If the rolls-off-the-tongue descriptor “performatively outraged wedge salad” comes to mind whenever you see the name Tucker Carlson, you’re not alone.
That little orchestra of aptness is among the assessments of Carlson included in an extended Last Week Tonight segment from Sunday night. In the segment, available in full up top via HBO, host John Oliver laid out the increasing dangers of someone like Carlson maintaining such a stronghold on certain sectors of American TV viewership.
“He averages over three million viewers a night and does well in the key 25-to-54 demo, meaning that young people are watching him as well as the normal Fox audience of retirees and their sad imprisoned pets,” Oliver said. “He is so important to the network that they are expanding Tucker’s presence [by] launching a new video podcast and long-form documentary series. And if that wasn’t enough, Tucker’s also been floated as a potential future presidential candidate, which should be seriously alarming because of all the things that tucker is—a conspiracy theorist, a misogynist, an Islamophobe, a troll—one of the most dangerous things is that he is the most prominent vessel in America for white supremacist talking points.”
From there, Oliver went deep by highlighting examples of Carlson using a “self-servingly narrow” take on white supremacism that conveniently absolves himself from blame while also noting that such groups are often fans of Carlson’s work. He also drew attention to Carlson’s use of what could be argued as an example of coded language, specifically reminding viewers of a 2020 instance of what many at the time considered a less-than-subtle nod to deceased white supremacist David Lane’s “14 words” slogan.
Oliver’s segment arrives on the heels of fellow Daily Show alum Jon Stewart’s public apology to the “dicks” of the world.
“I called Tucker Carlson a dick on national television,” Stewart said last week. “It’s high time I apologize…to dicks. Never should have lumped you in with that terrible terrible person.”
Also (and always) worth a mention here is that Tucker’s father, Dick Carlson, made news earlier this year upon the release of the HBO docuseries The Lady and the Dale, which chronicled the life of Liz Carmichael of Twentieth Century Motor Car Corporation fame. Dick, as shown throughout the series, was a key (and obsessive) figure in the anti-trans movement against Carmichael.