Ahead of Tucker Carlson’s Fox Rise, Jon Stewart Rips Him Live on CNN

Nearly two decades ago, before he became the host of a top-rated show on cable news and one of the most influential voices in conservative media, Tucker Carlson could only give a half-smile and a wry laugh when Jon Stewart accused him of being a d—. — who “affects” the country.

Carlson, later known for wearing a bow tie and his media presence on PBS and New York magazine, was one of a rotating cast of liberals and conservatives on CNN’s “Crossfire.” Left and right it often became an overblown debate. So when Stewart appeared on “Crossfire” in October 2004 to help promote his new book, the comedian, not shy about his disdain for the show, confronted Carlson and co-host Paul Begala, who believed Stewart was “partisan hacks.” Sowing section every afternoon.

“It’s not that much [the show’s] It’s as bad as hurting America,” Stewart told Carlson and Begala.

Carlson tried to interrupt Stewart, but the comedian stopped him and continued: “Here’s what I wanted to say to you: Stop. Stop, stop, stop hurting America.” Stewart added, “You have a responsibility to public discourse, and you’ve failed miserably.”

Later, as the segment continued, Carlson quipped that Stewart, who hosted Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” was “very funny on your show, just my opinion.” What happened next would be a turning point in the early part of Carlson’s television career.

“You know what’s interesting though?” Stewart replied. “You’re as big on your show as you are on any show.”

The exchange with Stewart follows Carlson, who has seen the Trump years go from conservative talking head to face of Fox News with canceled shows on CNN and MSNBC. That changed Monday, when Fox announced it had dropped Carlson in a sudden and surprising firing, less than a week after the network settled a defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems.

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Tucker Carlson quit Fox News after Dominion lawsuit revelations

Dominion sued Fox for airing false claims that it conspired to rig the 2020 presidential election — resulting in a historic $787.5 million defamation settlement — including Carlson’s private messages among thousands of internal communications. The lawsuit angered and embarrassed Fox and increased the company’s legal risk. Allegations surrounding Carlson’s employee culture and comments about his Fox colleagues, partially revealed in the Dominion lawsuit, are believed to have played a role in his abrupt departure from the network.

Carlson has not commented publicly 24 hours after his firing was announced. Former President Donald Trump said he was “shocked” by Carlson’s firing, while Fox News anchors such as Sean Hannity clarified that his former colleague’s firing would not be discussed on air: “We’re not talking about Tucker.”

Jimmy Kimmel, Desi Lidick, Jimmy Fallon and other comedians poke fun at Tucker Carlson’s split with Fox News on April 24. (Video: Julie Yoon/The Washington Post)

But as his firing dominated headlines and social media, some shared a video of Carlson meeting Stewart, which came out at a time when Carlson had no platform or influence in Republican politics in 2023.

In 2000, Carlson landed a job as a columnist at CNN, and his work has appeared in outlets such as the Weekly Standard, New York, and Reader’s Digest. Talk magazine featured Republican presidential candidate George W. In a 1999 interview with Bush, Carlson drew praise for the Texas governor, who frequently used the F-word and mocked a female death row inmate who had been executed in Bush’s home state.

Carlson admitted in a 1999 profile to The Washington Post that he identified as arrogant and combative, but said he acted that way on purpose.

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“I can be nasty, and most of the time being nasty is a good thing,” Carlson said from his Weekly Standard office. “A lot of people deserve it. But cutting or being cruel for no reason is bad.

1999 From: The Opinionated Journalist

After a short-lived run co-hosting “The Spin Room,” Carlson was named one of the co-hosts of “Crossfire,” which enjoyed success in CNN’s early years before moving to an afternoon slot. allotted time. Despite being called a “conservative wunderkind” by Variety, Carlson couldn’t help a show that suffered in the ratings. One of his notable interviews came in 2003 when Carlson got Britney Spears to say she supported and believed in Bush’s involvement in the Iraq war.

But that changed on October 15, 2004. Democratic presidential candidate John F. After Carlson asked Stewart if Kerry was the best for America, the comedian took the conversation in a different direction — and one directed at “Crossfire.”

“I made a special effort to come on the show today because I’ve mentioned, personally, to my friends and from time to time in newspapers and on television, that this show is a bad university,” Stewart said, drawing laughter from the live audience at the George Washington.

During the episode, Stewart and Carlson went back and forth in a conversation that was funny and at times awkward. Carlson questioned Stewart’s interview with Kerry, describing the fake reporter as a “butt boy” for the Democratic nominee. Stewart laughed at Carlson for comparing “The Daily Show” to “Crossfire,” an accurate description of the Comedy Central show’s lead “Crank Yankers.”

Stewart later accused Carlson and Pegala of failing miserably at their jobs.

“You should get a job at a journalism school,” Carlson replied.

Stewart replied, “You have to go somewhere.”

Carlson tried to make Stewart as funny as he was on his nightly show.

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“I thought you’d have fun. Come on, have fun,” said Carlson.

“No,” replied Stewart. “I’m not going to be your monkey.”

When Stewart called Carlson an area of ​​the male anatomy before the commercial break, Carlson smiled and laughed: “Now you’re getting down to it. I like that.”

In 2015, Pegala recalled how excited he was to have Stewart on the show and how the co-host’s wife, Diane, was intrigued.

“By the time Stuart finished disemboweling my show, I hoped she wasn’t watching,” Pegala wrote. CNN.

The back-and-forth between Carlson and Stewart made headlines in what The Post and other outlets described as “a fight.” Three months later, a major fallout occurred: CNN canceled “Crossfire” in January 2005 and severed ties with Carlson. Jonathan Klein, then president of CNN, cited Stewart’s appearance on “Crossfire” as part of why Carlson was fired. The New York Times“I wholeheartedly agree with Jon Stewart’s overall premise.”

“There are outlets for the show that Tucker wants to do, and CNN is not going to be one of them,” Klein said at the time.

“Months before Jon Stewart came on our show, I wasn’t prejudiced and in some ways thought it was a pointless conversation,” Carlson said. The insider.

However, the moment followed Carlson “Dancing with the starsPundit was cut in the first round of the show’s third season in 2006, and on MSNBC in 2008, when his show was canceled after less than three years.

When Carlson agreed to become a paid contributor at Fox in May 2009, he was seeking stability at his third cable news network in four years. Carlson was about to turn 40, and he said he finally believed Fox was the place for him times.

“I do what they want me to do,” Carlson said.

Jeremy Barr and Sarah Ellison contributed to this report.

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