The recent Grayzone video, where Aaron Maté and Max Blumenthal discuss Tucker Carlson’s ousting, can simply be described as a “rhetorical tongue bath” of the former Fox News host. Frankly, it was an embarrassing display of cognitive dissonance sprinkled with logically unsound arguments mixed with unstructured magical thinking and a selective reading of history. Their main contention boils down to this: Tucker Carlson went against the establishment consensus on COVID and foreign policy, so Big Pharma and Big Cable colluded to take down the only anti-war voice consistently going against the grain on mainstream media. A laughable notion considering one has to ignore 95% of Tucker’s content in order to arrive at such an absurd conclusion.
And of course, Max frames his defense of Tucker by quibbling about “the phony left” who berated anyone who challenged the orthodox policies concerning COVID lockdowns and vaccine mandates. I take no issue with their positions on those matters; so, it’s incredibly misleading to generalize and characterize people who disagree with him or Tucker (in most other cases) as some monolithic group of bogus “leftists” who worship Big Pharma.
Aaron Maté argued that this is the “end of an era” because Tucker was the only mainstream media host airing anti-war voices. By the way, the “anti-war” voices Aaron is referring to are those of himself, Max Blumenthal, Anya Parampil (Max’s wife), and Jimmy Dore—basically, people directly within his “influencer” ecosystem (it’s a small club and you ain’t in it). Max and Aaron then recap some of Tucker’s greatest hits—from Anya talking about Trump’s coup attempt in Venezuela and Hilary Clinton’s actions in Honduras to Jimmy Dore spectacles condemning imperialist wars. And naturally, this was all discussed in the context of the “leftist” shows forbidding them from talking about Syria, Russiagate or Ukraine on their platforms (they didn’t actually clarify the “leftist shows” to which they were referring).
The problem is this: Tucker might have Anya on his show (a few times a year) to explain how U.S. foreign policy contributes to mass migration (in terms of Hillary Clinton and Honduras). However, when Anya is not there (which is most of the year), Tucker pivots back to his tired ass rhetoric about Soros-funded third-world immigrants soiling the legacy American stock. Given the opportunity, why don’t any of these Tucker cheerleaders ask him about this sentiment? I’m not trying to dictate what people can and can’t do, but how do Max, Aaron, Anya, or Jimmy not find it odd that Tucker resorts back to the same schtick when they are not present?
Overall, it didn’t seem like Max or Aaron were upset about Tucker’s firing because he featured a variety of “dissident” voices; instead, their disappointment seemed to stem from losing a mainstream media host who provided them (and their friends orbiting the same “alt-media” circuit) with a national platform.
Purpose and Intent
Both Max and Aaron agreed that Tucker is “good on Ukraine and that’s the most important issue right now”—imagine dictating what is or isn’t the “most important issue” to your audience (or anyone). Not only is the topic of “what is or isn’t the most important issue” a highly subjective matter, but Max and Aaron don’t even entertain the fact that some journalists and analysts have valid criticisms about how Tucker examines the Ukraine-Russia fiasco.
Perhaps, how Tucker arrives at his ideas is not important to Max and Aaron because they both explicitly say that, to them, Tucker’s motives and personal views are insignificant (they don’t matter). Their only concern is that he allows “anti-war voices” on his show. Tucker’s motivation and overall purpose is meaningless because, for Max and Aaron, he is only a means to an end—how Machiavellian. Unfortunately, the logic behind this argument doesn’t hold up because attempting to understand the intentions and reasons behind a person’s actions is the whole point of engaging in dialogue or making an assessment (whether in “politics” or just in general).
Anyway, I agree that there are plenty of neocons who have never seen a war they didn’t like, but (like I already stated) there are analysts and researchers who approach the Ukraine-Russia topic in good faith (and still disagree with Tucker’s assessment). I like to assess geopolitical matters (or any other topics) by reading a variety of think tank documents, academic papers, historical outlines of the region, mainstream, and alternative sources. Then I formulate a hypothesis (or analysis) based on my understanding of the various sources (I keep the parts that make sense and let go of the parts that don’t). That being said, it’s rather alarming to observe journalists like Max and Aaron insist that only “experts” of their choice maintain the “correct” interpretation of geopolitics and foreign policy.
