CNN and PBS host Tucker Carlson is reportedly negotiating with MSNBC for the 9 p.m. show slot Deborah Norville is vacating in mid-January, mediabistro.com's TVNewser weblog reported December 19. USA Today also reported December 19: "There's talk that conservative CNN Crossfire co-host Tucker Carlson could replace Norville in the time slot." But given Carlson's track record of misinformation, MSNBC should think twice before hiring him to host a primetime show.
Media Matters for America has documented Carlson's distortions and false statements. He has:
- provided a misleading account of Social Security's "solvency," bolstering the Bush administration's alarmist rhetoric on the federal program;
- ridiculed Canada, using stereotypes and misinformation while addressing Canadian Member of Parliament Carolyn Parrish;
- echoed the conservative claim that Bush's re-election constituted a decisive mandate for his agenda;
- distorted the content of a Democratic National Committee Election Day manual in order to claim that the Democratic Party's official policy is to baselessly allege that Republicans are engaging in voter intimidation, when the manual does no such thing;
- wrongly claimed that "[n]obody prevented anyone from voting" in Florida during the 2000 presidential election, saying that the reason thousands of voters were purged from Florida's voter lists prior to the election was "[b]ecause they were convicted felons." The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights contradicted that claim in its June 2001 report titled "Voting Irregularities in Florida During the 2000 Presidential Election"; and
- falsely claimed that former President Bill Clinton called Republicans "wackos" in his speech to the 2004 Democratic National Convention.
Media Matters has also noted Carlson's inflammatory remarks. He has:
- stated that "grouchy feminists with mustaches" control the Democratic Party;
- equated homosexuality with adultery;
- compared Democratic efforts to track racial data to those practiced by Heinrich Himmler, Nazi Germany's Gestapo head and Schutzstaffel, or SS, chief; and
- disparaged feminists and the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.
In June, when PBS announced that Carlson would host Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered, Media Matters noted Carlson's history of misquoting people and misrepresenting positions. Carlson made a name for himself writing for the conservative magazine The Weekly Standard, which is edited by William Kristol (Carlson is currently on the masthead as a contributing editor). In a May 19, 1997, Weekly Standard cover story titled "The Real Al Gore," Carlson doctored Gore's words to cast him as a "fanatic." Media Matters has also noted the lies Carlson told about Senator Paul Wellstone's memorial service.
Carlson is the author of the book Politicians, Partisans and, Parasites: My Adventures in Cable News, published in 2003 by Warner Books -- which is owned by CNN's parent company, Time Warner. He is also a former staff writer at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette; has been a columnist for New York magazine and Reader's Digest; and is a regular contributor to Esquire.