Sitting with MSNBC’s “The Beat With Ari Melber,” Hollywood heavyweight Rob Reiner had some feedback for former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, dragging him for not having “range” as an interviewer and — worse yet — for having a “high-pitched maniacal giggle.”
In the segment seen in the video above, Melber sets up his questions for Reiner by indicating that Fox’s $787.5 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems came to pass after what must have been a careful deliberation of which would cost the network more: settling for that gargantuan sum or taking matters to court and having Carlson and his colleagues take the stand.
“From a legal sense, journalists make mistakes. Good faith mistakes are not punished by debilitating defamation judgements — it is the dishonest, or to use the term of the art of the law, the malicious and reckless mistakes,” Melber said, adding that the settlement came as the judge “clearly… was turning against them on some key factual rulings.”
“And then you say, ‘Oh, why would you pay $700, $800 million?'” he continued. “Well, anyone who’s ever seen any court case or been around one knows sometimes because you think in the end you’re going to pay even more than that. So if you put Tucker on the stand along with Murdoch and talk about, ‘Oh, so you guys, this is a whole big hoax, you’re lying about lies, you’re lying to your audience, you go back and you yuk it up on your super yacht and then you go back and lie again,’ that might’ve cost them both with the audience perhaps worse than what they’re currently suffering.”
A similar determination must have been in effect with Monday’s firing of Carlson from Fox News, the host posited.
Melber then pulled up three clips of Carlson that showcased the on-air rhetoric that would have surely been used against him — and therefore Fox News — if their lawsuit with Dominion had been taken to trial. One showed Carlson saying that the fact that Tennessee representative Justin J. Pearson “wasn’t white” was “probably how he got into Bowdoin [College] in the first place.” Another had the host saying that “plenty of college freshmen do pretend to be members of the opposite sex” in what appeared to be a segment on policies concerning trans Americans. And the third had him mocking secretary of transportation Pete Buttigieg for taking paternity leave through fits of squealing laughter.
Melber then punted to Reiner for his reaction to those Carlson clips.
“Yeah, uh, you know, that’s him on the air, and maybe that’s the way he really feels, but it’s hard to tell,” Reiner said, indicating that Carlson may be putting on an act for the cameras. “From Fox’s standpoint, it’s all a financial decision. They decide, you know, is it gonna cost us more money to keep him on or is it gonna cost us more money to fire him? And that, only time will tell.”
Then the dig got a bit personal when Melber asked Reiner if he thought Carlson was a “good actor — when you look at the giggle, for example.”
“No. The thing about Tucker, if you look at him carefully, not only does he do that high-pitched maniacal giggle all the time, but when you watch him listening to any guest, he has the same exact expression. There’s never a change,” Reiner said, taking a beat to stare dead-eyed into the camera. “That’s what he does. That’s what he does for everybody. So his range, as they say, is from A to not quite to B. It’s a narrow range.”