Fox News personality Tucker Carlson spent four minutes on his prime-time programme assailing news outlets in a sarcastic commentary aimed at what he believes are overblown concerns about prolific fabulist George Santos.
In a Thursday night rant, one of the most-watched cable hosts in the US suggested that journalists have elevated the congressman – who was elected to represent a district of nearly 800,000 people – from relative obscurity to become “the single most dangerous and historically significant figure on the global stage”.
Ignoring some of the most egregious allegations and fabrications involving Mr Santos, who is under federal scrutiny and the subject of serious campaign finance complaints, Mr Carlson instead fixated on his claims about his collegiate volleyball experience, sarcastically labelling them “a tissue of lies constructed to deceive the American people.”
He suggested journalists have transformed him into “9/11 in human form”.
Carlson’s sarcastic remarks disingenuously claimed that the Republican representative from New York merely deceived voters who believed that “he had played collegiate volleyball on a scholarship and he hadn’t.”
“And yet tonight, ladies and gentlemen, this thief of volleyball glory strides the halls of the United States Congress unimpeded by law enforcement. It’s like another insurrection,” Carlson said.
The Fox News presenter himself is an admitted liar, telling right-wing media personality Dave Rubin that he will sometimes lie on air “if I’m really cornered or something”.
“I lie. I really try not to. I try never to lie on TV. I just don’t – I don’t like lying. I certainly do it, you know, out of weakness or whatever,” he said in 2021.
Carlson then claimed that his cable network rivals deliberately lie to viewers to protect a “system”.
“So if these people ask themselves, ‘why am I doing this?’ And they say, ‘well, I want to protect the system because I really believe in the system.’ OK, who’s running the system? You’re lying to defend Jeff Bezos? Like, you’re treating Bill Gates like some sort of moral leader, like, are you kidding me? How dare you do that,” he said.
In 2020, Fox News won a defamation lawsuit involving Carlson by successfully arguing that, because of his “reputation, any reasonable viewer ‘arrive[s] with an appropriate amount of skepticism’ about the statement he makes.”