"We have to fight for the colorblind meritocracy, for real. I mean, our lives depend on meritocracy," Fox News host Tucker Carlson said Wednesday on "Tucker Carlson Tonight."
Carlson was referencing United Airlines' Tuesday statement that it plans for 50 percent of the pilots it trains over the next decade to be women and racial minorities.
"No one cares about the external characteristics of anyone involved in a safety occupation. You simply care about: can they do their job and are they the best?" attorney and former air traffic controller Michael Pearson told Carlson. "Not only [is United] endangering the safety of people; they are reducing the incentive for people to achieve."
Below is a full transcript of “Tucker Carlson Tonight:”
Tucker Carlson: "Michael Pearson is an attorney, he is a former air traffic controller who has followed this subject very closely and we are very happy to have him on tonight. Mr. Pearson, thank you for coming on.
Michael Pearson: "Happy to be here, Tucker."
Carlson: "I don’t think anybody watching this cares at all what their airline pilot looks like or has a problem with airline pilots who don’t look like them or thinks that, you know, people who don’t look like them can’t fly airplanes; that’s insane, nobody thinks that. Everybody’s worried about the safety of air travel, however. How is this going to make air travel safer?"
Pearson: "It’s not going to make air travel safer; it’s a non-sequitur, what you said. No one cares about the external characteristics of anyone involved in a safety occupation. You simply care about: can they do their job and are they the best? And this is nothing more than a very transparent attempt by United in this game of corporate one-upsmanship. The ugly specter of political correctness has invaded every area of our society and now it's invading or infecting areas that should be sacrosanct. Your surgeon -- doesn't matter what color your surgeon is, doesn't matter what color your air traffic controller is, it doesn’t matter what color your pilot is. There are members of all races and ethnicities that have the qualifications to be the best. Our society is based upon meritocracy and achieving the best. Not only are they endangering the safety of people; they are reducing the incentive for people to achieve. And when you look at that from a long-term basis, especially in any safety occupation, whether its medicine, whether its air traffic control, or whether it’s flying an airplane, as we’ve been discussing the last 4-5 minutes, it’s absolutely insane to pander to the PC culture."
Carlson: "Because anytime you take your eye off the goal, you supplant the goal with a new goal. So your goal when you’re flying an airplane should be to land it safely. I mean, I'm not a pilot; you tell me. Isn't that the goal? Is there another goal? Should there be?"
Pearson: "There is no other goal. In fact, every one of these airlines have a mandate for safety: they put it out, they publicize it, you can hop on any website. Ironically, I looked at United’s website this morning, actually, not in preparation for this show. I actually got an email from United talking about this policy. First thing I did was hop on their website: 20 percent of their board of directors are women, not 50 percent; 30 percent of their officers, 30 percent are women; less percentages for diversity. So while at the very top, United was populated by white males, they are looking to actually infuse the workforce with people based not upon their capabilities and qualifications, but based upon the way they look. It’s exceedingly dangerous; frankly, I think it is against the law. There’s a regulation out there that says airlines cannot engage in any form of discrimination and it is not preempted by the ADA. By the way, don’t want to get too far off topic, but there’s all kinds of reasons, not only practical, that this offends anyone's sense of justice and fair play. It actually affects anyone who flies, except the elites, who can hire whoever they want to be a pilot and fly them around in a private jet. This affects everybody and people ought to be concerned about it."
Tucker: "Yeah, I mean, I don’t care if a hundred percent of pilots are transgender Sumatrans, as long as they're the best. And quickly, since you’ve spent so much time involved in the degradation of standards of the FAA, do you believe United when they just say 'we’re just enlarging the pool. Yes, we have affirmative action quotas, but we're not going to lower our standards.' Do you believe that?
Pearson: "No, not at all. In fact, United bought a flight academy called West Wind Flight Academy. They changed the name of it; it’s here in Phoenix, Arizona. They still charge students between $70 and 87,000 a year to go and finish the program. United set aside $1.2 million for scholarships; that means of the 2,500 they want to hire of a diverse population, they are going to pay for 17 of those. Now, United also got somewhere around $5 billion in federal bailout money. That’s - doing the math as I literally sit here -- I think that’s less than two-tenths of one percent of the funds are going toward helping diverse populations. In either event, there are people of all colors, both genders certainly, that have the capabilities to be the best. This consistent and constant pandering affects us all and it needs to stop."
Carlson: "We have to fight for the colorblind meritocracy, for real. I mean, our lives depend on meritocracy."
Pearson: "Yes, we do. Our lives depend -- I totally agree with you, Tucker."
Carlson: "Michael Pearson, I appreciate you coming on."
Pearson: "Nice talking with you again, Tucker; have a nice night."