Punching up, Brian Stelter took aim at “hateful” Tucker Carlson’s continued success with thoughts on the commentator’s “darkened heart.”
“I think he’s changed as a person.”
Ousted from CNN in 2022 after being identified as one of many pieces of flotsam pulling the network’s sinking ratings down, Stelter has yet to relent in quixotic attacks against Fox News. With the release of a new book, “Network of Lies,” centering on the coverage of the 2020 presidential election, the one-time corporate media host gave a focus to Carlson, and spoke to the post-cable candor as well.
Appearing on Mediaite’s podcast, “The Interview,” Stelter spoke with editor Aidan McLaughlin and revealed that he personally stopped replying to text messages from Carlson in 2022 “because it was getting so hateful.”
When asked, “Do you think he’s changed?” the former CNN personality suggested, “Yes, I think he’s changed as a person.”
“You know, he was an unconventional, contrarian, libertarian-leaning conservative commentator. He was a bolt of energy on ‘Crossfire’ 20 years ago. And even more recently than that, I interviewed him when he started his job at Fox News,” detailed Stelter. “I was at The New York Times. He was just starting at Fox. He basically, you know, he was willing to do whatever Roger Ailes told him to do. You know, he needed a job…but, you know, people forget he was in the wilderness for years. He was hosting ‘Fox & Friends Weekend.’ He was miserable on that couch.”
Turning to the skyrocketing success Carlson had upon taking the 8pm-slot and dominating cable news ratings, averaging more than 3 million viewers a night, the guest went on, “So when he got the prime time job, you know, that was everything; that was such a critical promotion, such a critical change in his life. And I really believe he talked himself into believing all the BS that he says on the air. You know, he presents this image of America as armageddon, as an apocalypse — that we are doomed. At least this is what he was doing on Fox. The interviews now he’s doing are a little bit different; he’s doing interviews on X. They’re mostly just with the predictable far-right figures who share his desperate view of the world.”
“But the image he was portraying on Fox, I would actually argue, it’s un-American. The way that he portrayed the doomsday scenarios, the way that he depicted America’s cities, the way he portrayed liberals — not as people with different ideas, but as evil enemies,” noted Stelter, pivoting to personal attacks he received from the prime time host.
“And to your point, lots of name calling, lots of name calling of media reporters and others. He loved to call me a eunuch, which, it just doesn’t even make any sense…But look, that’s — it’s a darkened heart. That’s what it is. That comes from a darkened heart,” he lamented.
Since Carlson was taken off the air at Fox News, many have argued his untethered content on X has been even more successful with a broader reach than he had on cable. Boasting nearly 11 million followers on the platform compared to Stelter’s nearly 800,000, social media users reacted with considerable disdain.
Oh sure. Anything Steltor does not agree with comes from a darkened heart. This nonsense is so old now.
— Cresto (@JoannaDeP1) November 19, 2023
He’s mad that everyone thinks he’s a colossal dweeb.
— Patrick Cox (@patrickfcox_cox) November 20, 2023
Brian seems like a sanctimonious egotist.
— WalkAgainstTheWoke (@WalkWoke) November 20, 2023
— JR (@jorrzz) November 19, 2023
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