rhodes bragged about how easily he lied to these so-called journalists, but it’s laughable to think that he could pull anything over on philosophers. After all, just look at the amount of arrogant people who laugh the same, until they met the philosophers.

When you read through the Socratic dialogues you find a recurring theme. An arrogant greek stakes a claim, and Socrates takes aim at their position. Socrates doesn’t take a position beyond agnosticism. He takes the position of the skeptic, and it doesn’t take long watching Tucker Carlson Tonight to see that he is following suit.

Tucker Carlson, Lisa Boothe, and a few others seem to be fair, which gives me hope of a true journalism rising from the ashes of the broken media. But this can only happen if more journalists learn from the lessons of history.

In a world where journalists are willing to sacrifice their integrity to defend a view, I would direct them to look at Bertrand Russell. Russell was asked if he was willing to die for his beliefs. He responded, “Of course not. After all, I may be wrong.”

It’s easier to remain objective when you do not take a hard position. Journalists who seek to do their job, and report the news ought not to take a strong position. You can hold your own beliefs, as we all do, but you do not need to defend them – Tucker doesn’t.

As a philosopher, I watch Tucker Carlson for amusement’s sake. I see the same method being applied to the guests. Someone comes on to make a grandiose claim. For Bill Nye it was that climate deniers are psychologically unhinged. With the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple it was Media Bias, and the claims he made in an editorial.

Following the lead of the philosophers has made him successful. His success should be a sign to young journalists. Take note, follow the philosophers.

Journalism has become polluted, and many journalists are political operatives, not skeptics questioning everyone, and everything.

Journalists need to learn not to take a position that won’t paint them into a corner. If they don’t take a position, they can’t be proved wrong, only convinced. There is no reason keep taking stands to protect your pride. Their journalistic integrity is preserved. If you bring the same healthy skepticism to all matters, all people, no matter affiliation, you will be a respected journalist. Not only by the left. Not only by the right.

The politicization of the media is killing America. Journalists have failed, and philosophers have taken notice. I, for one, have paid attention because of the broken political system. I see a ship floating about without an anchor. A baseless statue teetering in the wind. Journalists just parrot the statements of their favorite politicians, there is no accountability. Objective analysis is no longer even hinted at in the reporting. People are becoming politicized and going to the outlet that parrots their desired news.  

If they follow the lead of Tucker Carlson, they will leave the burden of proof on those who make the claims, the politicians. By not taking a position, Carlson makes sure that the focus isn’t on his beliefs, but on the beliefs in question. He can hold everyone accountable for their words.

Carlson followed the philosophers. He followed Socrates. And while he is no Socrates, he is a fantastic model for young students looking to shine in journalism.