Fox News host Tucker Carlson wants to end the speculation and rumors: He is not going to run for president. At least not in 2024.
“Oh, God, come on!” Carlson told the hosts of a conservative talk podcast named Ruthless. “That seems like a fun job!” [Laughter] “No! No!”
In response to their question about potential interest in the job, he responded, “I can’t think of any one whose life was improved … I guess if I was the last person on earth who could do it. But that seems pretty unlikely that I would be that guy — you know what I mean? … I’m a talk show host; I enjoy it.”
The aforementioned Fox Newser is also the focus of Ben Smith‘s latest New York Times media column: Tucker Carlson Calls Journalists ‘Animals.’ He’s Also Their Best Source.
Smith writes about Carlson being a consistent critic of major media outlets, while being “a great source” for many of the reporters who work for them.
Mr. Carlson, a proud traitor to the elite political class, spends his time when he’s not denouncing the liberal media trading gossip with them. He’s the go-to guy for sometimes-unflattering stories about Donald J. Trump and for coverage of the internal politics of Fox News (not to mention stories about Mr. Carlson himself). I won’t talk here about any off-the-record conversations I may have had with him. But 16 other journalists (none from The Times; it would put my colleagues in a weird position if I asked them) told me on background that he has been, as three of them put it, “a great source.”
It can be argued that Carlson has benefited from his value as a reliable source for the mainstream media (meaning that the more he talks to reporters, the less critical the coverage may be). However, the host has been known to use his platform as a weapon, and the results haven’t been pretty. Last year, there were attacks on a Times reporter and photographer who were working on a story about his home studio in rural Maine.
Mr. Carlson pre-emptively attacked the two by name on the air and characterized one as a political activist, which Erik Wemple of The Washington Post called a “stunning fabrication.” The planned article, a light feature that was nowhere close to publication, became impossible to report, after threats and a menacing incident at the photographer’s house, according to The Times’s media editor, Jim Windolf.
Then, he went after a Politico reporter who was working on a story about a laxative brand advertising on Fox:
In a separate incident last February, a Politico reporter, Ben Schreckinger, made inquiries about advertisements on Fox for a brand of laxative marketed by Purdue Pharma, the company that paid a $2.8 billion civil settlement for its role in the opioid epidemic. (Mr. Carlson has skewered the company and other drug makers for what he calls a “tsunami” of opioid deaths and has criticized politicians who take its money.) Before any story could be published, Mr. Carlson went on the offensive, airing a segment attacking Politico’s partnership with a Hong Kong newspaper, and he demanded that Mr. Schreckinger answer for it. “How does Ben Schreckinger feel about working for a publication that makes money from Chinese state propaganda and political repression?” Mr. Carlson asked.
The Purdue story, such as it was, never appeared. Politico’s editor in chief, Matthew Kaminski, said, “We’ve never run or not run a story based on anything Tucker has said about us.”