From the great poet-philosopher Joe Walsh ……
“As you live your life, it appears to be anarchy and chaos, and (it appears to be) random events, non-related events, smashing into each other and causing this situation or that situation, and then this happens, and it’s overwhelming, and it just looks like what in the world is going on? And later, when you look back at it, it looks like a finely crafted novel. But at the time, it don’t.“
As we slowly lurch toward the climax of our era’s multiple crises, each new development seems – in Walsh’s words – to contain an element of anarchy and chaos. A billionaire buys a social media company and discovers its government-led censorship. A former intelligence official admits to fabricating an unambiguously false Russian disinformation letter to protect a presidential candidate. A man is celebrated as “woman of the year”. A popular “right wing” host is fired suddenly by his “right wing” network.
The citizens of past eras must have felt a sense of events running out of control, as reports from Manassas or Vicksburg trickled in, or later, as actions in El Alamein or Guadalcanal unfolded, or earlier, as they learned about their army’s evacuations of Brooklyn or Philadelphia.
Today, we look back at the sequences within those prior momentous epochs and the outcome seems so certain. So orderly. Part of a tightly knit narrative. In the moment, though, each new occurrence must have felt disorienting.
The firing of Tucker Carlson is clearly not as weighty as the developments in those bygone eras and it’s not as momentous as events yet to come in our own era. But it did come as a surprise. There was, and still is, the flavor of chaos within it.
I won’t try to predict where this plot twist fits within the long arc of history. But I will describe the terrain on which the political calculations of various players are taking place. Perhaps it can make events feel a bit less random to you ……
Many political figures compromise as their careers develop. Senator Mike Lee is one example – moving from a small-government Tea Party candidate to a powerful Senator who adeptly represents the commercial interests of his state. In fairness, though, his compromise from “principled” to “player” moved at a glacial pace when compared to that of Alexandria Ocasio Cortez.
Carlson is a rare figure whose trajectory has gone in the opposite direction. As the son of a news broadcaster who was once notified of his own firing by the station’s tailor, Tucker never had any illusions about job security in his business …… record ratings or not. And yet, his positions have become more controversial, more provocative to the establishment, and more representative of the people’s interests over time.
Below is a diagram I put together as part of a 2020 post about Glenn Greenwald showing Carlson’s approximate position in the political spectrum at that time. He resided near the middle of the lower right quadrant ……
Today, Carlson has migrated to a new position even lower on the circle. He’s still on its right side (it seems unlikely he’ll ever sit on the left side of the vertical axis) but conservatism is now a far less important part of his worldview than an orientation toward citizen empowerment, as shown here ……
So, a significant part of Tucker’s story is his migration from more of a straight conservative to someone who primarily seeks to empower the average American (which, by definition, disempowers the establishment). In earlier years, he held a position higher on the circle …… perhaps a bit above the horizontal axis; perhaps a bit below it. From that viewpoint, he was more likely to tepidly support Republican initiatives like the Iraq War, or to “serve as an apologist” for the actions of government agencies. But in recent years, he has expressed shame for holding those earlier positions.
Nevertheless, at the time of his hiring by Fox, he was still considered to be more of a mainline conservative ……
Thus, we see an evolution in Carlson’s thinking. Such movement along the circle is not uncommon. But it is often misinterpreted. And it’s a part of the story that is only rarely placed in front of the citizens for their assessment ……
While it’s difficult to know the palace intrigues within the Fox News management group, the Murdochs have made a bundle off of pandering to conservative voters, so it’s likely they’ll remain “on brand”. This is not Roger Ailes’ network, though. Much of the populist leanings of a previous Fox era have disappeared …… replaced by support for causes espoused by governmental and corporate agencies.
Some members of the Murdoch family clearly lean left, and heir apparent Lachlan Murdoch might support those liberal causes more than he lets on. But the safe bet – if only for financial reasons – is to assume that Fox management’s political position still resides high in the upper right quadrant of the circle. They lean conservative. But, as a powerful corporation, they are more beholden to the dictates of centralized control ……
Keep in mind that Fox’s loyalty lies with its advertisers – powerful corporations – more than with its audience. And Carlson’s high ratings never translated into higher revenue streams due to corporate boycotts instigated by centralized woke activists.
Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. …… and Friends
Few have been discussing the role RFK Jr.’s announcement for President played in Tucker’s demise. But just days before receiving the axe, Tucker gave a favorable introduction and interview to Mr. Kennedy. We’ve already seen where Glenn Greenwald, a regular fixture on the show, sits on the circle. Tulsi Gabbard, another frequent guest, holds a similar position within the lower left quadrant. Kennedy resides in the same vicinity.
But Kennedy’s presence as a potential President ratcheted up the scrutiny placed on Carlson. The corporate media remembers the impact their coverage had on Donald Trump’s election to the office. They consider the attention they lavished on him to be a mistake. It’s an error they won’t make again.
