At the top of his primetime Fox News program Monday night, Tucker Carlson seemingly took a dig at his network colleagues who have suddenly taken U.S. intelligence on Iran at face value after denigrating the intel community as the “deep state” for years.
Once again devoting his opening monologue to criticizing the escalation of tensions with Iran sparked by the U.S. assassination of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, the Fox News host placed the lion’s share of the blame for the push for war on Republican lawmakers and hawks in the Trump administration. (But again, he largely let the president off the hook.)
“It’s harder to get rich and powerful during peacetime, so our leaders have a built-in bias for war,” Carlson declared. “So they decided on television studios over the weekend to describe in detail the type of violence they are prepared to wreak on a country very few of them know about.”
After taking aim at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for claiming on Sunday that the risk of terror is “increased by appeasement,” the Fox News star then wondered why there’s been a sudden change of heart among Trump supporters toward the intelligence community.
“It’s hard to remember now, but as recently as last week, people didn’t consider Iran an imminent threat,” he noted. “Iranian saboteurs were not committing acts of terror in our cities. Oh, but our leaders tell us, ‘They were about to any second! That’s why we struck first.’”
“What’s striking is how many people are willing to accept this uncritically,” Carlson added. “Just the other day, you remember, our intel agencies were considered politically tainted and suspect. Certainly on this show they are, were, and will be for quite some time.”
He went on to accuse the intel community of pretending that President Donald Trump “was a Russian spy” before pointing out that it was faulty intelligence on nonexistent weapons of mass destruction that led the United States into the Iraq War.
“People pushing conflict with Iran are the same people who did that,” the conservative host declared. “It seems like about 20 minutes ago we were denouncing these very people as the ‘deep state’ and pledging to never trust them again without verification. But now, for some reason, we do seem to trust them implicitly and completely.”
In recent days, some of the network’s biggest Trump boosters—who had spent the past three years accusing the intel community of waging am anti-Trump coup and disinformation campaign—have quickly dropped that criticism and defended the intelligence agencies' claims that Soleimani’s assassination disrupted “imminent attacks.” Fox News host Ainsley Earhardt, for instance, said she found it “so interesting that people are critical of the president’s decisions, of our intelligence community’s decisions, of our generals’ decisions.”