Tucker Carlson is an Impressive Liar
When I first set about to write this article, I had planned to conduct a systematic fact check of every claim Tucker Carlson made in his most recent segment about Trump’s merit-based immigration plan. However, thirty seconds into the episode, I realized that to be an impossible task. Simply put, there are too many lies for me to go through in any detail.
Credit where credit is due: Tucker lies so efficiently that it’s almost impressive. When I was in high school, I was a member of the debate team. Over the course of three years, I participated in more than 80 debates at the highest levels available to me, so I’m quite familiar with people who are comfortable lying to make a political point. But even the most dishonest of my opponents would revel in Tucker’s ability to spew nontruths with his infamous brand of flopsweat jackassery. And that is saying something.
So instead of reviewing each of his claims, I’ll just refute the most important one below. Be sure to stick around if you want to hear the final count on how many lies there were in total!
The “Merit-Based” Immigration System and Tucker’s Argument
Under the Trump administration’s new plan, younger and more educated immigrants would be more likely to have their citizenship applications approved. According to a report from Politico, immigrants would be given “points” for demonstrating that they have
a “valuable skill, an offer of employment, an advanced education or a plan to create jobs.” Immigrants would have to prove they’re financially self-sufficient, learn English, and pass a civics exam prior to entry into the country.
Trump has promised that the policy doesn’t change the amount of immigration the US permits, but rather
“establishes a new legal immigration system that protects American wages, promotes American values, and attracts the best and brightest from all around the world.”
The idea may sound appealing on paper. Indeed, Tucker makes a case for the policy on mostly theoretical grounds: the United States has a surplus of low-skill workers. Therefore, he claims, if we are to allow thousands of immigrants to enter every year, we should prioritize those who may “actually help” the country and not put a strain on our national entitlement programs by favoring high-skill workers.
Is the policy intuitive? Perhaps. But even a casual observer of politics may point out the obvious refutations, first and foremost that economists almost universally agree that immigrants, undocumented or otherwise, positively impact the economy in a number of ways regardless of their education level. It’s also not debatable that undocumented immigrants are not eligible for most government benefits (this is the group Tucker is most concerned about), and therefore don’t “put a strain” on our federal programs.
But even if we grant the above, the core of his argument is still wildly misleading.
What the Data Say
If you take Tucker’s claim about the surplus of low-skilled workers at face value, it may seem like he has a reasonable case. However, it’s clear that this proposition is not backed by any empirical evidence.
The reality is that the country is experiencing a massive worker shortage that appears indiscriminate of industry. A report from The Conference Board last December found that “blue-collar workers are now scarcer than white-collar workers” since baby-boomers are retiring and younger people overwhelmingly attend post-secondary education. In fact, they even go as far as to recommend that some employers “reduce education requirements” in order to accommodate these new trends
One who looks at the evidence cannot help but conclude that the first premise of Tucker’s argument (not to mention the logic behind the rest) is completely flawed. Now, this is not to be unduly harsh on Fox News. It may be hard for Tucker to read through the plumes of ass-smoke he blows each time he opens his mouth. Nevertheless, a quick look at the data would have been sobering.
So…How Many Times Did He Lie?
Alright, now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for: how many times did Tucker lie? In the roughly nine-minute segment, Tucker and his guest, radio show host Larry Elder, lied at least 16 times. That’s more than once per minute! And that does not include statements for which he has no evidence but aren’t necessarily falsifiable — like his insistence that Democrats only oppose Trump’s policy for political reasons.
Like I said, his stats are impressive. But considering his reach of nearly three million nightly viewers, maybe dishonesty of this magnitude is more concerning than anything else. And in an age where facts matter less and less in our political discourse, Tucker becomes more and more dangerous as a personality. He is an actor whose main purpose is to play the role of apologist for terrible policies — but his message nevertheless resonates with millions of Americans. And that is absolutely terrifying.