Fox News host Tucker Carlson previously defended Russian autocrat Vladimir Putin’s aggression against Ukraine, and his work has been promoted by Kremlin-backed media as he’s opposed economic sanctions and denigrated Ukraine. But amid continued Russian atrocities, such as the attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Carlson is now trying to find a scapegoat for his having gotten the entire situation completely wrong.
It should come with little surprise that he picked out a woman of color to be that scapegoat: Vice President Kamala Harris.
Carlson has a long history of making disgusting sexist comments – while claiming that criticism of his misogyny is evidence of the decline of civilization. He is also the single biggest champion of white nationalism in the media landscape today. When it comes to his attacks on Harris, Carlson’s penchant for racism and misogyny often become intertwined.
Carlson declared Thursday night that Harris’ involvement in rallying America’s allies ahead of the Russian invasion of Ukraine “appeared to be proof this could not really be a big deal,” as “if things were dire, serious people would be involved in fixing them.” Carlson continued, “If the future of Europe and the world hung in the balance as now, so obviously, it does, of course, the Biden administration would not have sent Kamala Harris to fix it.” Apparently, Carlson seems to think the vice president of the United States is capable of engaging only in frivolities.
In the real world, two weeks ago, Harris had in fact warned Russia that the global community would “impose far-reaching financial sanctions” if it invaded Ukraine as she worked to rally America’s partners and allies to deter Russian aggression. She also informed the public in no uncertain terms about the seriousness of the situation, bluntly stating that it involved “the real possibility of war in Europe.” In the time since, the United States has led the global effort to impose economic sanctions against Russia and hold the line in defense of NATO allies.
Over the course of his ranting monologue, Carlson denigrated Harris’ efforts at diplomacy in starkly misogynistic terms. “Imagine being first in line for a shoe sale on Black Friday. Kamala Harris had that look: She knew what she wanted and she knew where to find it.” He also returned to his ongoing obsession with Harris’ love life, proclaiming “So if you're looking for someone to date Montel Williams, well, maybe she’s the person you would choose. She could be a solid choice for that, she has done it before. Dating Montel Williams, you know, is something that’s within her range of experience” then adding that he could not say whether or not she was “good at it.”
Carlson also told a blatant lie based on a selectively edited quote, claiming that Harris had “explicitly encouraged Ukraine to join NATO. Quote, ‘I appreciate and admire President Zelensky's desire to join NATO.’ She said that at a press event.”
Carlson went on to falsely allege that “the idea that Ukraine might join NATO obviously caused this crisis in the first place, whatever you think of it. … So obviously, no sane person would say something like that with Russian troops massed on the Ukrainian border. You'd have to want an invasion of Ukraine to say something like that.” (Russia caused this crisis, not NATO, and not Ukraine.)
Carlson quoted Harris saying, “I appreciate and admire President Zelensky's desire to join NATO,” while leaving out everything else she said while speaking to reporters in Munich, Germany, on February 20. Harris acknowledged Ukraine’s publicly established desire to join NATO’s alliance of democracies — in contrast to Russia’s attempt to dictate domestic and foreign policy to Ukraine — while also balancing that desire with NATO’s established processes of determining new membership. From the White House (emphasis added):
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Let me start by saying I appreciate and admire President Zelenskyy’s desire to join NATO. And one of, again, the founding principles of NATO is that each country must have the ability — unimpaired, unimpeded — to determine their own future, both in terms of their form of government and, in this case, whether they desire to be a member of NATO.
And I’ll put that in context, because the obvious is also the point, which is that: and therefore no other country can tell anyone whether they should or should not join NATO. That should be their independent choice. That is the point of sovereignty. So I respect President Zelenskyy’s desire to be a member of NATO.
NATO is a membership. It is about nations coming together as a group, making decisions collectively around, again, principles and what will be, then, the conditions and — and the standards of membership. And so that is the process.
It doesn’t happen overnight. No one country can say “I want to be, and therefore I will be.” And no one country can say “You can’t be.” And isn’t that at the heart of the very issue we’re presented with in terms of Russia’s aggression, or stated aggression, toward Ukraine?
Of course, acknowledging Harris’ full statement would not only have run completely counter to what Carlson was trying to allege she had said — it would also demonstrate the extent of her knowledge and involvement with the complex policies involved, thus disproving his entire attempt to turn her into a scapegoat for his own propaganda campaign in favor of Russian dictatorship.
Reprinted with permission from Media Matters
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