Fox News host Tucker Carlson confessed over the weekend that he will “lie” whenever he’s “really cornered or something.”
During a Sunday appearance on right-wing provocateur Dave Rubin’s podcast, Carlson took aim at his rivals on CNN over what he claimed was their habit of telling falsehoods on the air. (The segment was first flagged by Media Matters, a liberal watchdog and Carlson nemesis.)
“How do you think they live with themselves at this point when they just lie again and again and we have the internet to expose the lies?” Rubin asked, adding: “We can expose it now and they still do it.”
The far-right primetime star insisted that unlike other cable news personalities, who “systematically lie,” he claimed, Carlson tries to refrain from lying himself—but will do it if he feels trapped.
“Well, it’s—I guess I would ask myself, like, I mean I lie if I’m really cornered or something,” Carlson said. “I lie. I really try not to. I try never to lie on TV. I just don’t—I don’t like lying. I certainly do it, you know, out of weakness or whatever.”
While Carlson presented his lying as a human “weakness” he works to combat, his network’s own lawyers have successfully argued in court that no “reasonable viewer” should actually believe the words coming out of his mouth on-air.
Just over the past year, of course, Carlson has peddled such obvious falsehoods as claiming the COVID-19 vaccines don’t work, the Green New Deal was responsible for Texas’ winter storm power-grid failure, immigrants are making the Potomac River “dirtier and dirtier,” and that there’s no evidence that white supremacists played a role in the violent Jan. 6 Capitol riots.
During the same Rubin segment, Carlson argued that mainstream media outlets “protect and guard the powerful” while using their influence to put its “boot on the neck of the weakest people.” The Fox host insisted that while he may have done it in the past, he no longer uses his top-rated show to target less powerful figures.
“I have done that, inadvertently over the years because I got carried away. But I really try not to. And everyone who works on our show is very aware of the most basic rule, which is don’t piss down.” he said. “Don’t attack people beneath you. If you’re gonna you know, take a punch, make sure it's upward—someone who is rich or stronger, more powerful, in charge of more things than you are. Punch up, like, that’s just a life rule. And people who punch down are the worst. They should have no power whatsoever, in my opinion.”
Besides repeatedly demonizing asylum-seeking refugees, poor immigrants, and the homeless, Carlson routinely punches down at people with far less power and influence than him or his show: school teachers, Capitol police officers, and lesser-known media figures, among others.