Tucker Carlson -- sporting a single Windsor knot -- took over hosting duties for Sean Hannity Friday night, suggesting that all the other possible Fox guest hosts were snowbound or we can expect to see more of Carlson on Fox.
Even though Carlson has said “I'm not a huge fan” of Fox, unfortunately for him, it's his last hope for relevance given that CNN and MSNBC have booted him.
Fox hired Carlson even after he seemingly had burned bridges with the network. First, while defending telemarketers on a Crossfire segment, Carlson said he'd give out his home phone number -- only it was the number to Fox's Washington bureau. Fox retaliated by publishing Carlson's unlisted home phone number. Carlson then reportedly called Fox “a mean, sick group of people.”
But that was nothing compared to the verbal smackdown he laid on Fox and Bill O'Reilly in a 2003 Salon interview.
Carlson was asked about the “demagoguery” that was “fueling a big part of the success of Fox.” Carlson responded: “I don't like partisanship because it abets lying. And I think you burn out fast when you demagogue.”
He was also asked if he could ever see himself working for Fox. He replied:
It's hard to imagine. CNN has been really nice to me. Also, I like foreign travel. And I'm always struck that if you're in Gambia, as I was this summer, or if you're in Peshawar, they're not watching Fox News Channel, they're watching CNN. I know it sounds trite, but I love the fact that CNN is engaged with the world.
Wonder how Carlson is adjusting to partisanship and demagoguery.
But Carlson was most critical of Fox's biggest star.
Carlson said that O'Reilly was talented and understands the medium, but said that “his shtick is a really dangerous one.”
It gets better.
Carlson went on to call O'Reilly a “humorless phony” and said of the Fox suit against Al Franken:
Yeah, but I'm not sure how much that hurts him [O'Reilly]. What did we learn about that? We learned that Bill O'Reilly is a thin-skinned blowhard? Well, I think we knew that. The potentially damaging charge -- that he's a liar -- now that is a big deal.
Of The O'Reily Factor, Carlson said: “I don't know who would want to watch that shit. Do you?”
Needless to say, it's unlikely Carlson will be taking over guest-hosting duties for O'Reilly anytime soon...