CNN’s Chris Cuomo blasted Fox News host Tucker Carlson in an end-of-show monologue Monday night, calling him a “coward,” and daring him to repeat the racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments he made in years-old radio interviews that surfaced this week.
“Come on big man,” Cuomo said. “Read the list of all the things you said and do it again and show that you mean it.”
Carlson is under intense public scrutiny after media watchdog and Fox News critic Media Matters for America released audio snippets of Carlson lambasting Iraqis, African Americans, women and immigrants during radio appearances between 2006 and 2011. He said that Iraq was filled with “semiliterate, primitive monkeys,” said white men deserved credit for “creating civilization” and questioned President Barack Obama’s identity as a black man.
But Carlson has declined to apologize, instead opening his show on Monday with a defiant, six-minute diatribe in which he took aim at what he called a digital mob.
“The great American outrage machine is a remarkable thing,” Carlson said, in front of title cards that read “THE MOB” and “CRACKDOWN ON DISSENT.” “One day you’re having dinner with your family imagining everything is fine; the next your phone is exploding with calls from reporters."
Carlson said that “we’ve always apologized when we’re wrong, and we’ll continue to do that. But we will never bow to the mob, ever, no matter what.”
Cuomo noted a moment of his own in which he had said something that many found to be racially insensitive — he called the label “fake news” the “n-word for journalists” in 2017 — and said the right thing to do was apologize. He spent much of his closing monologue addressing Carlson directly.
“You’re not more about the money now than you are about the truth, are you?” Cuomo said. “He says apologizing to the mob costs people their jobs. What a coward. Why don’t you repeat what you said if it’s not such a big deal?”
Scrutiny on Fox News and its relationship to President Trump has grown in recent days after a report in the New Yorker by journalist Jane Mayer spotlighted the synergy the network has developed with the White House. Mayer reported that a FoxNews.com journalist, Diana Falzone, had confirmed the story of Trump’s affair with Stormy Daniels before the election, only to be told that Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch “wants Donald Trump to win. So just let it go."
The former head of FoxNews.com, Ken LaCorte, has said he’s responsible for the decision not to run the story and denied telling the reporter that. “It was nowhere, near publishable,” he tweeted about the Daniels story, after Mayer’s report was published.
CNN president Jeff Zucker took aim at the network Saturday at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, calling it a “propaganda” outlet and “a place that has done tremendous damage to this country.”
Cuomo said he believed that people like Carlson meant to intentionally inflame divisions over touchy subjects such as race in the United States. “Own that you did something wrong. People who just say ugly things to get attention and jump up and down on the fault lines in our society . . . You don’t have any of these virtues,” he said. “You are a victim, though — not of others, of yourself.”