Carlson, Concha Rip ‘Media Bubble’ on NFL Protests ‘Giving...Rhetorical Finger’ to America

Leading off his eponymous Fox News Channel show on Monday, Tucker Carlson delayed bringing on a liberal guest to debate the day’s news in order to spend a few moments lambasting how those NFL players protesting the National Anthem were “giving the rhetorical finger to the country that made them rich.”

Carlson was later assisted by The Hill’s Joe Concha as the two lit into the “media bubble” for not understanding how upsetting the protests have been for average Americans but also how they accused the President of being racist for calling out players.

Here’s how Tucker opened his show after greeting viewers: 

Football isn't just the most popular sport in this country, it is also one of the only institutions we have left that unites everybody here across race and income and geography. There are not many of those, no matter who they voted for last fall, Americans who love the same team can bond over football. No longer possible, sadly. Now even the country's final nonpartisan refuge has been invaded by politics. 

The FNC host added that “[t]he site of pampered millionaires giving the rhetorical finger to the country that made them rich is obviously disgusting, so there is no surprise that stadiums across America fans booed when they saw this.”

For any critic or leftist hater, Carlson addressed the right of players to protest, noting that “nobody really contests that, though free speech lectures are a little hard to take from the very people who routinely shut down the political speech of their opponents, in any case, not the point.” 

He then continued on that theme:

Just because something is legal doesn't mean you ought to do it. The Constitution also protects your rights to, I don't know, scream obscenities at nuns. But doesn't prevent the rest of us from judging you for doing it. So, what are these protests really about? Well, some players claim their core complaint is police brutality in which case, fine. Protest that learn the facts. Make your case. Propose solutions. Run for office. Try to make the country better. But, no. That's too hard. It's easier to follow the demagogues and attack America itself. You win for bravery on Instagram.

Carlson ended by commenting the issue of unity eroding before our eyes even though what links people in Mississippi and Vermont are that “people in both places love America.” 

“What happens when they no longer do? Many have accused the President of using the flag controversy as a diversification for more pressing topics like the threat of North Korea or the failure of healthcare initiative and as a political matter that may be true. But it does not change the inherent significance of what you just watched last night at the games. Because, when our elites attack our national symbols as if they are worthless and loathe some. Something important, something monumental has changed here. If the people who benefitted most from America despise it and increasingly they do, where does that leave the rest of us,” he concluded.

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Carlson setup Concha at the back end of the A-block by noting that, somehow, “everything in America must be about racial politics now” as shown by CNN's Brian Stelter and Jim Acosta "both wildly speculating that Donald Trump doesn't really care about the flag and the national anthem and our civic symbols. Instead he is just a racist.”

“Larger question of course is how did Jim Acosta wind up on television....Look, if you are a reporter, you probably ought not to be speculating about people's motives because aren't they fundamentally unknowable? Like how could Jim Acosta know what the President means,” Carlson wondered. 

Concha then responded:

Can I answer osmosis on that? Because you could look at all of President Trump's tweets on this topic and it's all out there, race is not broached once. He has also verbally talked about this as well and you don't see race broached anywhere. But since we have again, reporters and pundits that last month were playing mental health officials when it comes to analyzing the President's sanity, now apparently we are reading minds as well as far as that goes. But just to answer, Mr. Acosta when he said, why weren't there are any angry tweets at Tom Brady when he didn't show up at the White House for that celebration, Brady's mother has cancer and Tom wanted to spend time with her at that time. That's why he couldn't go and that's why the President didn't respond but Jim Acosta doesn't report that.

He also astutely noted that the political press are always hellbent on “insert[ing] a racial component to stories that don't warrant them whatsoever.”

After giving examples of the NFL’s free speech double standard, Concha shared that he was “out and about” talking to people watching NFL games on Sunday with “[t]he sentiment on the ground is that people agree with the President on this one” even if “[t]hey don't necessarily agree with the way he presented himself.”

Further, Concha appropriately concluded that this disconnect over NFL protests has served as a replay of the presidential election:

But it completely contrasts what we saw in the media bubble and not just cable news but on ESPN's sports media which was universal condemnation of Trump. This is like the 2016 election. The conditions on the ground of what people feel is completely different than what people are thinking in New York and Washington.

Here’s the relevant transcript from FNC’s Tucker Carlson Tonight on September 25:

