Media critic

On his Fox News program Thursday night, host Tucker Carlson denounced the alleged body slam visited upon Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs by Greg Gianforte, the Republican who won Montana’s sole congressional seat over Democrat Rob Quist. “Violence in politics is totally unacceptable. Period. Never allowed,” said Carlson. “What the candidate did [Wednesday night] — Gianforte — was wrong and Republicans ought to denounce him, as many have.”

Next topic, right?

No, this is “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” where every sin by the right, with a bit of enterprise, can be spun into a larger sin by the left. In all of cable television, there is perhaps no one more skilled at the rhetorical U-turn than Carlson. To wit: “America does face a threat of political violence. It does not come, by and large from baby boomer evangelicals in Montana. Nor does it come from President Trump, whatever his flaws,” said Thursday night. “The threat today comes from the progressive left and its growing enthusiasm for force as a political tool.”

Thereupon Carlson cited Teen Vogue writer Lauren Duca for tweeting something objectionable; people menacing Republican lawmakers; and Democratic Rep. Maxine Waters (Calif.) for “celebrating racial violence during the L.A. riots”; and a progressive activist who previously appeared on Carlson’s show and failed to denounce violence to Carlson’s standards.

With the theme thus established, Dana Loesch, a radio host and NRA spokesperson, joined Carlson with this opening thought: “You can believe two things simultaneously,” she told Carlson. “That Gianforte behaved wrongly. … You can believe that but you can also, Tucker, believe that the media in some respects is culpable.” Culpable, that is, for ignoring the “violent behavior of many on the progressive left.”

Well, thank goodness that Carlson detailed all that nastiness. That evens things out.

The Carlson-Loesch ideology, stripped of its tours of logic, boils down to what a Gianforte supporter said as the candidate presented his apology after his victory in the election:

A saner version of events was offered to Fox News viewers throughout the day. Alicia Acuna, a Fox News correspondent, witnessed the incident along with two colleagues. She did several reports on Thursday detailing how, in her view, Jacobs approached Gianforte with a recorder and an inquiry, touching off a rage that started with Gianforte grabbing the reporter by the neck, slamming him down and then punching him.

All for asking about health care, or for participating in a vast liberal-media conspiracy to suppress news of progressive violence — depending on your perspective.