Fox News host Tucker Carlson gutted New York Times columnist Ben Smith during a fiery interview when the former Buzzfeed editor-in-chief accused Carlson of basically being a racist and having white supremacists on his staff.
The exchange occurred during a pre-launch event for Smith’s new media company Semafor which officially kicks off in October. It was a remote interview that lasted about 20 minutes with the conservative pundit.
Carlson was slated to speak on the future of journalism but Smith seemed to have a “gotcha” moment in mind instead. The contentious interview went off the rails right from the beginning. It really went downhill after Smith intimated that Tucker Carlson was a white supremacist.
When Smith asked Carlson about having white supremacists on his staff, the Fox News host hammered him for it.
WATCH: Former New York Times journalist spends 10 minutes trying to call Tucker Carlson a racist.
It doesn't go well. pic.twitter.com/stg5MQ0h99
— Townhall.com (@townhallcom) July 7, 2022
“I’ve never had a white supremacist work for me. I don’t think I’ve ever talked to a white supremacist,” Carlson heatedly stated. “I’m not sure what that means. I know it’s a slur and the worst thing that a person can be. I don’t really understand the terms.”
Smith asked Carlson about his support of “Replacement Theory,” attempting to tie that premise to racism and the Fox News host was having none of it.
“I’m not suggesting some straight line between words and actions,” Smith stated. “But it is a phrase that has been used by mass shooters. I wonder if you don’t have any regret popularizing that?”
“This is why you are considered, correctly, a propagandist and not a journalist,” Carlson told Smith, neatly devastating him in one fell swoop. “Because I just explained in detail with total sincerity what I believe. You ignored it and invoked mass shooters.”
“I have no empathy for people who derive their judgments about anything from 30-second clips on Media Matters,” Carlson said, taking another well-deserved jab at Smith.
“Why have you been flypaper for racists?” Smith asked Carlson at one point during the interview on Thursday.
“I believe that people are not defined by their race, any race,” Carlson commented. “People are defined, their value is derived from the fact that they were, A, created by God, and, B, by what they do, by the choices they make. They’re not part of some larger group, they’re individuals. I believe in the individual, and I say that virtually every night.”
The NYT journalist said he “doesn’t want to fight about labels” after spending 5 minutes trying to Label Tucker, a white supremacist. This interview borders on being unwatchable.
— Tarah Price (@tarahtalk) July 8, 2022
Oh this is great. This “journalist” was so uncomfortable. I love it when they actually believe they are smarter than the person they interview
— Steph Avery (@GloriouslyDark) July 7, 2022
Basically, the guy is saying, Tucker, no matter what you say, it doesn’t matter because I don’t believe you, and I’m gonna paint the picture of you that I want to paint.
— Jim Budzynski (@jimUMfan) July 7, 2022
Smith, who is also a former writer for the New York Times, asked, “Do you think white people have more of a claim on America than other people of races do?”
“No, of course not,” Carlson responded.
“I think there are a lot of criticisms you can level at me. I think sometimes I overstate the case, I get pissed, I get nasty,” he admitted, asserting that the people that ticked him off were “well-educated white liberals” not “black people.”
We’re 8 minutes into @semaforben’s interview with Tucker Carlson and Carlson is steamrolling Ben.
It’s painful to watch. @semaforben is utterly unprepared. pic.twitter.com/Rdg8oU3s1f
— Nandini Jammi (@nandoodles) July 7, 2022
Smith also asked if he would be allowed to “go negative on Trump in any sustained way” without “clearing it” with Fox News. Carlson replied, “I don’t clear anything with anyone.”
“The fact that there’s only one TV channel in the entire country, a country of 350 million people, that allows actual free speech,” he noted, “and that’s the one that The New York Times, The Washington Post, or any of these other absurd organizations want to destroy, it tells you everything.”
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