FNC’s Tucker Carlson Tonight
September 25, 2017
8:00 p.m. Eastern

TUCKER CARLSON: Football isn't just the most popular sport in this country, it is also one of the only institutions we have left that unites everybody here across race and income and geography. There are not many of those, no matter who they voted for last fall, Americans who love the same team can bond over football. No longer possible, sadly. Now even the country's final nonpartisan refuge has been invaded by politics. On Saturday, the President tweeted that NFL players who protest the national anthem ought to be fired and as if on cue the protests intensified. In London, players for the Baltimore Ravens and the Jacksonville Jaguars kneeled in contempt of the Star-Spangled Banner while standing respectfully for God Save The Queen. In Chicago, the entire Pittsburgh Steelers team stayed off the field for the anthem save for a single player, an army veteran who defied his own coach by walking out. His jersey, by the way, is the single most popular football-related piece of paraphernalia on the internet right now. In Washington, D.C. last night, virtually every player on the Raiders sat in protests as a military honored guard carried an American flag on to the field. The site of pampered millionaires giving the rhetorical finger to the country that made them rich is obviously disgusting, so there is no surprise that stadiums across America fans booed when they saw this. The Left's response today is pretty lamely saying, players have a First Amendment right to criticize their country. Of course, nobody really contests that, though free speech lectures are a little hard to take from the very people who routinely shut down the political speech of their opponents, in any cases not the point. Just because something is legal doesn't mean you ought to do it. The Constitution also protects your rights to, I don't know, scream obscenities at nuns. But doesn't prevent the rest of us from judging you for doing it. So, what are these protests really about? Well, some players claim their core complaint is police brutality in which case, fine. Protest that learn the facts. Make your case. Propose solutions. Run for office. Try to make the country better. But, no. That's too hard. It's easier to follow the demagogues and attack America itself. You win for bravery on Instagram. So, why is this a big deal? Why is it in the end dangerous for this country? Well, for the same reason we sing the national anthem in the first place so often stand for the flag, used to say the pledge of allegiance. All of those other slightly silly civic rituals that liberals have long despised and sneered at. Why are they important? Because in the end love of country is all we have. We aren't like other nations with the homogenous populations and the shared history in religion, increasingly, we don't even have a common language. So, shared belief in America, the country, is the only glue that binds us together. Why are Vermont and Mississippi in the same country? Because people in both places love America. What happens when they no longer do? Many have accused the President of using the flag controversy as a diversification for more pressing topics like the threat of North Korea or the failure of healthcare initiative and as a political matter that may be true. But it does not change the inherent significance of what you just watched last night at the games. Because, when our elites attack our national symbols as if they are worthless and loathe some. Something important, something monumental has changed here. If the people who benefitted most from America despise it and increasingly they do, where does that leave the rest of us?

(....)

CARLSON: Well, everything in America must be about racial politics now. So, it's no surprise that CNN's Brian Stelter and Jim Acosta were both wildly speculating that Donald Trump doesn't really care about the flag and the national anthem and our civic symbols instead he is just a racist.

(....)

CARLSON: Larger question of course is how did Jim Acosta wind up on television. But in the meantime, some of smaller questions with Joe Concha who writes about the media for The Hill and joins us tonight. Look, if you are a reporter, you probably ought not to be speculating about people's motives because aren't they fundamentally unknowable? Like how could Jim Acosta know what the President means?

JOE CONCHA: Can I answer osmosis on that? Because you could look at all of President Trump's tweets on this topic and it's all out there, race is not broached once. He has also verbally talked about this as well and you don't see race broached anywhere. But since we have again, reporters and pundits that last month were playing mental health officials when it comes to analyzing the President's sanity, now apparently we are reading minds as well as far as that goes. But just to answer, Mr. Acosta when he said, why weren't there are any angry tweets at Tom Brady when he didn't show up at the White House for that celebration, Brady's mother has cancer and Tom wanted to spend time with her at that time. That's why he couldn't go and that's why the President didn't respond but Jim Acosta doesn't report that.

(....)

CONCHA: Well, there appears to be this tick with our political media that all the time we insert a racial component to stories that don't warrant them whatsoever. And let me give you another example with another story. Brian Fallon is a former press secretary or spokesperson for Hillary Clinton. He is now a political analyst for CNN. And he tweeted and I asked your producers to put this up because I want to make this an educational experience. This is what Brian Fallon tweeted out today: “Trump's racist neglect of Puerto Rico is threatening lives. It's time to start carrying about the crisis there.” So, that's what they are dealing with now. That when a hurricane hits a U.S. territory and we responded, I think, pretty well like we did with Harvey and Irma, it's racism that's working its way into this.

(....)

CONCHA: The Dallas Cowboys wanted to wear a decal, little one on their helmets to honor the Dallas Police Department with the Dallas Police Department logo and the NFL said no, you can't do that and when DeAngelo Williams are running back, want to wear pink cleats for the entire season because he wanted to honor his mother because she died of breast cancer. The NFL said, no, no, no, you can only do that when we are running our campaign in October and when Avery Williamson wanted to wear 9/11 cleats, that he made himself red, white and blue stars very fashionable. The NFL said no you can't utter 9/11 victims. So, the NFL seems to be picking and choosing it spots here in terms of what kind of free speech you can have and when. But overall, Tucker, I talked to a lot of people yesterday. I was out and about. I didn't put a microphone on their face, just conversations. The sentiment on the ground is that people agree with the President on this one. They don't necessarily agree with the way he presented himself. Because instead of saying, sons of bitches and so on. But it completely contrasts what we saw in the media bubble and not just cable news but on ESPN's sports media which was universal condemnation of Trump. This is like the 2016 election. The conditions on the ground of what people feel is completely different than what people are thinking in New York and Washington.

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