Tucker Carlson is denouncing a Fox News Channel colleague, out host Shepard Smith, as partisan — while hypocritically claiming that he himself is not.
The on-air feud stems from coverage of Donald Trump’s recently revealed conversation with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky. A transcript of the conversation clearly shows Trump pressured Zelensky to have authorities investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter for possible corruption regarding Hunter’s work for a Ukrainian energy company, even though previous probes had show there was no wrongdoing on the Biden family’s part. The pressure came with a threat to withhold U.S. aid to Ukraine. The U.S. House of Representatives has launched an inquiry that could lead to Trump’s impeachment.
Fox’s senior judicial analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano, appeared on Smith’s show, Shepard Smith Reporting, Tuesday afternoon and said Trump’s request to Zelensky constituted a crime. Trump was seeking the help of a foreign government to aid his campaign, Napolitano said. Joe Biden is one of the top contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination to challenge Trump in 2020. Then Tuesday evening, former U.S. Attorney Joe diGenova, as a guest on Carlson’s show, Tucker Carlson Tonight, called Napolitano “a fool” for making that assertion.
Smith responded on his show Wednesday, saying Carlson had allowed a partisan guest — diGenova is a strong Trump supporter — to attack Napolitano without being challenged. “Attacking our colleague, who is here to offer legal assessments on our air in our work home, is repugnant,” Smith said. Napolitano returned to Smith’s show Wednesday and said he stands by his take on the Trump call, although he recognizes that other legal experts may disagree.
Carlson then lashed out at both Smith and Napolitano Wednesday night, when he had diGenova back on his show. “Well, apparently our daytime host who hosted Judge Napolitano was watching last night and was outraged by what you said and quite ironically called you partisan,” Carlson told diGenova.
Carlson also mocked Smith’s use of the word “repugnant.” “‘Repugnant,’” he said to diGenova. “Not clear if that was you or me, but someone is repugnant.” DiGenova acknowledged there can be differing legal opinions but said he’s the one who’s right, and he boasted that his legal credentials are superior to Napolitano’s. Carlson went on to contend that Smith acted as if Napolitano’s assertion that Trump committed a crime was the obvious conclusion. “That’s not news, is it?” Carlson said. “That’s opinion.”
Carlson additionally defended himself as objective, saying, “Now, unlike maybe some dayside hosts, I’m not very partisan.”
That statement is amazing given that Carlson regularly spews homophobic, transphobic, anti-immigrant, and racist rhetoric on his program — all talking points of the most right-wing Republicans — or supports guests who use such rhetoric. Smith, on the other hand, is regarded as one of the more evenhanded Fox personalities, although he’s willing to criticize Trump when necessary. And Napolitano is generally conservative but also is willing to call Trump out.
Take a look at video below, courtesy of Media Matters.