At this point, pretty much everyone in America has seen the powerful video of Jon Stewart giving testimony to Congress to get the 9/11 fund bill passed.
Yet, many may not remember (or are too young to have seen) another epic Stewart moment == 15 years ago that he called Tucker Carlson a “dick” on CNN’s Crossfire.
At the time, Carlson was one half of the show, playing the right-leaning, bow-tie wearing conservative. On the liberal side was Paul Begala, who introduced Stewart as “either the funniest smart guy on TV or the smartest funnyman.”
CARLSON: I do think you’re more fun on your show. Just my opinion….
STEWART: You know what’s interesting, though? You’re as big a dick on your show as you are on any show. (LAUGHTER)
CARLSON: Now, you’re getting into it. I like that.
Stewart offered a devastating critique of CNN’s infamous show, its intellectual dishonesty and how it’s all “partisan hackery.” Carlson didn’t get it then, and he clearly doesn’t get it now.
STEWART: It’s not honest. What you do is not honest. What you do is partisan hackery. And I will tell you why I know it.
CARLSON: You had John Kerry on your show and you sniff his throne and you’re accusing us of partisan hackery?
CARLSON: You’ve got to be kidding me. He comes on and you…
STEWART: You’re on CNN. The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls. (LAUGHTER) What is wrong with you? … You know, the interesting thing … is, you have a responsibility to the public discourse, and you fail miserably.
A few months after the Stewart interview, CNN announced they would not be renewing Carlson’s contract.
After CNN, Carlson did a short stint at MSNBC before becoming one of the Fox News bottom feeders in 2009. Fox has allowed him to dial his dickishness and partisan hackery up to eleven in the years since, and Carlson has used that leeway to:
- Call white supremacy a “hoax” just days after the El Paso shooting
- Say that Rep Ilhan Omar is “living proof” our immigration policies are dangerous
- Claim that leading a country “means killing people” in defense of Trumps bro-mance with NK leader Kim Jong Un
- Say that immigrants would make the U.S. “poorer and dirtier”
All of those instances are fairly recent, but Carlson has been the same for years. Back in 2011, he was advocating for NFL player Michael Vick to be “executed” for dogfighting. He also defended a teacher giving a 15-year-old student a lap dance saying, “there’s no victim here.”
Then there are all the comments made in the unearthed recordings of Carlson’s radio interview with Bubba the Love Sponge where he spent some time defending Warren Jeffs, a man that was charged with being an accomplice to the rape of a 14-year-old girl:
“He’s not accused of touching anybody; he is accused of facilitating a marriage between a 16-year-old girl and a 27-year-old man. That’s the accusation. That’s what they’re calling felony rape. That’s bullshit.”
Stewart may have called Crossfire Carlson a few mild names 15 years ago, but it’s likely he would use much stronger language if given the chance today.
You can put lipstick on a pig or have it wear a bowtie … but it’s still a pig.