Bowtie Brawler Takes a Beating
April 30, 2002
By Taylor Sias
As a fan of both the "sweet science" and politics, I was
drawn to CNN's new Crossfire. The promos run by CNN compared
the new format to a prizefight, and even ridiculously dressed
the hosts in ring garments. This Tomfoolery aside, a real
knockout occurred last Thursday night.
In the middle rounds of an uninspired contest, a stunning
KO was delivered. The blow made me reminisce about an invincible
Mike Tyson being destroyed by Buster Douglas a decade ago.
I wanted to get up, yell at the TV in my best Cosellian imitation,
and ejaculate "down goes Carlson, down goes Carlson!"
On this night, Tucker Carlson had his career effectively
ended by a hungry, young buck named David Brock.
Going in, there was not much reason to anticipate such an
amazing display. David Brock, writer of Blinded By The
Right, had in prior public engagements shown restraint
in addressing his book. Whether it be on Jon Stewart or Bill
Maher, I walked away unquenched by Brock's statements. His
book had said enough, but to hear it in his voice would be
On Thursday April 25, everything changed. Maybe it was Brock
looking at a younger version of his prior self in Tucker Carlson
(it was said that in his days with the dark side, Brock wore
bowties often to make himself appear more conservative) but
he had his shining moment.
In the much-ballyhooed interview, Brock effectively started
by landing a few pawing jabs, but had the ammunition ready
for a vicious assault. Brock suggested that Carlson was thinking,
"Gee, you know, David, I agree with every word in your 'Esquire'
piece and I'm just attacking it to make a couple hundred dollars."
Carlson was momentary disconnected from his senses, and all
he could utter was "That's a total lie, David. I never said
that. I thought your piece was ludicrous then. I think it's
ludicrous now. I never said that. And you made it up."
Carlson looked like he had been hit by a young Mike Tyson,
and was desperate to hold on. He had not quite gone down yet,
but his legs were definitely shaky.
Brock, ready to go for the stoppage, countered by saying
"I will look you right in the eye. That is exactly what you
told me. Some friends have told me that it sounds just like
you". This exchange was much like the first Mike Tyson-Evander
Holyfield fight, when Holyfield proved he would not be bullied
by Tyson. Equipped with the courage to stand up to the monster,
the monster turned into something much less.
There is no need to expand on the remainder of the interview.
It was classic, with Carville uttering the memorable line
"What are we going to tell the children?" in response to Brock's
revelation that Solicitor General Ted Olson and Supreme Court
justice Clarence Thomas both lied under oath. The line was
classic Carvillian. As Undisputed 140 Pound World Champion
Kostya Tsyzu said after gaining the title by beating Zab Judah,
"It's like a boomerang". The same line spoken against Clinton
came back to bite the conservatives.
The fight was mercifully stopped after ten minutes, and Carlson
was visibly shaken. He was schooled by a better man, who was
not afraid of his foul tactics. I get the feeling that Carlson
will never be the same again.
We'll see all the signs of a shopworn fighter, such as being
afraid to initiate the action. When he pressed the action
on this night, he was left open to a bruising attack to the
head and body. Carlson will live on to fight another day,
as he probably needs the paydays. But gone will be the days
of the cocky young punk who felt invincible. What is left
is a broken man, who knows exactly the consequences of what
happened other night. Debaters will be more confidant to attack
the former warrior with a shaky set of whiskers, realizing
that armed with the facts they will prevail.
On this night, there was no doubt as to the victor. The truth
won. Carlson will be full of excuses, but the levelheaded
saw what transpired. Hopefully for safety's sake, Carlson
will not turn into the journalistic equivalent of Muhammad
Taylor Sias is a proud liberal, and news editor for the
William T. Dwyer High School newspaper in Jupiter, Florida.