A month and a half after Fox News fired him, Tucker Carlson has launched the first episode of his new Twitter show. If the debut is any guide, the show will be chock-full of yet more of the thinly constructed conspiracy theories Carlson previously broadcast to millions every night.

But within just 90 seconds, Carlson reinforced the folly of that approach in stunning fashion.

While leaping headlong into one speculative theory about who was culpable for the sabotage of a major piece of infrastructure in the Russia-Ukraine war, Carlson quietly retreated from perhaps his biggest such theory about another.

The thrust of Carlson’s lightly produced 10-minute video was, to no one’s surprise, seeking to absolve Russia of blame for something. In this case, it was the destruction of a major dam and hydroelectric power plant in Ukraine. We don’t know who destroyed the Kakhovka dam, but Carlson assured viewers that it made no sense for Russia to have done it.

In the course of doing so, though, Carlson briefly alluded to a Washington Post report from earlier in the day about another major act of sabotage. It cited how the United States had intelligence that Ukraine had planned to attack the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline months before the September attack.

“Any fair person would conclude that the Ukrainians probably blew [the dam] up, just as you would assume they blew up Nord Stream, the Russian natural gas pipeline, last fall,” Carlson said. “And in fact, Ukrainians did do that, as we now know.”

Carlson quickly moved on, and for good reason: Despite now saying Ukraine blew up Nord Stream, he spent months on his Fox News show saying something very different. Without any real evidence, he repeatedly claimed it was the United States who blew up Nord Stream.

It began shortly after the pipeline, which was due to provide Russian energy to Europe but was halted amid Russia’s invasion, was sabotaged in September.

Carlson cited earlier statements from President Biden and a State Department official promising to end the pipeline. He pretended as if these were direct threats to destroy it, rather than merely urging Europe not to move forward with the project.

But soon the insinuations became direct claims. Over and over this year, Carlson affirmatively said the Biden administration blew up the pipeline. This was stated as fact. He used this to accuse our government of terrorism.

Jan. 31: “And so that’s why we blew up the Nord Stream pipeline.”

Feb. 8: “And now, we have the actual answer to what happened. Oh, the Biden administration did it, for real.”

Feb. 9: Carlson cited an uncorroborated report “we believe proving that the Biden administration blew up the Nord Stream 2 pipelines.”

Feb. 13: “On the other hand, this is the same administration that sabotaged the Nord Stream pipeline, the single biggest act of industrial terrorism in history and continues to lie about it.”

Feb. 24: “So the Biden administration committed the single largest most profound act of industrial terrorism of sabotaging history. They blew up the Nord Stream pipeline …”

Feb. 27: “ … The U.S. government has been caught committing the biggest act of environmental terrorism in history in blowing up the Nord Stream pipeline.”

March 3: “We can probably assume that we’re not talking about the bombing of the Nord Stream pipeline, which the Biden administration was deeply involved in.”

March 9: “Meanwhile, they’re still lying about what happened to the Nord Stream pipeline. The Biden administration blew it up, and the story has changed.”

March 24: “The Biden administration blew up Vladimir Putin’s pipeline, of course.”

In mid-April, shortly before his firing, Carlson broadcast an interview in which former president Donald Trump alluded to the idea that he knew who was responsible but wouldn’t say. Carlson cast this as Trump effectively confirming his theory; he teased the clip by falsely citing how the Biden administration had “promised to blow up” the pipeline.

There remain unanswered questions about both Nord Stream and the Khakovka dam. But it’s just plain remarkable that Carlson has begun his new show this way — launching into a new theory about an act of sabotage while effectively abandoning his most prevalent theory about another.

And it should be viewed as a statement of intent: On his new platform, where he apparently got tens of millions of views for his first episode, he’s just going to keep shoveling this stuff out there. And he’ll hope you forget the many times he was wrong.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

Comments are closed.