Wednesday on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” host Tucker Carlson took on BuzzFeed editor Ben Smith for his outlet’s decision to publish an unsubstantiated dossier alleging now-President Donald Trump had a certain relationship with the Russian government.
Although Smith defended the publication’s decision, Carlson suggested it was politically motivated and not done in the name of “press freedom.”
Partial transcript as follows:
TUCKER CARLSON: I’m for openness. I’m for transparency. But by setting yourself up as a champion of press freedom, you’re being slightly disingenuous because there is a political component here. And I want to refer you to something from BuzzFeed’s editorial standards, which is online, and I read it.
Here’s what it said and I’m quoting, “We firmly believe that for a number of issues including civil rights, anti-racism, LGBT equality, there are not two sides.”
Now, it struck me really as a theological statement, not a statement of journalism which presumes there is always another side, there is always another voice to be heard. There is always a different perspective. You’re saying that there isn’t and anyone who disagrees should be ignored. That is a statement of activism, isn’t it?
BEN SMITH: Absolutely not, I doubt that Fox News has a view that there are two sides on whether you should be racist or not. I mean, I think that is in some sense — a lot of news organizations don’t put out or don’t make explicit that implicit point, that you are not going to cover racists like they have a legitimate point of view. I don’t really see why that’s controversial.
CARLSON: No, because you’re picking a sensitive —
SMITH: But I don’t see how that really connects to this.
CARLSON: I’ll tell you exactly how: Because clearly, BuzzFeed News has a pretty open political agenda masquerading as journalism.
SMITH: Is it open or is it masquerading?
CARLSON: Well, it is open and obvious for those of us who care or pay attention. I think you are hiding behind what appear to be journalistic standards when in fact they are political imperatives and I’ll give you a great example.
So the day the Supreme Court ruled on gay marriage, it was June of 2015, you wrote this, and I’m quoting, “The Supreme Court ruling today, astonishing to me as much as we all knew it was coming, marks the end more or less of a story that has helped define BuzzFeed as we’ve grown,” and I’m quoting, “and one that we should be proud of playing a big part in.”
That sounds like a press release from a political action committee (PAC). It doesn’t sound like something a journalist would write. You’re taking sides.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor