May 08, 2005

Tucker Carlson: Showing His Ignorance

Earlier today on Chris Matthews' eponymously titled network show, the talk turned to immigration. Tucker Carlson insisted that this was a very popular issue with the public, which may be true in certain respects, but then he used the British election as an example to prove his point. He went so far as to claim that the Tory gains were aided in part to their anti-immigration stance, and that this had helped them against "the relatively popular prime minister."

Fortunately, he wasn't sitting on a panel of entirely numb American journalists. Katty Kay of the BBC corrected immediately that Blair was in fact "relatively UNpopular."

I haven't read as many articles on the British election as some people, and it wasn't exactly a cliffhanger. But every single article I read about it, every single one that I can recall, alluded at least in some part to the fact that Blair's unpopularity cost his party seats. The key issue given credit for this in any overview I've seen has been Iraq, and further proof of dishonesty regarding the intelligence that made the case for the war. It was said over and over that Labour would have done better with Brown than with Blair, and as far as I can tell, Brown doesn't sound like he's to Blair's right.

Help me out here, but is there any other credible overview of Britain's election? Every society, including the UK, includes people who aren't keen on having more immigrants. But as Kay said, even when the Tories talked about it, they were using "dog whistle politics;" keying certain messages to certain voters, but not to others. That's not something you do with overwhelmingly popular issues.

Finally, if a British voter were very concerned about immigration, is it likely that they'd be a swing voter? Just as in the US, where people for whom that's an important issue mostly vote Republican, I imagine that the Tories have long had the anti-immigration vote in the bag for obvious reasons.

Could Carlson have picked an example of his point that was more false on its face? Well, maybe. This is Tucker Carlson, after all, and he has powers of obtusity not granted to ordinary mortals.

Posted by natasha at May 8, 2005 11:36 PM | Media | Technorati links |