Before Fox News, Tucker Carlson worked at CNN. The show he co-hosted was canceled after a tense on-air exchange where Jon Stewart called him a ‘dick.’
- Tucker Carlson worked at CNN before he helmed the top-rated show at Fox News.
- Jon Stewart once called Carlson a “dick” on the show Carlson hosted on CNN’, “Crossfire.”
- The tense 2004 exchange later went viral, and the show was canceled months later.
Long before Tucker Carlson was hosted and then was fired from Fox New’s most-watched primetime cable news shows, he worked at CNN.
The far-right firebrand media personality co-hosted CNN’s now-defunct “Crossfire” beginning in 2001. The political debate-styled program was canceled in 2004 after a tense on-air exchange where comedian Jon Stewart called Carlson a “dick.”
“I do think you’re more fun on your show, just my opinion,” Carlson told Stewart, who at the time was the host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” during an October 2004 “Crossfire” segment that later went viral.
Stewart shot back, “You know what’s interesting though? You’re as big a dick on your show as you are on any show.”
“Now you’re getting into it, I like that,” a chuckling Carlson replied.
Before Stewart called Carlson a “dick” before a live audience, Stewart told co-hosts Carlson and Paul Begala that he thought “Crossfire” — which had liberal and conservative pundits go head to head on political issues — was harmful to the country.
“I made a special effort to come on the show today because I have privately, among my friends and also in occasional newspapers and television shows, mentioned this show as being bad,” Stewart told the co-hosts.
“And I wanted to, I felt that that wasn’t fair, and I should come here and tell you that I don’t, it’s not so much that it’s bad as it’s hurting America,” added Stewart, who drew laughter from the audience.
Carlson tried to interrupt, but Stewart continued, “Here’s just what I wanted to tell you guys. Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop. Stop hurting America.
Stewart said that the co-hosts were “helping the politicians and the corporations.”
“You are part of their strategies. You are partisan, um, what do you call it? Hacks,” Stewart said.
During the show, Carlson accused Stewart of sucking up to then-Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry and being his “butt boy.”
“You have John Kerry on your show, and you sniff his throne, and you’re accusing us of partisan hackery?” Carlson asked Stewart,
“Absolutely,” Stewart replied.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” said Carlson.
Carlson later told Stewart, “I thought you were going to be funny. Come on, be funny.”
“No, I’m not going to be your monkey,” Stewart said, adding, “I watch your show every day, and it kills me … oh, it’s so painful to watch.”
Months later, in January 2005, CNN canceled “Crossfire” and severed ties with Carlson.
“We just determined there was not a role here in the way Tucker wanted his career to go. He wanted to host a primetime show in which he would put on live guests and have spirited debate. That’s not the kind of show CNN is going to be doing,” CNN’s then-president Jonathan Klein told The New York Times at the time.
Klein specifically cited Stewart’s criticism at “Crossfire” during the interview and explained, “I agree wholeheartedly with Jon Stewart’s overall premise,” according to the Times.
Carlson has previously said that he resigned from “Crossfire” months before Stewart even appeared on the show, Insider has reported.
After CNN, Carlson worked at PBS and MSNBC. He joined Fox News in 2009.
In a bombshell statement on Monday, Fox News announced that Carlson and the cable news giant had “agreed to part ways.”
Carlson was reportedly blindsided by Fox News’ decision to cut ties with him and was informed of the move just 10 minutes before the network released the brief statement, sources told The Wall Street Journal.