How Much Would It Take For You to Shill Like Tucker Carlson?

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My husband and I landed on a number—and discovered some surprising revelations.

How much would it take for you to publicly pledge allegiance to a man you privately loathe? Not just once, but night after night, in a pair of stale khaki pants? Really think about it: How much would it take for you to sell out, knowing full well your own lies convince others to live in delusion? 

I posed the question in a newsletter this week upon learning that Tucker Carlson, a man who reportedly rakes in somewhere between $10 to $35 million a year, privately fumes about hating Donald Trump “passionately,” despite Carlson playing one of the most prominent MAGA diehards on television.

Now, we’d all like to believe that we’re above such moral depravity. And so, as expected, most of our readers responded with a version of “there isn’t enough money in the world.” A sampling: “There’s not enough money on this planet”; “No amount of money”; “NO AMOUNT OF MONEY”; “No price”; “There aren’t enough jewels, there isn’t enough money or real estate in the universe.”  

Others seemed to take blood oaths against such an act. “I would rather be put in front of a firing squad,” one reader said. Others imagined taking the money, then using it for good: “It would take all the wealth of the world which I would then redistribute to every single soul on this earth equally.”

But I appreciated those who did name a price. “10 million per year,” Doug said in a simple one-liner.

Fair enough. But I still know myself: I’m a woman in a deeply capitalist society where childcare can cost twice as much as a mortgage, my 401K has taken some recent hits, and I love martinis. So, the next morning, upon mindlessly chattering to my husband about the Carlson texts, the conversation took an unexpected turn: Well, so how much would it take for us?

As it happened, we were on hold with His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the United Kingdom’s version of the Internal Revenue Service, in order to finally get a sizable payment returned to our account after having left the UK two years ago. Which is to say, money was on the mind. I began to do some math.

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