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Why is Tucker Carlson So Popular? 

Why is Tucker Carlson So Popular? 

If you are expecting me to give all the good reasons why FOX News’ Tucker Carlson stands so high in the ratings, you will be disappointed. I pose the question because I simply cannot understand his appeal to anyone.  

Obviously, my opinion of Carlson is not very favorable. It never has been.  I used to cringe when he appeared as an occasional guest on FOX’s morning show.  Whenever he appeared, I knew I had time for a potty break – or grab the remote to another news outlet or even a TCM movie. 

I was honestly shocked with the folks at FOX gave him the primetime evening spot held by Bill O’Reilly.  Surely that would turn out to be a bad decision and corrected as ratings fell.  Boy, was I wrong!  Carlson actually rode the crest of the rating wave as cable news’ top-rated program – occasionally taking over the spot held by Sean Hannity. 

According to some of the ratings, Carlson has been replaced as king of the news mountain by shows like The Five, Watters World, or Gutfeld – FOX’s successful competition to the so-called “late night comedians.”  Maybe that is because Gutfeld is actually funny, and the others have been undermined by both their own humorless woke standards and biases. 

Regards of his relative position, Carlson remains a staple in the cable news top-ten list.  It still mystifies me.  So why do I not like Tucker Carlson? 

It started when he first appeared on those morning broadcasts.  I found him pompous, arrogant, and snarky.  It was not always his opinion on a subject – with which I often agreed.  It was that grating personality.  His language exuded condescending arrogance.  His tendency is to go into his squeaky chipmunk voice when he gets overly excited with his own words.  And then there is that contemptuous mocking cackle.    

Carlson seems more interested in creating controversy by outrageous statements that are not necessarily true or logical.  He seems to have his greatest appeal among the rabid more than the rational. 

But it is not all a matter of style.  Although he holds and expresses some solid conservative views on occasion, Carlson is not a full-breed conservative.  He manifests too many traits of an authoritarian nationalist. 

I should explain that while many on the left link authoritarian nationalism with conservativism, the two political philosophies are juxtaposed on the political continuum.  No authoritarian philosophy – none – comes from the conservative right.  We are the folks who hate big powerful central governments of any kind – communist, socialist, monarchy, dictatorship AND nationalist.  We are small-d democrats … period.  We want laws and policy to be the manifest will of the people, not the judgment of an elite ruling class. 

Authoritarian nationalism is closely tied to isolationism.  But America First does not mean America alone.  Furthermore, conservatives know which side to be on in terms of the Ukraine War.  That is a fight between a democratic Republic (not perfect, perhaps) and a maniacal authoritarian madman – and conservatives will always be on the side of democracy and individual rights over an evil dictator. 

Nowhere are Carlson’s opinions more inconsistent with conservativism than his pandering to Putin.   The madman of Moscow invaded a recognized independent and sovereign nation without cause – and is carrying out an unjust war with serial war crimes.  Putin’s actions are founded on an evil madness – and no good person or committed conservative can remotely approve or even acquiesce to Putin’s invasion.  Yet, Carlson uses every opportunity to justify it – and to condemn American opposition to Putin’s dirty little war. 

Perhaps the best example of Carlson’s wrongness and irrationality is when he opposed American involvement in Ukraine – posing the rhetorical question, “What has Putin done to me?”  He went on to say that those on the left have done more against him personally than Putin.  

I mean, how effing stupid is that?  Using Carlson’s argument, he could call for the release of all MS13 killers on the bases of … what did they do to him personally? 

It is part of my obligation to cover all the news – from all perspectives.  That means tuning into Carlson occasionally.  I usually wind-up cringing.   

Perhaps he bothers me even more than Rachel Maddow or James Acosta – who bothers me a lot — because Carlson is alleged to be on my side of the political divide.  I know many of my readers are going to take strong exception to my criticism of Carlson.  After all, he does have millions of viewers – about one percent of the American people.   

It is just that I do not understand why.  I have always pointed out – correctly – that FOX presents far more balanced news, with panelists on both sides, than any other cable news network.  That can be empirically proven.  But it is a show like Tucker Carlson that creates the wrong image and gives rise to unjustified criticism of the network as a whole. 

I am not sure why they keep Carlson on the air – other than his high ratings.  And I have never understood how he rose to that level in cable news.  If I had been running FOX, Carlson would have been dropped from the morning show way back when. 

However, it is what it is.  He is pulling down high ratings – and I am left to wonder why. 

So, there ‘tis. 

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. R. Hamilton

    Dictators of all flavors should be eliminated if possible, or in any event, opposed; never condoned. Likewise any successors of similar mindset. There may be practical limitations, what’s possible, when one is useful against others, etc.

    Unlike Putin’s propaganda, desiring his defeat is NOT an implication that Russia should be destroyed; Russia with borders as they were as of the dissolution of the Soviet Union is probably less trouble than the chaos if it was broken up. And the Russians are STUPID to alienate the West in pursuit of reclaiming their fantasy empire, because the PRC will doubtless turn on them not too long after they’re no longer useful. Some Russian territory was once Chinese, the Chinese certainly need land and resources…and outnumber the Russians 10 to 1. If anyone will destroy Russia, it’s their “ally”.

    On the other hand, there is certainly a place for nationalism…like sovereignty, border security, etc. Allies are one thing, globalism (or some over-broad multilateral treaties) quite another. And there is a place for being reluctant to get into quagmires, given a history of underestimating costs in blood and treasure for making real change that lasts beyond our presence.

    I don’t have a problem with support for Ukraine, although their history of corruption is a concern, and we should certainly be doing what we can to ensure that aid is used as intended, and effectively.

  2. Joshua Dizon

    Seems to me that you are the arrogant pompous ass, Larry. Your jealousy is radiating. You wear it well.

    • Susan Pawlowski

      I love Tucker, he tells it like it is! I never miss his show. He is not pompous, realistic. He researches his material.

    • Roy Faria

      Well said Mr. Dizon.

  3. Chuck

    Wow, how did you manage to hit the nail on the head when we disagree so often. All you had to say is stupidity like water seeks it’s own level.

  4. frank stetson

    Spot on Larry, hard to understand how people follow this liar except that lying is all the style since made popular by our Liar-in-Chief. You can even be in Congress as a perennial liar, fraud, and hustler. It’s becoming quite fashionable. You don’t even have to apologize. Matter of fact, that’s seen as the weakness, not the lying.

    He was not always this extremist, he was even a Democrat for a few decades, but apparently needs the money until someone goes all Alex-Jones on his ass. Basically a spoiled rich kid, his father was born of two teenagers, put up for adoption and got really lucky. Then it was life in La Jolla, private schools, summer homes and country clubs. In April, the FOX/Dominion case comes up where Tucker has already been deposed. We’ll see if that one scrapes a little frosting of the cake.

  5. Larry Horist

    Frank Stetson … just for comparison, there is no one at MSNBC that I like. I watch them a lot out of necessity, but that whole network is propaganda for the gullible.

  6. frank stetson

    MSNBC has gotten boring. Even when Rachel turns up, she’s hawking her other stuff, shameful. Everyone else just repeats each other so I just turn the volume down until a new banner crops up. Been three days since anything new popped up……

    At least FOX attempts a new cycle here and there; it’s just the headliners that are impossible to stomach. I guess once the voting machine lawsuits clip their wings, it might get a bit better.