Fox News host Tucker Carlson speaks at the National Review Institute's Ideas Summit in Washington on March 29. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Media critic

Fox News host Tucker Carlson last week got some attention when he and Neil Patel wrote a Daily Caller op-ed criticizing President Trump for having pressured Ukraine to investigate the Bidens. “Some Republicans are trying, but there’s no way to spin this as a good idea. Like a lot of things Trump does, it was pretty over-the-top.”

On his Fox News program Wednesday night, Carlson followed up those sentiments with these sentiments: “The president has already asked half-facetiously Ukraine and China to look into the Bidens, maybe he should check with the Kazakhs, too. You might find something,” he said.

The advice on Kazakhstan was based on Carlson’s contention that, according to court filings reviewed by “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” Hunter Biden, son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, had dealings in Kazakhstan through the same business partner — Devon Archer — who’s involved in the controversy surrounding Ukraine. “Archer and Hunter Biden have a business relationship that centers on more than simply Ukraine. They also did business together in China. And according to court filings reviewed by this show, Archer and Biden’s firm, Rosemont Seneca, also did business with Kazakhstan’s Sovereign Wealth Fund.”

As for the claim that Trump “half-facetiously” petitioned Ukraine and China to investigate the Bidens, that’s a recycled talking point that Republican apologists for Trump have floated on public-affairs shows. The main problem with the talking point is the not-at-all-joking demeanor of the president in remarks last Thursday: “China should start an investigation into the Bidens, because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine," said the president. He also repeatedly pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Biden in a July 25 call, an incident that’s fueling an impeachment inquiry.

Smirking is a big part of the show here. As Carlson was advising Trump to “check with the Kazakhs,” a couple of satirical creases emerged on his face. Which is to say, the host was happy to excuse and joke about an abuse of power in front of the Fox News audience, whereas he criticized that same abuse in sober terms for his Daily Caller audience.

None of this would merit several hundred words if Carlson were a mere cable-news host. He’s much more than that, however: He’s also a presidential counselor, as evidenced by his impact on Trump’s decisions regarding Iran and South Africa.

What a great world it is for Carlson. He makes millions; he’s wildly influential; and his employer apparently cares not a whit that he misleads viewers about his own convictions, to the extent they exist.

Read more from Erik Wemple:

Tucker Carlson’s very own Ukraine scandal

Fox News: Ukrainian president seems cool with the Trump-Biden thing!

Hannity: The ‘media mob’ is corrupt. Also, look at this great Politico story!

The stupendously dishonest Tucker Carlson

You happy now, Tucker Carlson?