Debating Tucker Carlson (and what to expect if you’re going to appear on “Tucker Carlson Tonight”)

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After watching people get trounced regularly on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” I’m going to give all of you some pointers on how to actually spar with Carlson, and what you can expect to happen.

First, Carlson, who is always extremely polite, will greet you and thank you for coming on his show.  He will then ask you about your premise and ask you to explain it.  What will follow immediately is where he tries to poke a hole in your premise.  I will demonstrate with a mock debate and a made-up subject, person, and group:


Tucker:  Joining us tonight is John Doe from the “Anti-Cultural Appropriation Society of West Hollywood.”  Welcome, John…thanks for coming on.  So, John, it’s your view that eating nachos is cultural appropriation.

(Tucker is just summing up the general view and locking his opponent in to a statement.)

John: That’s right.

Tucker:  So, someone like me, for example, shouldn’t be allowed to eat nachos because I’m not Hispanic.   Is that what you’re saying?

(This is where it normally starts to go downhill for the opponent.  Tucker will draw your statement to its logical conclusion, turning what you thought was an innocuous statement into a premise that is either distasteful or just dumb to attempt to defend.)

John: Tucker, President Trump has made White Supremacism (note: that’s not a word, contrary to what many people on TV say) acceptable and we see non-stop racism from the White House…

(This is the main issue with 99.9% of guests who debate him.  If he asks you a question, you need to answer it.  Too many times, people will deflect and give an answer that has nothing to do with the actual question.)

Tucker: (interrupting sternly and speaking in measured tones) No, no…you’re not answering…(pause)…my question.  Is it unacceptable for, say, a black woman or an Asian man to eat nachos because they’re not Hispanic?  You’d rother (Tucker does not say “rather” the way most people do; it rhymes with “bother” when he says it) only Hispanics be allowed to eat nachos?  I’m just curious.

John: Tucker, President Trump’s policies of wanting to kick all people of color out of the country are so absolutely abominable that…

(At this point the guest will continue to go on, usually onto tangents further and further from the original question.  This is where it gets exciting, and becomes predictable, almost like waiting for Jake the Snake Roberts to set his opponent up for the “DDT” before winning the match — you know he’s going to win, and you know exactly what he’s going to do to win.

While the guest is droning, Tucker will start to furrow his brow and his mouth will open slightly.  As the guest gets more unhinged, Tucker’s head will start to tilt, and he gets “that look” on his face — see above picture.  It reminds me of when I play fetch with my dog, and I pretend to throw the ball but hide it behind my back.  She stares at me, head tilted with a look comprised of confusion, disbelief, and the possible desire to maul me.  After letting the guest do this for thirty seconds or so, that look will change.  You’ll see a little smirk start to appear on his face which will slowly get bigger and bigger, until he finally explodes into hysterical laughter while summing up his thoughts on your statement.)


(Tucker’s voice gets very low and solemn)

Tucker: John Doe, thank you for joining us.

(End Scene)


After your interview is over, you may end up getting an added beat-down if he decides to get a follow-up opinion from Joe Concha or Mark Steyn.

Concha is a media reporter for The Hill when he’s not at his other job of being a stunt-double for Seth MacFarlane.  He is very even-keel and has a dry sense of humor; so dry that I believe the vast majority of viewers miss his jokes, but that’s what makes it so good when he drops one.  Concha is also a Jedi Master at being able to throw obscure movie references into his comments with a straight face.  I fell in love with him when he was once talking about Illegal Immigration, and was able to slyly insert that his mother told him he was “Scotch-Romanian,” a throwaway line from “Fletch.”  Bottom line: If Concha follows your appearance, he’ll be critical but not vicious.

If Steyn follows you, get out the IcyHot and the bandages.

Steyn is a Canadian who now lives in New Hampshire, yet sounds as if he was raised on the set of “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.”  If you’ve been knocked down, having Concha follow up is like getting a boot to the face.  Having Steyn follow up is like Negan on “The Walking Dead” beating you with a baseball bat wrapped up in a copy of Roget’s Thesaurus.  Have you ever watched Christopher Hitchens just annihilate someone in a debate, not only with facts, but with such a grand vocabulary that his opponent would need to hit pause to go look up the meaning to half of the words he was hearing?  That’s what Steyn does.  The last thing his victims hear after Tucker introduces him is “Well, Tuckaah…” in his almost comically-strong British accent.  I hear Tim Allen’s voice in my head when I watch Steyn open fire, saying “It’s not verbal abuse.  It’s admonishment…with style!”

So, what’s the takeaway in all this?

If you’re going to debate Tucker Carlson, you better know your argument.  If he re-states it for you, you better either clarify if you think he’s wrong, or if you agree with what he says, be prepared to defend it from every angle.  He doesn’t just shoot from the hip.  He comes in prepared and ready to throw down, and if you decide to take him on, never confuse feelings with facts.  Tucker will hold you to facts, and call you out any time you deviate from them or misrepresent them.

Knowing how difficult all this will be if you plan to debate him, nobody would fault you if you changed your mind and decided that you’d rother not go on his show and get shellacked.




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