National punch line and Daily Caller founder Tucker Carlson may have a feud with MSNBC host Keith Olbermann, but they do have one thing in common: a strong dislike for Carlson's Fox News colleague Bill O'Reilly.
Carlson, who joined Fox News in May 2009, has called O'Reilly a “thin-skinned blowhard” and a “humorless phony” who talks “about himself so goddamn much,” and said of The O'Reilly Factor: “I don't know who would want to watch that shit. Do you?” Carlson has also criticized O'Reilly's Fox News colleagues for tolerating him, remarking that “Only masochists would go on his show--or watch it” and “network handlers” flatter O'Reilly's ego too much.
According to a Nexis search*, Carlson does not appear to have been a guest on O'Reilly's program since joining Fox News.
As previously documented, Carlson -- a noted hypocrite -- repeatedly slammed Fox News before joining the network. In 2003, Salon.com asked him if he could see himself working for Fox News and Carlson 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. CNN USA, our domestic network, doesn't carry a lot of foreign news. But it's a great organization.”
Carlson has also reportedly called Fox News “a mean, sick group of people.”
But Carlson has reserved some of his hardest jabs for O'Reilly. A sampling:
“Only masochists would go on his show--or watch it.” From a February 12, 2001, Newsweek article:
The chattering classes dismiss O'Reilly as a fake, and they accuse Fox News of shilling for the political right. Tucker Carlson, the conservative, bow-tied talking head on CNN's “The Spin Room,” declared, “Only masochists would go on his show--or watch it. I hate to say it because it sounds snobby, but I don't know anyone who's read his book.”
O'Reilly is “a thin-skinned blowhard” and a “humorless phony” who hosts a “shit” show. From a September 2003 Salon.com interview:
What about the Fox suit against Al Franken, which it appears O'Reilly was a big part of? Does that come close?
Yeah, but I'm not sure how much that hurts him. 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.
But no, I have a lot of respect for Bill O'Reilly's talents. TV is a very democratic medium, and people succeed for a reason, and almost always that reason is that they're talented. And he is much more talented than I am. However, I don't know who would want to watch that shit. Do you?
Not entirely, no.
Do you watch it?
Sometimes, to see what he's doing.
That guy has no sense of humor about himself. At all.
So when you went into television, who were you trying to emulate, since it clearly wasn't O'Reilly?
Of course I wouldn't want to emulate O'Reilly. I think he's a humorless phony.
An “O'Reilly-esque tactic” is to dishonestly cry censorship. From a July 12, 2004, Arizona Republic article:
Carlson, here to promote his PBS talk show Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered, was asked whether Moore should have been allowed to make a documentary as scathing as Fahrenheit 9/11. Yes, it sounds ridiculous, questioning whether Moore should be allowed to enjoy a basic First Amendment right, but we critics are easily amused. Besides, some conservatives don't seem to think Moore should. Carlson, ever the talking head, took the bait.
“That is an O'Reilly-esque tactic -- 'They're trying to censor me!' ” he said, referring to Bill O'Reilly, host of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor (for whom he has no love, but more on that later). “No one is trying to censor you. People are saying your movie is crap. Which it is, in my view.”
Carlson: No one at Fox News calls out O'Reilly on talking about himself “so goddamn much.” From Page 52 of Carlson's Politicians, Partisans, and Parasites: My Adventures in Cable News:
“Self-aggrandizing” O'Reilly puts on straw men and “I have no respect for that.” From a July 12, 2004, Arizona Republic article:
What was surprising was Carlson's ire for O'Reilly, who claims the middle of the road but is widely considered a conservative. Guess they don't all hole up together and plot secret plans to lower taxes and arm schoolchildren and such after all.
“In the case of Bill O'Reilly, you have a host who puts on straw men opposite him,” Carlson said. "He'll have someone on who disagrees with him but who really is a caricature, who is ludicrous, self-evidently ludicrous, you know, some member of the Klan who is mentally retarded. Well, come on. And his presence will allow the host to say, 'That's wrong! That's just wrong!'
“It's self-aggrandizing on the part of the host. I have no respect for that.”
Carlson to Jon Stewart: “Tell us, what do you think about the Bill O'Reilly vibrator story?” From the October 15, 2004, edition of CNN's Crossfire:
CARLSON: Welcome back to CROSSFIRE.
We're talking to Jon Stewart, who was just lecturing us on our moral inferiority.
Jon, you're bumming us out. Tell us, what do you think about the Bill O'Reilly vibrator story?
STEWART: I'm sorry. I don't.
CARLSON: Oh, OK.
Carlson on O'Reilly's desire to "[l]evel" Fallujah: “This is what happens when cable news does foreign policy.” As Media Matters noted in August 2006:
During his “Beat the Press” segment on the July 31 editions of MSNBC's Tucker and Scarborough Country, MSNBC host Tucker Carlson highlighted Fox News host Bill O'Reilly's comments made on the July 26 broadcast of Westwood One's The Radio Factor, which Media Matters for America documented on July 28. O'Reilly declared that "[t]he reason we're not winning in Iraq" is that the United States is “not tough enough” to take actions like “level[ing] Fallujah ... and blow[ing] the hell out of it," moments before announcing, “You're not gonna win the war being macho.” Carlson described O'Reilly's solution in Iraq as follows: "[J]ust level it, turn it into a parking lot, an ice rink, just kill everybody, knock every building down, pulverize it to dust! On the other hand, macho solutions are no solutions." Carlson concluded: “This is what happens when cable news does foreign policy. Bill O'Reilly, he's an intellectual.”
While on MSNBC, Carlson also blasted O'Reilly for remarks about an 18-year old woman who was raped and murdered in New York City
O'Reilly is no fan of Carlson, either. In his book, A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity, O'Reilly wrote that Carlson is an unsuccessful TV commentator who's bad at dancing:
*Nexis search: “Guests” search of “Tucker Carlson” and “Byline” search of “Tucker Carlson.”