Jon Stewart's demolition Thursday of CNBC's Jim Cramer may pale in importance to Edward R. Murrow's historic 1954 take-down of Joe McCarthy, but those who most likely would have backed the red-baiting Wisconsin Senator are just as unhappy about it. Former MSNBC conservative commentator Tucker Carlson is at the top of that list. Carlson, perhaps still smarting from his own 2004 smackdown by Stewart which helped doom his gig on CNN's Crossfire, blasted the Daily Show host as a "partisan demagogue." Of course, given his fervent support for convicted PlameGate felon Scooter Libby whose legal defense fund his father helped lead, Tucker Carlson might just be projecting.
Prior to making his case this morning on CNN's Reliable Sources that Stewart is a "sanctimonious, partisan hack" and an operative for the Democratic Party, Carlson on Friday denounced him to the Politico:
Carlson, reached Friday, described Stewart as "a partisan demagogue."Of course, Jon Stewart's weeklong diatribe against CNBC was initially triggered by the network's Rick Santelli slandering troubled home mortgage owners as "losers." And as it turns out, it is Tucker Carlson who has made a career out of doing someone else's bidding. That someone else is the Republican Party - and his father Richard.
"Jim Cramer may be sweaty and pathetic--he certainly was last night--but he's not responsible for the current recession," Carlson told POLITICO. "His real sin was attacking Obama's economic policies. If he hadn't done that, Stewart never would have gone after him. Stewart's doing Obama's bidding. It's that simple."
The scandal surrounding the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame and the subsequent conviction of Cheney chief-of-staff Scooter Libby provides case in point. Few voices on television were more strident in Libby's defense than Tucker Carlson. But throughout, he remained silent on his father's leadership of the Scooter Libby Legal Defense Fund.
From the beginning, Tucker Carlson aimed both barrels at Libby prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. In November 2005, he insisted Fitzgerald was "accusing Libby - falsely and in public - of undermining this country's security," adding, "Fitzgerald should apologize, though of course he never will." Reversing his past position in support of independent counsels, Carlson in February 2007 blasted "this lunatic Fitzgerald, running around destroying people's lives for no good reason."
With Libby's conviction and sentencing in 2007, Carlson the son echoed Carlson the father. Richard Carlson, a former U.S. ambassador and past president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, couriered a check to Libby on the day of his indictment. On May 29, 2007, he reacted to a Fitzgerald filing which confirmed that Valerie Plame was indeed a covert agent at the time of her outing:
"I think it's certainly unseemly that he is kicking him while he's down. For Fitzgerald, to get on his high horse, it's disgusting and he should be ashamed of himself."Just one week later on June 6, 2007, son Tucker joined in, essentially calling Fitzgerald a liar and Plame a perjurer over her clandestine status:
"CIA clearly didn't really give a shit about keeping her identity secret if she's going to work at f*king Langley...I call bullshit on that, I don't care what they say."When President Bush ultimately refused to pardon Scooter, Tucker and Richard Carlson joined Vice President Cheney in expressing their outrage. On January 19th, 2009, Carlson the Elder whined:
"I'm flabbergasted. George Bush has always prided himself on doing the right thing regardless of the polls or the pundits. Now he is leaving office with a shameful cloud over his head."Ironically, that cloud metaphor is the same one Patrick Fitzgerald used to describe the lingering stench from Vice President Cheney's office in the wake of the Plamegate affair. And on the same day Cheney also appeared on CNN to proclaim "I believe firmly that Scooter was unjustly accused and prosecuted and deserved a pardon," Tucker Carlson called Jon Stewart a "partisan hack."
Maybe that's because comedian Jon Stewart once called Tucker Carlson a "dick." Or maybe, the partisan hack Tucker Carlson doesn't like what he sees in the mirror.