Tax justice historian destroys Fox News host for promoting billionaire propaganda

Rutger Bregman and Tucker Carlson
Joshua Funnell

Only weeks after disrupting the billionaires’ gathering at Davos, Dutch historian Rutger Bregman has struck again. And this time, he’s exposed right-wing US media network Fox News.

More than Fox bargained for

Bregman wrote the best-selling book Utopia for Realists, which advocates a Universal Basic Income (UBI). He was taking part in a pre-recorded segment for Fox News’s Tucker Carlson. The latter was recently involved in a racism scandal that lost many of his show’s advertisers.

Bregman was invited to discuss elite tax avoidance. But he had other ideas. And to Carlson’s dismay, he took aim at him personally and his employers:

Bregman goes off Fox’s script

Bregman started by illustrating that:

the vast majority of Americans… – including Fox News viewers and including Republicans – are in favour of higher taxes on the rich… it’s all really mainstream. But no one’s saying that at Davos, just as no one’s saying it on Fox news, right? And I think the explanation for that is quite simple, is that most of the people in Davos, but also here on this channel, have been bought by the billionaire class

Ignoring the criticisms of Fox News, Carlson states:

many people have called for higher taxes. But very few have shown…

Bregman intervenes:

Well, not on this channel. I mean almost all of the pundits on this channel for years have been against higher taxes, right?

Far from finished, Bregman continued:

I think the issue… is one of corruption and of people being bribed… and of not talking about the real issues… what the Murdochs basically want you to do is to scapegoat immigrants instead of talking about tax avoidance.

Carlson then asked how money influenced his coverage. Bregman answered:

it works by you taking their dirty money… You are a millionaire funded by billionaires… And I’m glad you now finally jumped [on] the bandwagon [by addressing tax avoidance] of people like Bernie Sanders and AOC [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez], but you’re not part of the solution, Mr Carlson. You’re part of the problem, actually.

Carlson loses it

Carlson then completely lost it with a rant that seriously undermines his journalistic integrity, saying:

I wanna say to you why don’t you go fuck yourself ― you tiny brain… I tried to give you a hearing, but you were too fucking annoying.

Bregman replied:

You can’t handle the criticism, can you?

Fox didn’t realise it was being recorded

Little did Carlson know that Bregman had recorded the entire exchange:

And since the recording was released, Carlson has doubled down, not apologised:

Bregman even alleges that Carlson sent him an abusive email after the show:

Bregman clarifies how media influence works

Reflecting on the incident, Bregman tweeted:

This is the Chomsky video he is referring to with Andrew Marr:

Bregman is acknowledging that money’s control of the media isn’t achieved by direct censorship. Instead, journalists are self-censoring (knowingly or unknowingly) and are selected for holding views reflecting the interests of their employers and advertisers; and for knowing certain topics are off limits.

Guests calling out this flaw in commercial media is long overdue.

Featured image via YouTube – Owen Jones and YouTube – Fox News

We need your help ...

The coronavirus pandemic is changing our world, fast. And we will do all we can to keep bringing you news and analysis throughout. But we are worried about maintaining enough income to pay our staff and minimal overheads.

Now, more than ever, we need a vibrant, independent media that holds the government to account and calls it out when it puts vested economic interests above human lives. We need a media that shows solidarity with the people most affected by the crisis – and one that can help to build a world based on collaboration and compassion.

We have been fighting against an establishment that is trying to shut us down. And like most independent media, we don’t have the deep pockets of investors to call on to bail us out.

Can you help by chipping in a few pounds each month?

The Canary Support us