For example, when Aaron voiced that he didn’t care for how RFK Jr. framed Russiagate and the Ukraine war, Max assured him that “RFK Jr. knows what’s up” because he spoke with Scott Ritter (another authorized talking head within the Grayzone infosphere). Is that supposed to be reassuring? The same Scott Ritter who refers to Ukraine as a rabid dog that needs to be shot down? Sorry folks, but Scott Ritter, Colonel Douglas Macgregor, and John Mearsheimer don’t have a monopoly on the “alternative” analysis of the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
Tucker, Russia, Syria & the GloboHomo Gay Disco
It seems as though many of the loudest “conservative” voices supporting Russia believe Putin is defending European values, Christian identity, and fighting a culture war against the “GloboHomo Gay Disco” agenda—and (in my opinion) Tucker falls under this camp.
Tucker’s coverage of Russia and Syria is usually framed around “protecting Christianity” and his admiration for “nationalist” leaders who want to maintain a traditional societal model. And this is almost always presented in the context of “owning the libs” because, according to Tucker, they are just a bunch of Soros-funded globalists who want to groom your children. It’s all very healthy…not polarizing at all.
For example, in a segment from February 2023, Tucker argues that the Democratic Party has wanted a war with Russia since 2016 because they believed Russians hacked the DNC servers and gave the contents to Wikileaks. Tucker then asserts that (for democrats) Russia made the perfect villain because:
It was a white Christian country with a traditional social structure. It was everything the Democratic Party already opposed.
Would Tucker have the same energy for a non-white and secular nation with a “modern” social structure? My guess: probably not. Just look at Tucker’s coverage of the Iraq invasion when he was squealing like a distressed guinea pig about Iraqis being semi-literate monkeys who should just shut-up and obey. I’m not saying people can’t evolve in their thinking; however, I find it peculiar that Tucker only seems to reserve this sort of nuance for nations that align with his (faux) “traditionalist” values. Furthermore, in a segment about about Syria, Tucker contends that overthrowing Assad would:
Result in chaos…in fact, we might likely see the genocide of one of the last remaining Christian communities in the Middle East and we ought to care about that.
It’s worth noting that Assad is an Alawite, which is an offshoot of the Shi’a denomination. The Alawi faith is a syncretic blend of Islam and Christianity (with esoteric interpretations); thus, Alawites are not necessarily seen as “real” Muslims and oftentimes considered quasi-Christians. Similar to his Russia segment, Tucker’s favorable or “nuanced” coverage of Syria seems motivated by the idea that Assad protects Christians in the Middle East and not necessarily because it’s morally wrong to bomb people. Side note: for anyone interested in how this particular narrative (about Assad protecting Christians) came to be, check out my video here.
Weaponizing Resentment: Soviet-Ethiopian Coalition Against Eritrea + Fragmentation in Syria &…
Topics: -Populism and the weaponization of "resentment" -Strange political bedfellows: Neo-Nazis, Stalinists, Catholic…
Circling back to the original point about Ukraine:
Personally, I don’t think it’s logical or helpful to send Ukraine billions of dollars for tanks and missiles because, in my opinion, kinetic warfare is never the solution to any problem. I hold that diplomacy through dialogue is the only option and anything else is a fool’s errand. It’s really just that simple—if you purport to have the moral high ground, don’t engage in the unethical tactics that you criticize. Same goes for Russia because their government resorting to an invasion or a “special military operation” makes their leaders just as psychotic as the corrupt western leaders that they claim to oppose.
In the Grayzone segment about Tucker, Max and Aaron were livid about an unfavorable Tucker Carlson article published on Jacobin (written by Ben Burgis). First of all, they detested the title, “Tucker Carlson Is a Repugnant, Pseudo-Populist Fraud”—personally, I quite like the title and I think it’s perfect for Tucker. They also despised that Burgis dared to slam Tucker because Tucker didn’t denounce Putin as a warmonger. Moreover, Max seemed offended that Burgis claimed Putin had “imperialist ambitions” because, according to Max, Jacobin doesn’t even criticize Bernie Sanders, how could they scold Putin?! “Clean up your own house” was Max’s sentiment. To be honest, I giggled at this leap in logic because I didn’t realize that one had to condemn Bernie Sanders before ever uttering a single critique about Vladimir Putin. Silly me.
