Tucker Carlson Hammered Jon Stewart Hard, Ended His CNN Gig

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When Tucker Carlson was employed by CNN, he hammered Jon Stewart badly. In the epic showdown, Stewart lost his temper and used some strong words. Carlson’s response went viral.

Tucker Carlson
Tucker Carlson (Credit: YouTube)

Before Tucker Carlson became the number one cable news host during his time at Fox News, he was employed by CNN. Starting in 2001, a young Tucker would be the voice of the political right during CNN debates. However, during an appearance on Crossfire, Carlson torched Jon Stewart.

The video is from October 2004, when Carlson joined Stewart alongside co-host Paul Begala on a program meant for rotating hosts representing different political ideologies to debate news topics. The liberal comic was there to promote a new book but instead launched into a tirade about how the show was “hurting America.”

Liberal comedian Jon Stewart (Credit: YouTube)

During the 2004 debate, Stewart told Carlson that he was a “partisan hack.” This caused Carlson to remind the comic of his interview with presidential nominee John Kerry. Carlson blasted Stewart’s hypocrisy. “You have John Kerry on your show and you sniff his throne and you’re accusing us of partisan hackery?” Carlson fired back. “You had a marvelous opportunity to not be [Kerry’s] butt boy and you go ahead and be his butt boy! It’s embarrassing.”

“I do think you’re more fun on your show, just my opinion,” Carlson told Stewart. A red-faced Stewart shot back, “You know what’s interesting, though? You’re as big a dick on your show as you are on any show.” A chuckling Carlson replied, “Now you’re getting into it, I like that.”

“The accusations of ‘partisan hackery’ toward Tucker Carlson are incredibly rich from Jon Stewart,” The Political Insider reported. “Carlson for years now has been the absolute gold standard in news/opinion commentary broadcast and is, to a man, far funnier than Stewart has ever been.”

At one point, Carlson was garnering more Democrat viewers in a key advertising demographic than any other show on television — including left-leaning networks. By contrast, the Stewart variety of “news” has been accused of being single-handedly responsible for dumbing down the American voter, running a faux news show that audiences actually thought was real news and took seriously.

According to the Political Insider, “Comedy Central’s The Daily Show used numerous cut-and-paste clips to create false narratives about the topics they were discussing and the subjects they were interviewing during Stewart’s 16-year tenure as host. Poll after poll showed people were getting their ‘news’ from a show that, if they thought about it objectively, they knew was making up narratives.”

The fiery exchange between Jon Stewart and Tucker Carlson is often cited as one of the reasons that the political pundit and CNN parted ways. “The back-and-forth between Carlson and Stewart made headlines in what The Post and other outlets described as ‘a brawl,’” the Washington Post reported. “Three months later, there was a larger fallout: CNN canceled ‘Crossfire’ and cut ties with Carlson in January 2005.”

Jonathan Klein, CNN’s president at the time, said the network wasn’t renewing Tucker Carlson’s contract because the host was seeking his own night-time show. Carlson later claimed he resigned from the show “many months before Jon Stewart” appeared because he “didn’t like the partisanship” and “thought in some ways it was kind of a pointless conversation.”

After Carlson was fired from Fox News, he weighed in on cable news debates. “The other thing you notice when you take a little time off is how unbelievably stupid most of the debates you see on television are,” he said. “They’re completely irrelevant. They mean nothing. In five years, we won’t even remember we heard them. Trust me, as somebody who participated.” He added, “Where can you still find Americans saying true things? There aren’t many places left but there are some and that’s enough. As long as you can hear the words, there is hope. See you soon.”