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Tucker Carlson is a senior fellow with the Koch-founded and -funded Cato Institute. He is involved with conservative Web site The Daily Caller and as a "contributor" to FOX News. He was host of MSNBC's Tucker (formerly The Situation with Tucker Carlson). He is former host of PBS's Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered and former co-host of CNN's Crossfire; has served as a panelist on The Chris Matthews Show; and has served on the editorial staff of Policy Review.
Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council
Carlson spoke at a plenary session of the 38th Annual Meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in New Orleans, Louisiana, on August 5th, 2011, along with David L. Dieter, Head of Government and External Affairs at Takeda Pharmaceuticals, an ALEC member corporation. He also received ALEC's "Warren Brookes Award for Excellence in Journalism" at the States and Nation Policy Summit in Washington, D.C. on December 3, 2009.
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's ALECexposed.org, and check out breaking news on our PRWatch.org site.
Additional PRWatch resource: Nonpartisan "Truthtelling" at ALEC
Bomb, bomb Iran
On 1 February 2012, Carlson appeared on Fox News' Think Progress program and stated that the United States had the responsibility to attack Iran. Carlson stated:
- I think we are the only country with the moral authority [...] sufficient to do that. [The U.S. is] the only country that doesn’t seek hegemony in the world. I do think, I’m sure I’m the lone voice in saying this, that Iran deserves to be annihilated. I think they’re lunatics. I think they’re evil.
Glenn Greenwald, the constitutional lawyer, commented:
- Tucker Carlson has long been a vocal, public advocate of the justness of American wars, but, at age 42, he is yet to enlist to fight any of them. Last night on Fox News, he unleashed what appeared to be one of the more vile comments heard in quite some time, as he publicly opined that "Iran deserves to be annihilated"
Tucker's Scooter Libby "Secret"
Carlson, who "has made quite a fuss about the Libby case from the get-go, trashing Patrick Fitzgerald at every possible opportunity, and blathering sympathetically about Scooter Libby's kids...oh, the kids, for God's sake, the kids. Never mind that had Scooter not committed multiple felonies in the first place...well, Tucker doesn't really care about that, now does he?," ReddHedd of Firedoglake Blog wrote in February 2006.
"But Tucker has a secret," ReddHedd wrote: Tucker's father is Ambassador Richard Carlson, Vice Chairman of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, and an Advisory Board Member of the Libby Legal Defense Trust.
Controversy over Gore, Wellstone memorial
In a Weekly Standard cover story, Carlson claimed Al Gore had said the U.S. would have to spend $100 billion a year on his plan, when he actually wrote the rest of the world would pick up most of the tab.
Carlson also quoted Gore as writing "We now face the prospect of a global civil war", calling it a typical quote. But Gore said no such thing. Instead, Gore wrote we faced "the prospect of a kind of global civil war".
Carlson further claimed Gore had kept up a busy campaign schedule on the day his sister died in 1984, accusing him of callousness. But as his advance person wrote the magazine, Gore immediately flew to the hospital upon hearing she'd "taken a turn for the worse" and before that had often driven across the state of Tennessee to visit her.
Upon hearing this, Carlson responded by saying the real issue was not Gore's campaigning, but "the cheap way he treated her memory at the Democratic convention last year." What was he referring to? Gore had recounted his final conversation with his sister, who died of lung cancer, and explained how it inspired him to fight to protect "our children from the dangers of smoking." Carlson claimed that during Gore's 1984 senatorial campaign, Gore "didn't talk much about curbing smoking that year." But he later went on to quote a journalist who said that during the campaign Gore "was willing to call the tobacco industry Merchants of Death."
On Crossfire, Carlson said Sen. Paul Wellstone's memorial was "hijacked by partisan zealots and turned into a political rally. Republican friends of Senator Wellstone were booed and shouted down as they tried to speak." He called it "revolting" and said "It makes me sick." But as Carlson admitted to Al Franken, he hadn't actually watched the service, and the events that he described did not happen, according to Duncan B. Black, Tucker Carlson: An unfiltered Media Matters for America analysis of the new PBS host, Media Matters for America, June 17, 2004.
Women want to be "spanked" and "bring a friend"
- "One area of liberal phenomenon I support is female bi-sexuality -- this apparent increased willingness of girls to bring along a friend. That's a pretty good thing." 