PSA: No, these are not “CIA talking points” and, honestly, if you limit your analysis to such simple-minded dialectical thinking (like “Russia good and west bad”) then kindly stop reading this post. Your time is probably better spent watching Jackson Hinkle celebrate the Wagner Group “liquidating” Ukrainians—enjoy the subsequent brain rot. Goodbye!
Tucker’s Weeping Toadies
During their segment, the Tucker Carlson flunkies were sobbing about how there will never be another host like Tucker; there’s no hope left in cable news or establishment media and the people missing the “importance” of this moment must be aligned with the U.S. State Department. I wish I was being hyperbolic, but unfortunately, I’m not (that’s how dramatic they sounded). Pitiful.
At one point, while they were addressing a Politico article about Pentagon officials gleefully celebrating Tucker’s ousting, Aaron Maté made the disingenuous case that anyone cheering about Tucker’s firing was in lockstep with the Pentagon. Because, in Aaron’s ass-backward world, the only possible scenarios are supporting Tucker Carlson or siding with the Pentagon—my god, how juvenile. He can’t actually believe only two options are available. It’s almost too foolish to address without trolling. I’m tempted, but I’m trying to get better at managing my perpetual impulse to be a relentless thunder cunt (trying is the key word).
In any case, Aaron continues his infantile tirade by declaring that some people have internalized U.S. hegemony’s “right” to spend billions on atrocities like the “dirty Syrian war”—thus, those individuals disapprove of journalists (like him and Max) appearing on Tucker’s show to “expose” U.S. war crimes. My god, imagine stating something so meaningless—is Aaron really going to attempt to generalize everyone who has ever criticized him and tell them the problem is that they’ve “internalized” U.S. hegemony? Moron. He concludes his non point by stating that only people who support the Syrian war refuse to acknowledge Tucker was the only one allowing him and his friends to talk about Russiagate or Syria on cable news. How is this person a journalist? I’m getting triggered just rereading some of the quotes I wrote down while I was watching their “ode to Tucker” extravaganza.
Max Blumenthal follows Aaron’s asinine arguments by asserting that Tucker is rightfully critical of the Pentagon’s diversity policy because the U.S. just wants to use trans and black/brown generals to rebrand U.S. imperialism and corruption (making it more digestible for the general public)—an assertion with which I agree. However, Max is not only rewriting Tucker’s argument here, but this is in the realm of unstructured magical thinking because Max is stating his own position on the matter, not Tucker’s. Max fails to mention that Tucker’s reason for condemning the Pentagon and the generals is because they are “too woke” and that makes the American military look weak; which is why China is laughing at America. That is Tucker’s actual qualm with the Pentagon—and that sentiment doesn’t resemble whatever Max espoused at all.
Another article Max and Aaron took issue with was titled, “Tucker Carlson: The Elite Pedigree of a Brilliant Cosplaying Populist” and it was written by Alan Macleod (published by Mint Press News). Max states that, although he usually respects Alan’s work, in this piece, Alan wasn’t criticizing the substance of Tucker’s coverage or how the “substance” fits into the larger media landscape. Max is incorrect here because, in the Tucker’s Real Purpose section of the article, Alan explains:
The Fox News host also attempts to channel popular frustrations away from the real causes of economic grief and into a pointless and endless red vs. blue culture war.
Perhaps Max disagrees with Alan’s perspective, but Alan definitely states his opinion on where he thinks Tucker fits in the larger media ecosystem. From my perspective, Tucker is a polarizing and reactionary figure who cynically weaponizes his audience’s resentment by using their frustration to accomplish various political agendas. He usually does this by diverting blame from the Republican Party (except for a select few “RINOs”) and focusing on the liberals when telling his audience what they should currently be outraged about (immigration, the border, or LGBTQ). The outrage economy thrives!
