Fishing for the truth.

Over the weekend, Fox News’ Tucker Carlson was in Dan Bailey’s fly fishing shop in Livingston, Montana, undoubtedly looking for the perfect spruce moth or trico with which to land a story-worthy rainbow trout in one of the state’s glistening rivers. According to NBC News, an individual walked into the store and berated the prime-time cable ratings leader, calling him the “worst human being known to man.”

Regardless of your opinions of Mr. Carlson, political or otherwise, I agree with the Fox News spokesperson who said that “ambushing” Carlson while he was shopping at the store was “totally inexcusable.”

The man doesn’t seem to realize that Mr. Carlson is simply a $6-million-per-year beneficiary of the multi-billion dollar prime-time crisis industry. And he’s not alone. In fact, among his peers, including Rachel Maddow, Sean Hannity, Don Lemon, Chris Cuomo, and Laura Ingram, Carlson is among the lower-paid talking heads in prime-time cable.

If I had been in that shop yesterday, I would have asked Carlson to join me at the Mint Bar and Grill a few doors down for some of their heavenly huevos rancheros. After ordering, I would have asked Mr Carlson what it’s like to be in a business where the only way to keep his customers (viewers) is to keep them angry. What is it like to sign off for the evening and say, “okay team, do you think they’re pissed off enough to join us again tomorrow night?” What is that doing to our society over the long term?

No penalties for not checking facts. No regrets for twisting the truth. Which is why, personally, I’d never believe the size of a fish claimed to be caught by a prime-time cable personality. And why I don’t waste my time watching their shows.

  • TEST YOUR CABLE OPINION PERSONALITY KNOWLEDGE: Who is currently the highest paid prime-time cable personality?

WHAT I’M READING

I thought it was just my kids, but as I asked around, it was clear everyone felt the same: 2020 (and some of 2021?) was a lost year for education at all levels. One stat: 70% of teens reported communicating less frequently with teachers since the start of the pandemic. Returning to normalcy is going to be a process of transition — starting with early preparation and consistency. Pandemic has teens feeling worried, unmotivated and disconnected from school — Qrius — July 24, 2021

Productivity for productivity’s sake, which seemed to peak in the last decade, is going to wane, driven by our post-pandemic rethinking of what work is and what it means. “Dealing with such micro-seasons, and paying attention to them, can keep us alert to the world around us, and our passing through it. Empty time feels less of waste when seen from the perspective of nature’s motions.” Japan’s 72 seasons can liberate us from our obsession with productivity — Quartz — July 26, 2021

YOU WON’T READ THIS ANYWHERE ELSE

A controversial but important perspective from science writer John Tierny on what he calls the “crisis crisis” amplified during the pandemic. “It’s a longstanding problem — humanity was supposedly doomed in the last century by the “population crisis” and the “energy crisis” — that has dramatically worsened with the cable and digital competition for ratings, clicks, and retweets.” The Panic Pandemic — City Journal — Summer, 2021

  • TEST YOUR COVID KNOWLEDGE: Which state had the lowest age adjusted Covid-19 mortality rate, as of June, 2021?

WHAT’S HAPPENING AT TURBINE LABS

Executives are recognizing the importance of re-establishing connections and re-nurturing their networks, impacted as a result of our inability to meet, travel, or connect in-person during the pandemic. A rapidly growing use case for Turbine Labs customers is the “Thought Leadership Digest,” a weekly or monthly letter from an executive, which is then processed through our AI-powered platform to find compelling news and commentary validating the though-leadership piece. Sign up for a demo from one of our Blades to see how it works in action.

TRIVIA ANSWERS

  • Sean Hannity is reportedly the highest paid cable TV personality, earning an annual salary of $40 million. (TheStreet)
  • Florida had the lowest age-adjusted mortality rate from Covid-19, with 136 deaths per 100,000 residents. New York had the highest, with 267 per 100,000. (CDC)

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Founder/CEO of Turbine Labs. I write about information access, overload, and bias, as well as our AI-powered software. (turbinelabs.com / @turbinelabs)