Bill Kristol Says Tucker Carlson’s Show is ‘Ethno-Nationalism of Some Kind’: It’s ‘Close Now to Racism’

Conservative commentator Bill Kristol gave an interview to CNBC where criticized the editorial direction of his former network Fox News, particularly with regard to primetime host Tucker Carlson.

Speaking with John Harwood, the former Fox contributor said his old network has embraced a “gradual increasing of recklessness” as they try to appeal to pro-Trump audiences. Kristol said Fox saw an opportunity to seize upon opposition to Barack Obama‘s presidency, and he also expanded on what he told Morning Joe about how Fox is leaning towards the hard right and views that used to exist on the political fringe.

“Now Fox is sort of — 75 percent of it seems to be birther-like coverage of different issues. That’s been, I think, bad,” said Kristol. Kristol especially expressed concern about Carlson’s recent commentary about race, saying it’s getting very close to racist territory.

“He had always a little touch of Pat Buchananism, I would say, paleo-conservativism. But that’s very different from what he’s become now. I mean, it is close now to racism, white — I mean, I don’t know if it’s racism exactly — but ethno-nationalism of some kind, let’s call it. A combination of dumbing down, as you said earlier, and stirring people’s emotions in a very unhealthy way.”

Kristol also this anecdote about how his time on Fox was reduced after he refused a request from Roger Ailes.

“He asked me to do something. It was nothing to do with anything that was on the air. He wasn’t trying to tell me what to say.

He wanted me to call up people here in Washington and basically blackball someone who had run afoul of him on a totally separate matter in New York. And it seemed kind of crazy to me, and I wasn’t going to do it. I didn’t know what happened, but I wasn’t going to just take his word for it and start calling about some other person I slightly knew and say, “Don’t hire this person.”

So I just said, “No.” Suddenly, you know, I remember that Sunday I was pulled off ‘Fox News Sunday.’ Gradually I was cut back over the next year. So maybe Roger was getting more cranky and odd in his older age, but anyway that was the story.”

Watch above, via CNBC.

UPDATE 10:21 a.m. ET — Tucker Carlson is firing back. In a statement provided to Mediaite, the Fox News host responded to Kristol’s scathing comments.

“I’m not even sure what he’s accusing me of,” Carlson said. “He offers no evidence or examples, just slurs, and then suggests that I’m the demagogue. Pretty funny. Kristol’s always welcome on my show to explain himself, though I assume he’s too afraid to come. What a shame. It would be revealing.”

[Image via screengrab]

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