Two prominent Fox News hosts are trading blows this week over questions of whether President Donald Trump’s actions with regard to Ukraine were illegal and impeachable.
The waters began to boil Tuesday between Shepard Smith and Tucker Carlson as the two separately hosted American legal experts with years experience and dueling perspectives on the latest controversy surrounding the president.
By Wednesday night, the pot had boiled over, with Carlson slamming Smith live on-air after accusations of partisanship and “repugnant” ill will were leveled against him by the latter, according to Mediaite.
Smith had been defending guest Andrew Napolitano when initial accusations were hurled Wednesday morning, just hours after Carlson’s guest Joe DiGenova, a pro-Trump lawyer, referred to Napolitano as a “fool” for claiming Trump’s actions were undoubtedly criminal.
“A partisan guest who supports President Trump was asked about Judge Napolitano’s legal assessment,” Smith said. “And when he was asked, he said, unchallenged, Judge Napolitano is a ‘fool.'”
“Attacking our colleague, who is here to offer legal assessments on our air, in our work home is repugnant,” he said.
Carlson played the soundbite later that night, hosting DiGenova once again and taking the opportunity to mock Smith’s impassioned accusation.
“Repugnant!” Carlson repeated. “Not clear if that was you or me, but someone is ‘repugnant!'”
Carlson went on to rebut Smith’s accusations, also taking shots at what he called “opinion”-based reporting among Fox’s “dayside hosts” — going so far as to compare their work to that of MSNBC’s left-wing partisan Rachel Maddow.
Smith had, according to the prime-time host, attempted to frame Napolitano’s claim — that the president so much as mentioning Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and a potential quid pro quo in his call with the Ukrainian president was a crime — as straight news, providing no opposing viewpoint and presenting Trump’s criminality as simple fact.
And Carlson argued it was precisely this type of reporting that has led American audiences to “tune out” establishment media broadcasts and publications in recent years.
“Now, unlike maybe some dayside hosts, I’m not very partisan,” Carlson said. “It doesn’t seem honest to me when a host, any host on any channel, including this one, pretends that the answer is obvious. That’s not news, is it? That’s opinion.”
“Why do we find our selves in a situation where people aren’t willing to admit that their passions are guiding their news coverage?” he continued. “Wouldn’t it be better if we just said out loud you know this is what I think? For example, you will never hear me criticize Rachel Maddow.
“I never agree with anything she says. But she is straightforward, it’s her opinion. Why wouldn’t it be better if we were all that transparent about what’s driving our shows?
“It makes people cynical when you dress up news coverage, when you dress up partisanship as news coverage and pretend that your angry political opinions are news, you know, people tune out.”
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