A Mystery Shrouded in an Enigma Wrapped in a Snazzy Tie and Smothered in Inherited Wealth

Photo by Gage Skidmore via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Perhaps your answer to the question “Would you like to read 7,000 words about Tucker Carlson?” is, like mine, “What did I ever to do you?” If that’s the case, we are both wrong: I refer to you the Columbia Journalism Review, where Lyz Lenz‘s interview-slash-profile-slash-philosophical inquiry into the “why” of Carlson is a rollicking good (and infuriating) time and a pointed look at how badly people who are manifestly winning — at politics, at finance, at life — still want to claim they’re underdogs.

Yet Carlson insists he, too, was motivated only by the needs of a growing family. He maintains that if someone handed him $5 million he wouldn’t have gotten out of bed. (And he’d be easy to believe, if he wasn’t, in fact, worth over $8 million, and hadn’t himself stood to inherit enough to keep him in a rotating series of beds until retirement.)

But it’s the story he’s sticking to. He had to do what he had to do. He didn’t have a choice. He has kids. DC has terrible public schools. His hands were tied. So, in addition to his staff positions, he took freelance jobs. He didn’t want to disappoint his family.

“I think this is true of almost everybody unless you happen to inherit a bunch of dough at a young age.” Carlson sounds cavalier as he says this, like the plight of sending kids to a private school in DC is the most relatable thing in history. I wonder about my own career in media. If providing for my kids was my only goal, I’d be back in my marketing job. Which reminds me, I need to check my bank account to make sure I can afford back-to-school shoes and after-school care.

I wonder which one of us is supposed to be the liberal elite media.

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