Saturday, November 10, 2018

Tucker Carlson Home Protest

In my home! In my bedroom where my wife sleeps! Where my children come and play with their toys. In my home.
Tucker Carlson is a conservative talk show host employed by Fox News who routinely traffics in white victimology. He gives mainstream amplification to the ugliest fears and tropes of white nationalism. I will give him some credit for having people on who disagree with him. However, with few exceptions these people are usually either so ridiculous that they step all over their own points or are shouted at or cut off by Carlson. Carlson often demands that his opposition guests respond to some rhetorical strawman that Carlson has constructed. If they don't respond to his silly side point Carlson insults them or laughs at them. 

Carlson is almost certainly smarter than he appears. He will sometimes make a cogent point and/or reject some conservative shibboleth. But generally he doesn't venture far from Fox News' basic narrative: that the US is a white (wo)man's country, evil dark people are trying to steal it, and whites are the real victims of racism today. FEAR! BOOGA BOOGA! Trouble in River City! That starts with T and that rhymes with B and that spells Blacks!

Although I would likely disagree with about 95% of Carlson's worldview I don't agree with harassing/protesting/vandalizing his home-especially when he's not even there. That's a cowardly vile act.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson was at his desk Wednesday evening, less than two hours before his 8 p.m. live show, when he suddenly started receiving multiple text messages. There was some sort of commotion happening outside his home in Northwest D.C. “I called my wife,” Carlson told The Washington Post in a phone interview. “She had been in the kitchen alone getting ready to go to dinner and she heard pounding on the front door and screaming. ... Someone started throwing himself against the front door and actually cracked the front door.”

His wife, thinking it was a home invasion, locked herself in the pantry and called 911, Carlson said. The couple have four children, but none were home at the time.
But it wasn’t a home invasion. It was a protest. 
According to now-deleted social media posts shared by Smash Racism D.C., a local anti-fascist organization whose members have been tied to other demonstrations against prominent Republican figures, activists showed up outside Carlson’s home Wednesday and they had a message for him.
“Tucker Carlson, we are outside your home,” one person could be heard saying in the since-deleted video. The person, using a bullhorn, accused Carlson of “promoting hate” and “an ideology that has led to thousands of people dying.”

“We want you to know, we know where you sleep at night,” the person concluded, before leading the group to chant, “Tucker Carlson, we will fight! We know where you sleep at night!”
Carlson said the protesters had blocked off both ends of his street and carried signs that listed his home address. A woman was also overheard in one of the deleted videos saying she wanted to “bring a pipe bomb” to his house, he said.

“It wasn’t a protest. It was a threat,” said Carlson, who is often denounced by critics, particularly liberal ones, for his rhetoric about immigrants and minorities on his Fox News show. “... They were threatening me and my family and telling me to leave my own neighborhood in the city that I grew up in.” On Twitter, Smash Racism D.C. accused Carlson of spreading “fear into our homes” every night, taking particular issue with his comments about the migrant caravan. “Tonight you’re reminded that we have a voice,” a now-deleted tweet read. “Tonight, we remind you that you are not safe either.

During the civil rights movement and those subsequent there were people who would always urge more aggressive, confrontational, hostile, illegal, or violent acts. Some of these people were state agents or controlled by state agents. They wanted to drive people away from the movement, publicly discredit the movement and give the state, which then as now had a superior capacity for violence, an excuse for increased repression. I wouldn't be surprised if we learn a few decades from now that some people leading these street protests are government employees.

But who knows.

What I do know is that going to someone's home, banging on his door, trying to burst in, scaring his wife, putting his address on the net, yelling that you know where he sleeps, and muttering about pipe bombs is both (1) morally wrong and (2) counterproductive. You're not trying to engage with someone; you're trying to prevent their speech. Through your actions you've also allowed Carlson to portray himself as a victim-which indeed he and his family apparently are in this case.

Threatening families is wrong. "Protesting" at someone's home, although it might be free speech, is not going to change anyone's mind on anything. It's only going to make someone increase their security and lower the threshold for violence. Remember the nutjobs at Westboro Baptist Church? They would show up at military (and other) funerals screaming anti-gay invective, thanking God for dead soldiers, and saying that they were happy that the person died. Did they change anyone's mind? Or did they just show that they were a bunch of a$$^@&! ?
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