Fox News host Tucker Carlson wants to warn America that there's "something ominous happening to men." In a new recurring weekly segment that kicked off Wednesday, Carlson introduced his intention to explore what he sees as a current "crisis" for men. That Carlson's "Men in America" began airing during Women's History Month was neither addressed nor explained, an intentional choice that probably won't surprise detractors — or supporters, for that matter — of Carlson. Bustle has reached out to Fox News for comment.
Carlson began the segment with a list of facts intended to outline how men are struggling in 21st-century America. The host noted that most middle-aged men will know "at least one" male peer who has committed suicide. He pointed out that all the mass shooters in recent years have been males. The average wage for a man without a college degree had fallen by 20 percent for men between 1979 and 2010.
But most of Carlson's concerns about how men are faring came tied to comparisons to women. (Important but perhaps not shocking note: The #MeToo movement never came up, and Carlson called the wage gap a "meaningless" number.)
He observed that fathers might notice their "daughter's friends seem a little more on the ball than your son's," getting better grades, smoking less pot, and going to "more prestigious schools." One of five boys in high school has been diagnosed with a hyperactivity disorder; only one in 11 girls are in the same boat.
Carlson goes on to note that "female employees show up on time; young men often don't." Men make up 90 percent of the prison population. Carlson points out suicide disproportionately affects men, especially white and Native American men, though he left the latter (whom he referred to as "American Indian") off the accompanying bullet-pointed slide.
The list doesn't stop there. In graduate schools, women now "decisively" outnumber men. Single women are purchasing homes at double the rate of single men. A full 7 million working-age men are currently not working, and half of them are taking some form of pain medication every single day. As Carlson notes, that represents "the highest rate in the world by far."
It does indeed sound like something "ominous" is happening to men. But for anyone familiar with Carlson, his approach to these trends — including such behavioral issues like tardiness in the workplace and addiction to pain medication — differs starkly from what one might expect from the man who has taken a hardline stance arguing for personal responsibility in the past.
There was no pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps message to the American men out there. Rather, Carlson came at the dismal statistics with nothing short of what seemed like genuine compassion.
Carlson continued to juxtapose statistics of male struggles alongside critiques of female-centered progress. After noting they couldn't find a single NIH-funded study looking into the dropping rates of testosterone among American men, Carlson said they did find one entitled: "Pubic hair grooming prevalence and motivation among American women.” He punctuated the supposed absurdity of this with his signature look of bafflement-by-way-of-disdain. (Neither did he clarify how such a study turned up in a search for dropping rates of male testosterone.)
According to Carlson, the main message from society is: "Women are victims, men are oppressors." He argues that to question that assumption is to "risk punishment." It's worth remembering Carlson does not explore, or even mention, the circumstances that have resulted in this (in his view) widespread belief.
But his guest, Jordan Peterson, does allude to them. According to the Canadian psychologist, the notion that men oppress women "is part of an ideological worldview that sees the entire history of mankind as the oppression of women by men.” Peterson vehemently disagrees with this view of history, calling it a "dreadful way of looking at the world." Peterson also advises parents to pull their children out of schools where they're using words like "equity," "privilege," "diversity," and "inclusive."
The segment ends with both men agreeing that this might result in the end of public schools. Peterson quips, "That would be just fine."
Carlson's "Men In America" series will air again next week, while Women's History Month continues on, unacknowledged and, apparently in Carlson's view, not only irrelevant, but perhaps part of the problem.