Tucker Carlson's Michael Vick Comment Unfair, Unbalanced
And no entity has been more responsible for the decline in civility than television. Every perceived slight, every misstep, every wrong move ends up on an E! "True Hollywood Story" or in the crucible of a panel of chuckle-headed commentators, each braying more loudly than the next.
Tucker Carlson has been a member of the chattering class for quite some time, taking his trademarked bow-tie from a spot on the late and unlamented "Crossfire" on CNN to MSNBC. Carlson has relocated to the FOX News Channel where he was guest-hosting something called the "Great American Panel."
It was from there that Carlson opined Tuesday that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick should have been executed for killing dogs and for orchestrating dog fights.
Take a moment and let that one roll around the noggin. A guy who had never previously been seriously involved in a major crime should lose his life for killing animals. And this came from the mouth of a man who, in delivering that fireball, declared himself to be a Christian.
OK, I entirely get that the name of the game in television nowadays is to ratchet up the level of outrage past the next pundit. Our opponents, politically or athletically, aren't just our opponents. They are evil scum, unworthy of our respect or consideration, much less our compassion.
And Vick's crimes were particularly heinous, no doubt. His conduct was reprehensible and, yes, indefensible, and nothing in this space should be construed as an explanation or an excuse.
But Vick has paid society's accepted penalty for his conduct with a jail term, not to mention the forfeiture of millions of dollars and the shame of knowing that his cruelty to defenseless animals will blot his biography for the rest of his life, no matter how many Super Bowl rings he might win.
And, to be sure, as a rock-ribbed conservative, Carlson's target was as much President Obama and his phone call to Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie to thank him for standing behind Vick and giving him a second chance, as it was Vick himself.
But Carlson's verbiage was over the top, and went further than even the most ardent member of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. And spare me the mock outrage at politically correctness run amok. Even if you assume that Carlson was using hyperbole, there are times when what someone says, even in the name of making a perfectly legitimate point, goes so far as to warrant a sanction.
In this case, the sanction shouldn't be Carlson's life. Just his job.