I’m also convinced that, for Tucker, there is nothing more satisfying than hosting a “disaffected liberal” who passionately rails against the democrats on his show (Jimmy Dore being a fan favorite). That doesn’t mean Jimmy and other “leftists” should have avoided Tucker’s show. I just wonder why many of the “lefty” guests never had the same vitriol for the republicans (that they had for the democrats) while on Tucker’s show. Why not highlight the corruption within the Republican Party while (rightfully) slamming the liberals (especially since the Fox News audience leans more conservative). Is that too much to ask?
A Chicago radio host named Ben Joravsky actually questioned Jimmy Dore about this very thing—check out the interview here and listen to Jimmy tell the host that when he goes on Tucker’s show, he’s there to push his own agenda (like Julian Assange). Joravsky responds to Jimmy by making the astute point that if Wikileaks had released some dirt on Donald Trump, Tucker would be calling for an investigation into Julian Assange because his “support” for Assange is purely tactical. The rest of Jimmy Dore’s answer can be reduced to this: when he goes on Tucker’s show, he’s not there to challenge him because he’s the only “anti-war” voice in mainstream media. Ultimately, Jimmy repeats the same recycled bullet points that Aaron Maté and Max Blumenthal utilize when they’re shuckin’ and jivin’ for The Tuck. It’s über-cringe and Joravsky was not amused (shout out to Aly Alexandra for sharing that interview).
I’m not emphasizing this because I have some affinity toward the “liberal world order”—I’m just failing to grasp how such savvy “award-winning journalists” like Aaron Maté and Max Blumenthal don’t see the role Tucker played in the fake “dissident” environment. Unless they are truly that ignorant and unintelligent, these gentlemen might just be opportunistic hucksters.
“Anti-war” Gets a new Definition
Max also claims that the people who don’t understand why Tucker is so important were also hating on the Rage Against the War Machine rally by “smearing” people like Tulsi Gabbard. Max refers to this bunch as the “boutique left” who are only preoccupied with social issues and identity politics. I love how these gentlemen think they get to decide what should or shouldn’t be considered important to a highly stratified population of individuals. Why even come to conclusions through our own discernment when we can just outsource our thinking to Max Blumenthal and Aaron Maté and they can dictate, to us, how we should or shouldn’t feel about everything!
Some words on the Aloha Drone Queen: Tulsi Gabbard spoke at this “anti-war” rally Max and Aaron are referring to and I want to clarify that my criticism—regarding Tulsi’s inclusion in that event—was grounded in the fact that she is currently a Lieutenant Colonel at the Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations unit in Mountain View, California. Unless there is a new definition for the term “anti-war,” I don’t know how an active duty Lieutenant Colonel falls under that category. I’m not insinuating that everyone who joins the military is a rabid war-hawk, but this woman seems rather suspicious. Plus, Tulsi is only against “regime change wars” and last time I checked, “anti-war” means opposing all forms of warfare: from kinetic to psychological.
Furthermore, Tulsi is a vocal advocate of “targeted drone strikes” on whoever she deems to be a “terrorist” threat. She is, specifically, concerned with the Middle East and Africa; particularly, the Horn of Africa (where she was recently stationed). She considers that part of Africa a hotbed of radical islamist jihadist activity. In 2021, I wrote a post about Tulsi Gabbard here.
Let me make this last point about Tulsi, it’s not that I don’t think there are extremist groups in Africa, the Middle East, or anywhere else. So, I don’t necessarily think Tulsi is lying about what she claims to have observed in that part of the world. I just disagree with her lethal solutions (employing targeted airstrikes to kill “terrorists”). From my perspective, that idea is bonkers because how does the problem of “radical groups killing people” get solved by “killing more people”—it doesn’t make sense. Incidentally, my sentiment would be the same if Tulsi suggested drone strikes to quell “radical Christian” or “Jewish extremist” groups in the United States.
Strategic Maneuvers & Access Journalism
When their interview with Colonel Douglas Macgregor arises, Max seems frustrated about the pushback they experienced for being “soft” on Macgregor. He proceeds to ask Aaron (and the audience) if Grayzone was only supposed to host “soy-jack pundits” and “card carrying socialists” on their show to denounce the Ukraine-Russia war. Although that comment made me laugh, I resent this argument because, in my opinion, people can platform the most heinous sociopaths as often as they’d like, I only judge the quality of the content based on what is actually discussed and how it’s framed.
Next, Max emphasizes that it’s not “strategic” to hate on national platforms that allow him and his buddies to “speak out” against these wars. That statement seems rather dubious; especially, since I’ve heard him criticize his peers for doing “access journalism” when they would placate certain networks in order to maintain their access to larger platforms. Does he really not see that he is doing the same thing? At one point, Max deemed it necessarily to highlight that Tucker just simply has a “traditional Buchananite isolationist position” before quoting something Karl Rove said about the media: “we work with the media we have, not the media we wish we had.”
I don’t think Max was quoting Karl Rove because he endorses his ideas, but my response circles back to what I just wrote previously; it’s not about which platforms a person chooses to utilize, it’s about how that individual engages with that platform and if they will make ethical compromises for the sake of access to large platforms. In my opinion, Max and Aaron participate in the very behavior for which they publicly criticize others—it looks hypocritical and, at this point, they have very little credibility left. If at all.
Overlooking Contradictions + Vanessa Beeley & Eva Bartlett
Toward the end of the ode to their dearly beloved: Tucker Carlson, Max directs attention to Tucker’s appearance on the Full Send Podcast where he expressed regret for pushing the Iraq war all those years and for never questioning the collapse (or controlled demolition) of Building 7 after the September 11 attacks. Highlighting this podcast was a jumping off point for Max and Aaron positioning Tucker as the most “anti-war voice on Cable TV” even though his past comments were “cringe”—Tucker is “more than that” they said. “He even had Dan Kovalik on to talk about Nicaragua” one of them remarked. Max was ultimately trying to portray Tucker as someone making up for his ugly comments of the past (especially about Iraqis) by opposing regime change in Syria and Venezuela in the present. How noble; no strategy involved, I’m sure.
After that, Max makes a comment about Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett; he “admits” that Vanessa and Eva had every right to attack him about his views on Syria back in 2013 (before he changed direction). This is peculiar because I’ve actually listened to Vanessa and Eva talking about this very thing (the Grayzone folks quietly switching positions on Syria), but this was the first time I heard Max address it on a stream (doesn’t mean he hasn’t, it’s just the first time I witnessed it).
I think Max drew this parallel between his and Tucker’s “evolving” perspectives on foreign policy for strategic reasons. Of course, it could totally be genuine and I could just be overthinking, but I’m going to share my thoughts anyway. To me, it seems like Max (just like the RAND Corporation) understands that audiences will overlook contradictions in messaging under certain circumstances:
- When a strong argument is presented (or assumed) for an individual’s change in perspective, then the new message can be even more convincing.
- If a person seems like they have contemplated various viewpoints, the audience is likely to have even more trust in that person.
By this logic, the audience is likely to have more trust in someone like Max Blumenthal or Tucker Carlson because they’ll be perceived as two humans who realized the error in their ways and admitted their past faults. Thus, the audience would receive their fresh perspectives with open arms and they would have great confidence in the new messages. Moving forward, the audience would likely believe that Max and Tucker actually give deeper consideration to the topics they discuss because of the mistakes they’ve made in the past; in turn, amassing them a loyal base. This is the trick to overcoming a loss of credibility or influence due to inconsistent messaging. Compound that by repeatedly echoing your desired narrative on multiple channels and you have the perfect blueprint for deception.
If you actually care about integrity and ethics, then this blueprint isn’t for you; but if life is a fucking game to you, then go ahead. Just don’t come crying to me about how corrupt and deprived the “elites” have made the world because if you engage in such behavior, you’re one of the assholes contributing to the very corruption and depravity you profess to loathe. Charlatan.
Peace and blessings.