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OPINION

Tucker, Listen to Your Dad – Stick to the ‘Green’

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
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Tucker Carlson, loved and vilified, was until Tuesday the most sought-after news host in America, thanks to Fox unceremoniously yanking him off the air.  The former Fox News host ended the avalanche of offers and speculation over “what’s next” with a two-word Tweet: “We’re back.”

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“The best you can hope for in the news business at this point is to tell the fullest truth that you can, but there are always limits,” said Tucker, before announcing that he’ll broadcast a new version of his show on Twitter.  “And if you bump up against those limits often enough, you’ll be fired for it.  That’s not a guess, it’s guaranteed.”

Valuetainment’s founder Patrick Bet-David had offered Tucker a 5-year, $100 million contract. TMZ reported that Newsmax would give him his own show, a board seat, and control over programming for the entire channel.  But a growing number of reporters, including at Business Insider and Axios, who reported that Tucker and Elon Musk were “working together” turned out to be right.

Musk is as much a glitch in the algorithm of woke Big Tech as Tucker is to the news business.  Working together, they’re building a new platform for an unvarnished hearing of the most critical issues of our time on Earth’s “de facto” town square, as Musk has referred to Twitter.  For Tucker, no more throttling the truth.

“The rule of what you can’t say defines everything,” said Tucker.  “It’s filthy really, and it’s utterly corrupting.  You can’t have a free society if people aren’t allowed to say what they think is true.” 

By refusing to be lured into the emptiness of pure money and fame, it’s clear that Tucker is still listening to his dad.  When big bucks and notoriety comes, Richard Carlson always told his sons, stay grounded in the stuff that’s real.  

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In an era of half-truths, lies, and outright deception, Tucker is obsessed with the truth of things.  It was the core of his message in his first Twitter video where he said “true things prevail,” calling it the “iron law of the universe.” True things, he said, is why silencing people – not by persuasion, but by force – can’t last.  

Staying grounded in stuff that’s real is what the green rubber bands he’s worn around his wrist for decades, is all about.  It was his dad’s idea.

“Tucker wears one, and so does my son, Buckley,” the elder Carlson told C-SPAN’s host, the late Brian Lamb in a 2006 interview. “These green rubber bands, we started wearing them about 30 years ago, when the kids were little.  … It was to remind them to be intellectually curious, and to be in touch with something that is as common as a rubber band, and to never believe your own press releases.  If you ever had one, don’t believe it.”

That from a not-so-common father, as average dads go.  Carlson had been a journalist at UPI and the Los Angeles Times, director of Voice of America during the last six years of the Cold War, Ambassador to the Seychelles, head of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, CEO of King World Public Television, and at the time of this interview, vice chair of the post-9/11 counterterrorism think tank Foundation for the Defense of Democracies

With that stack of credentials, Lamb was most intrigued by a column Carlson had just written about his connection to a gossip columnist from Hollywood’s golden age.  While working full-time as an LA Times editorial assistant in the ‘60s, 21-year-old Carlson worked two mornings a week at the home of famed (and feared) “Queen of Hollywood gossip” columnist Louella Parsons.  Parsons hired him to catalog her memorabilia and to do “leg work,” as he put it.  

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Parsons, arch-rival to gossip columnist Hedda Hopper, made her living by slipping past the sparkle of gilded movie stars to snoop for the human stuff that kept readers hooked on Tinsel Town dirt.  With the stroke of her pen, Parsons could make or break the careers of the most celebrated stars.

Parson’s Tinsel Town is likely where Tucker’s dad picked up his sober view of fleeting celebrity.  Beneath the camera flicks, the big money, and the magical celebrity glow, the real stuff is what matters most in life.

“I was on television in the mid-‘60s to mid-‘70s,” Carlson told Lamb. “… Well, I never thought it was a big deal. I was sitting in a restaurant once in Los Angeles, and some people came up and asked for an autograph. … My kids were with me and I said to them: ‘Don’t take that to heart.  The reason those people asked me for an autograph is because I’m on television.  … They don’t know anything about me – they won’t even remember my name – so don’t be impressed.” 

It was Tucker, he said, who reminded him about the (restaurant) story years later which, he said, had always been on his mind.  “I never let this stuff go to my head,” Carlson said, quoting Tucker.

“Don’t think you’re so important just because you’re sitting up there with a chance to pontificate or affect somebody else’s opinion,” Carlson told Lamb.  “The rubber band is a reminder of that.”

A simple rubber band is a great symbol for the common-sense wisdom of sticking to the truth.  No matter how long you stretch it, sooner or later, it will snap back.  Sticking to the truth of things is why Tucker was so popular.

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Men can’t be women, and vice versa.  The 2020 vote was not the cleanest in history.  January 6th was not an insurrection.  The border is not secure.  The COVID vaccines were not “safe and effective.” America is not a racist country.  And whether you agree or disagree, it’s OK to shout it to the moon without being forced into silence.  Tucker can now do that.

But with or without Tucker Carlson, common-sense people will always anchor themselves to the truth wherever they can find it.  Truth prevailing, sooner or later, is indeed the “iron law of the universe.”

And we don’t need a green rubber band to remind us.

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