- "[Women] want to be listened to, protected and amused. And they want to be spanked vigorously every once in a while." 
- ELLE: Who is your guilty fantasy?
- TC: "Hillary. Every time I see her I think I could, you know, help.… She seems tense." 
In the May 12 New York Observer, Carlson said "I think [the Iraq war is] a total nightmare and disaster, and I'm ashamed that I went against my own instincts in supporting it." But the same night he attacked Senator John Kerry for expressing the same view!
- "Kerry did vote for it, but then he opposed it. Now he wants to prolong it. What does John Kerry think about Iraq? Who knows. Who cares." 
Democrats love crossdressers...
- "So there you have it: cross-dressing and abortion, two great Democratic values that go great together." 
- "... the Democratic Party has announced a new affirmative action plan for gays, lesbians, and cross-dressers. According to the Associated Press, the party has set sexuality-based quotas ..." 
But the May 13, 2004, Associated Press article said exactly the opposite: "Officials are quick to point out that the goals aren't quotas. Neither a state nor a presidential campaign is penalized if they do not reach these goals." The article also noted the plan was not affiliated with the national party, but state parties.
... but hate churchgoers
Commenting during The Chris Matthews Show:
- "People who run the Democratic party, its activist wing have contempt for churchgoers, and my experience is they absolutely do have contempt for churchgoers." 
Carlson provided no evidence for the claim. However, a CBS News/New York Times poll conducted two months earlier showed that 67% of Democrats think religion is very or extremely important, while only 9% consider it not at all important. 
Shant Mesrobian, "Tucker Carlson on Dems' outreach to 'gays, lesbians, and cross-dressers'", Media Matters for America, May 26, 2004.
Nicole Casta, et. al., "It's not just the cable guys: conservative misinformation on Sunday morning", Media Matters for America, May 24, 2004.
Against the 'do not call' list, but don't call me
Carlson denounced the federal government's do-not-call list, which allows people to opt-out of receiving phone calls from telemarketers, saying: "Score one for any yuppie community. They've won the right to trample on free speech" and calling it "special interests legislation".  When the audience dared Carlson to give out his home phone number, he pretended to comply but actually gave out the number of Fox News's Washington switchboard. 
Hughes a liar
Carlson also interviewed George W. Bush for a 1999 profile in Talk, which featured Bush "swearing like a truck driver, making fun of Karla Faye Tucker's death penalty appeals, mimicking her saying, 'Don't kill me!'". In response, Bush communications director Karen Hughes said Carlson was lying and told Carlson she'd never heard Bush use profanity, even though Carlson claims he'd seen Hughes listen to Bush use profanity. Carlson told Salon:
- "I've obviously been lied to a lot by campaign operatives, but the striking thing about the way she lied was she knew I knew she was lying, and she did it anyway. There is no word in English that captures that. It almost crosses over from bravado into mental illness." 
Norquist a "creep"
Carlson has broken ranks with some conservatives, calling fellow conservative Grover Norquist a "mean-spirited, humorless, dishonest little creep ... the leering, drunken uncle everyone else wishes would stay home."
- "I’ve worn it since I was 14"
— Tucker Carlson, regarding his bow tie; cited in Richard Leiby, "A Transplant to the Garden State" (The Reliable Source, Washington Post, February 2, 2005).
Resources and articles
- American Legislative Exchange Council, "Solutions for the States," 38th Annual Meeting agenda, on file with CMD, August 3-6, 2011
- American Legislative Exchange Council, Tucker Carlson, Cato Institute, speaks at ALEC on December 3 in DC. Part 1, organizational video, December 3, 2009, posted December 16, 2009, accessed June 2012
- Tucker Carlson: Iran Deserves To Be Annihilated, Fox News, 1 February 2012.
- Glenn Greenwald, Presstitute: Tucker Carlson Calls For Annihilation Of Iran, InformationClearingHouse, 23 February 2012. (NB: there seems to be a formatting issue with this article)
- ReddHedd, Tucker's Got a Secret, Firedoglake Blog, February 28, 2006.
- Advisory Committee, Libby Legal Defense Trust: Bio: Richard Carlson, Libby Legal Defense Trust, accessed July 6, 2007.
- "Tucker to Evangelicals: Chumps," Atrios Blogspot, October 9, 2006.
- John Aravosis, "Tucker Carlson: The Republicans hate evangelicals," AMERICAblog, October 10, 2006.