RFK Jr. plays a role in 2024 that’s similar to the one Trump played in 2016 – except this time the role is instigated on the liberal side. He represents the provocative outsider with out-of-the-mainstream views who could potentially catch fire with a populist base. His position low in the lower left quadrant provides a valid platform for such an effort ……
Tucker and RFK
When it comes to relationships, first note how close the locations of Tucker and RFK sit in relation to one another on the circle ……
If this form could be used as an accurate measuring tool (thankfully, it can’t), the positions of Tucker Carlson and Robert F. Kennedy are a mere twenty to thirty degrees apart – less than one tenth of the model’s circumference. This makes them natural allies, despite residing on opposite sides of the vertical axis. Such proximity, along with Carlson’s glowing introduction, increased the likelihood that RFK would become a frequent guest on the show – which, of course, would strengthen Kennedy’s bid to become president.
It’s not a stretch to assume that RFK would be supported by Carlson, since Kennedy holds positions similar to Greenwald and Gabbard.
RFK and Fox
The relationship between Fox and RFK could not be more different than the relationship between Tucker and RFK. Fox and RFK sit in the most adversarial positions possible – a full 180 degrees apart. This “diametric opposition” makes them natural enemies, as is evidenced by Kennedy’s rhetoric about the corrupt merger of corporations and government, and by Carlson’s introductory monologue criticizing Big Pharma advertising dollars accepted by corporate media ……
The diagram just above is the one you must pay attention to if you want to understand the logic of Carlson’s firing. His potential relationship with RFK Jr. is one that Fox simply would not tolerate. The political terrain necessitates a complete lack of cooperation between these two players – Fox and Kennedy. For the network, the potential for RFK Jr. to be a regular guest during prime time hours would be tantamount to sleeping with the enemy.
The circle is an accurate model of the true political spectrum. It determines the decisions made by various players and dictates how they will orient themselves in relation to other players, especially their adversaries. Its functions like a law of human nature, even if the involved individuals understand the underlying framework only on a dimly intuitive level.
However …… a failure to understand, and to be fully conscious of, this more-accurate model can bring unnecessary fear, confusion, and intensity into the players’ political calculations. More anarchy and chaos. To understand how this misunderstanding can ratchet up the emotions, let’s look at how Fox likely viewed Tucker when they gave him the 8 pm slot, versus how they view him today.
When Carlson was hired, they saw him as a fellow traveler in conservative circles. In their shallow, one-dimensional worldview, the network’s position was close to Carlson’s ……
Despite the limitations in their understanding of the political spectrum, the network would have noticed Tucker’s shift in viewpoint over time. But their use of the traditional left-right model (aka – the wrong model) would cause them to misinterpret his move as a rightward shift, when it was actually a downward shift of orientation toward citizen empowerment.
Their misinterpretation would look like this ……
When a flawed assessment of Kennedy’s position is added to the mix (“He’s far left!”), conditions are ripe for a psychotic break. Fox News put itself into the impossible, and disastrously false, position of asking how a “far-right” pundit could support a “far-left” candidate.
When viewed on an accurate model, as displayed earlier, RFK and Carlson have taken positions on the circle that are close in proximity. But on today’s dominant–yet–incorrect linear model, they are falsely understood as being incredibly far apart ……
While this misunderstanding didn’t drive the decision’s fundamentals, it was likely responsible for the rash and random nature of the decision’s execution.
Carlson’s firing may have felt like a chaotic and isolated event, but its logic can be seen clearly on a circular political spectrum. In all likelihood, it will ultimately be understood as a significant strategic move – either as a precursor to some more-momentous future event, or as an effective brake on an adversary’s’ capacity to execute their agenda.
Within corporatep media, the 8 pm Fox hour was the last firewall of independent, citizen-empowering thinking. Carlson’s severance removes that impediment. The networks now believe they have the power to determine who the next president will be …… because they believe they can shape opinion through a tight control of information. From here on, they will only trot out candidates who comply with the dictates issued by Institutions of Centralized Power.
We now await the next move. And if you become familiar with the workings of an accurate political spectrum that next development will feel less random and unrelated to previous occurences. Less chaotic. You’ll find yourself asking anticipatory questions …… Will citizen-empowering media figures like those at Substack, New Twitter, Locals, and Rumble take the offensive with some unexpected initiative? Will some new player step into the game on the citizen-empowering side, as Elon Musk has? Or will the citizens’ corporate and governmental adversaries find some way to declare liberty-oriented groups to be illegitimate?
Legacy media has consolidated control over its own turf. We can expect the battle lines to now shift toward New Media.
Great to hear from you again. As always, I get a clarifying perspective on unfolding events. I’ve missed your posts.