Open Letter to Tucker Carlson
One of my favorite talking head shows is The Situation with Tucker Carlson show on MSNBC (Tucker's blog). I discovered it when it was on at 11pm M-Th nights and watched it when I could. MSNBC however has had nothing but disaster in that time slot. The network tried Donohue, which of course sucked bottom. Then they tried Dennis Miller, whom I enjoy greatly. But its ratings failed, and Dennis wasn't that great of a moderator at times. I do wish him the best in getting some type of talk show, whether it's political or not. Now they have Tucker's show.
Many people remember Tucker for being one of the right wing hacks (everyone was a 'hack') on Crossfire, and particularly the one that Jon Stewart called an "asshole." Takes one to know one I suppose. But Tucker and all the other hosts of that show were doing what CNN wanted as best as I can tell. It was a show about talking over each other, as many talking head shows become when more than one guest is on, or when anyone tries to talk over Nancy Grace or Bill O'Reilly.
Tucker's new show, however, does not suffer that problem. I have evaluated Tucker politically as an anti-Iraq war conservative with some of the good libertarian leanings. He regularly has segments with viewpoints opposing his own, but he talks to them politely, uses appropriate wit, and when he needs to cut them off to stay on point or time, he does so as politely as one can. He has a comfortable wit and I think the guy would be a hoot to drink with. Or maybe he is just a good actor. Doubt it.
Due to ratings issues, MSNBC recently changed its schedule. As of the July 4 week, Tucker's live time of 11pm was moved to 4 pm with a rerun at 6 pm. Before, I watched Tucker when I could and when I thought about it and the Braves weren't in a close game that the bullpen would eventually lose. Now, I TiVo him. In that sense, I will probably watch him more often that before. But I have complaints, because with the time change, there also came a format change.
In the old format, Tucker had a couple of regular guests, including Max Kellerman of ESPN and a segment with a liberal, usually some lady from Air America. When I say regular, I mean practically every night - I know Max was on every night. Max's job was to argue one or two issues as a devil's advocate -- no matter Tucker's position, he had to argue the other side. It was often a hoot as Tucker would force him to defend Nazi-loving NAMBLA members who counterfeit money, or whatever. I have yet to see either of those guests in the new format.
Instead, Tucker now has a segment called "Beat the Media." Its purpose is to take clips from MSNBC competitors and make fun of the hosts in some way. I suppose it would be funny if it weren't for the fact that many of the most ridiculous news programing is on MSNBC, other than Tucker of course. I understand why. Apparently Keith Olbermann runs the show since he is the only guy with a real audience, and his show is dedicated to (1) bashing the current administration and (2) bashing Bill O'Reilly. But this segment is beneath Tucker, and I think (and hope) he seems a little uncomfortable with this clear sour grapes approach to entertainment.
Hey, execs at MSNBC, don't turn Tucker Carlson into some self-important petty ankle biter of the competition like Keith Olbermann. Put him back in the 11 pm hour. No one is watching "Inside Reports: Lock up in an Arkansas Women's Prison." Except me of course, but that is purely for research purposes.