Jim Acosta uses guilt by association against Andrew Yang

One of the things that fascinated me about conservative media when I first made the journey from Democrat to conservative was the fact that conservative media hosts enjoyed having leftists on their shows so that they could debate ideas. Having lived on a steady diet of NPR for years, this was a big change for me. Throughout the ’90s and early 2000s, NPR relied almost entirely on people who shared their views, with a few tame Republicans thrown in for “balance.” I found this conservative willingness to debate very attractive. Jim Acosta, however, does not. Instead, he roundly scolded Andrew Yang for daring to talk to Tucker Carlson.

I do not like Andrew Yang’s political ideas, as I made clear here. Nevertheless, because Yang is starting a new party that purports to be centrist (it’s not), he made a very wise decision to speak with the conservative media’s most popular host. Moreover, he treated both Tucker and Tucker’s audience with respect—as Tucker treated him with respect.

Indeed, Tucker often has people with different political views on his show, provided there’s at least some point of intersection with conservatives. Thus, Glen Greenwald, a leftist who nevertheless believes in the First Amendment and fears big government, is a regular. Likewise, Tucker had an extended conversation with Naomi Wolf, another hard leftist who also believes in the First Amendment and is worried about government overreach. Tucker’s conversations with these and other guests who don’t track his ideas perfectly are civil and interesting.

To CNN’s Jim Acosta, though, Yang tainted himself by fraternizing with the enemy:

CNN anchor Jim Acosta slammed Democratic politician Andrew Yang on Saturday afternoon for going on Tucker Carlson’s show because the Fox News host is ‘just a bad person’ and questioned Yang as to why he would even do it.

In his Tucker Carlson Today segment with the lightning-rod host, which aired on Wednesday night, Carlson praised the writings of Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, in what CNN called a ‘bizarre comment’.

Yang later sat down with Acosta, who seemed baffled at the former presidential candidate’s decision to go on Carlson’s show.

‘I mean Andrew I just have to ask. Tucker Carlson... Let’s just say he’s just a bad person and he represents so much of what is wrong in television news these days. You know this all too well.

‘He spouts off white nationalist talking points. So why would you even go on his show and why didn’t you go after him when he’s citing the Unabomber and talking just crazy stuff?’ Acosta asked.

If you’re wondering whether Tucker was announcing that it’s time we all following the Unabomber and blow up things, he was not. Instead, he said that, while Ted Kaczynski was a “bad person,” Kaczynski understood “the way systems work.” Said Tucker, “His argument is that large organizations over time morph into purely self-preservation projects. A big system, in the end, protects itself and that’s kind of all it does.” 

That is, indeed, an accurate analysis and one only must look at our federal government to realize that. What made Kaczynski different from Tucker or anyone else who opposes a government that’s gotten too big is that we are not mailing letter bombs. Even bad people can have smart insights. The problem is that the bad people use those insights in a crazed, violent manner.

As for those alleged “White nationalist” talking points, we all know that this is false. Tucker, without any racism towards those people pouring across our Southern border, objects to Biden’s open borders policy because it is a deliberate and illegal attempt to flood the country with future Democrat voters to overwhelm those Americans, of any race or creed, who don’t support the Democrats.

Yang refused to back down, telling Acosta,

‘We have to...try to take the temperature of the country down.

‘The only way to do that is to reach out to people where they are. You know Tucker commands a massive audience and if you wanted to try to build a unifying popular movement that does call attention to the fact that our system’s not working, really for anyone, you have to reach out. And that’s what I was doing on that show.’

By the way, I have an idea why Acosta finds the idea of facing off against a conservative so horrifying. One of the things I loved about Dennis Prager’s show was his statement, “I prefer clarity to agreement,” and he really meant that. Back in the early 2000s, when I was ferrying children around and listening to the radio in the car, every time a courageous leftist appeared on his show, Prager would politely force the guest to abandon slogans and platitudes and, instead, really hone in on their core principles.

Several times, this exercise ended with the guest saying to Prager something along the lines of, “You know what, I think I agree with you on that point.” And that’s why Acosta must do everything in his power to keep leftists from engaging in polite, long-form discussions with smart, principled conservatives.

Image: Acosta and Yang. YouTube screen grab.

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