Fox News host Tucker Carlson traded barbs in a Thursday interview with veteran journalist Ben Smith over what Mr. Smith alleged was Mr. Carlson’s inflammatory rhetoric.
Mr. Smith was speaking with Mr. Carlson about the future of journalism ahead of the October launch of a new company Mr. Smith is co-founding, Semafor.
However, the former editor-in-chief of BuzzFeed News wound up asking Mr. Carlson about his supposed affinity for the “Great Replacement Theory,” which Mr. Smith touched on after sharing a recent clip from Mr. Carlson’s show where he discusses how “legacy” Americans are being subverted electorally by new voters from other countries.
Mr. Smith didn’t suggest that there was a direct link between Mr. Carlson’s use of “the language of replacement theory” and the actions of extremists, but he did say that the theory has been referenced by mass shooters.
“Do you have any compunction or regret about popularizing that?” Mr. Smith said, to which the Fox News host replied, “This is why you are considered, correctly, a propagandist and not a journalist, because I just explained — in detail, with total sincerity — what I believed, and you ignored it and invoked mass shooters.”
Mr. Smith tried to move the conversation along, but Mr. Carlson had one last jab: “This is revealing how ridiculous you are, and I think it’s evident to any fair person watching.”
Earlier in the interview, Mr. Smith questioned Mr. Carlson about if he thinks “that White people have some claim on America that other people don’t?”
Mr. Carlson flatly said no, and then elaborated on his lack of racial animus.
“If you were to look at my texts or listen to my personal conversations or read my mind, you would find no instance that I’m like ‘I’m mad at Black people,’” Mr. Carlson said. “One-hundred percent of the people that I’m mad at are well-educated White liberals.”
The Fox News host went on to say that the archetypal person he doesn’t like is a “38-year-old female White lawyer with a barren personal life — that’s who yells at me on airplanes.”
Mr. Smith later asked Mr. Carlson why his show has been “flypaper for racists” who were formerly on Mr. Carlson’s staff.
“I’ve never had a white supremacist work for me. I don’t think I’ve ever talked to a white supremacist,” Mr. Carlson said. “I’m not sure what that means. I know it’s a slur and the worst thing that a person can be.”