Tucker Carlson’s debut on Twitter was greeted with widespread derision, as the previous Fox Information host backed Russia in its battle with Ukraine, abused the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, and invoked conspiracy theories about 9/11, Jeffrey Epstein and the existence or in any other case of extraterrestrial life.
“Tucker Carlson’s lies price Fox $800m,” mentioned Anne Applebaum, a historian of authoritarianism, referring to the $787.5m settlement the community signed with Dominion Voting Techniques over its broadcast of Donald Trump’s election lies, shortly earlier than Carlson was fired.
“Now he’s nonetheless mendacity, and Twitter will finally pay the worth too.”
On the finish of Carlson’s first present, a 10-minute monologue in a barn, with a large shot displaying he was working his personal teleprompter, the host mentioned he would bypass the mainstream media to inform viewers the reality, as Russians underneath communism as soon as discovered methods to listen to broadcasts from different nations.
He mentioned: “We’ve come to Twitter which we hope would be the shortwave radio underneath the blankets. We’re instructed there aren’t any gatekeepers right here. If that seems to be false, we’ll go away … We’ll be again with rather more very quickly.”
Elon Musk, the Twitter proprietor, retweeted the video and mentioned it will be “nice to have reveals from all elements of the political spectrum on this platform”.
By Wednesday, Twitter mentioned Carlson’s video had been considered greater than 65m instances.
The primary style of what that viewers can count on included claims that Ukraine blew up the Kakhovka dam, not Russia, and lewd insinuations in regards to the Republican senator Lindsey Graham. Carlson mentioned Graham was “attracted” to the “rat-like” Zelenskiy and “aroused” by “the aroma of demise”.
Carlson additionally referred to as Zelenskiy “sweaty … a comic turned oligarch, a persecutor of Christians”.
Carlson additionally mentioned: “What precisely occurred on 9/11? Effectively, it’s nonetheless categorized. How did Jeffrey Epstein make all that cash. How did he die? How about JFK and so endlessly on.”
He additionally raised the case of a retired air pressure officer who claims the US has in depth proof of alien life.
“It was clear he was telling the reality,” Carlson mentioned, with out elaborating.
Matthew Gertz, senior fellow on the progressive watchdog Media Issues for America, referred to as Carlson’s video “bleak” and added: “It’s jarring how his shtick simply doesn’t work with out the Fox bells-and-whistles.
“He was perhaps probably the most highly effective man in [rightwing] media; now he’s simply one other streamer with half-baked opinions peddling conspiracy theories. He’s Alex Jones in jacket and tie.”
Jones, a conspiracy theorist influential on the far proper, was ordered to pay $1.5bn for saying the Sandy Hook elementary faculty taking pictures was faked.
Gertz added: “I discover [Carlson] offered different media as dishonest and silly for not realizing that Ukraine blew up [the] Nord Stream [pipeline] however he beforehand mentioned the US did it, and in addition the brand new proof he cites was damaged by New York Occasions.”
On the precise, Carlson discovered keen viewers.
The nameless Twitter account Catturd (recognized to Rolling Stone as “the shitposting king of Maga Twitter”), wrote: “Good morning to everybody particularly Tucker Carlson for breaking Twitter with now over 50 million views and speaking reality to energy.
“That is the way forward for media … the mainstream Democrat, mendacity propaganda media is completed.”
However condemnation and mock have been widespread.
Reed Galen, a former Republican operative turned anti-Trump campaigner, tweeted an image of Carlson working his personal teleprompter and a message pointing to the unknown payoff Carlson took from Fox Information.
“You’d assume with all these Rupert [Murdoch] bucks he may rent a producer,” Galen mentioned.