Rachel Maddow: Tucker Carlson Has ‘Dangerous Ideas’ but He’s ‘Always Been Talented’

·2 min read

Rachel Maddow’s political beliefs stand in direct contrast to her longtime Fox News rival Tucker Carlson, but the MSNBC stalwart refused to outright bash her competitor in a recent Vanity Fair profile. After all, it was Carlson who first gave Maddow a paid TV position when she worked on his MSNBC series “Tucker” nearly 17 years ago.

“Tucker’s doing great right now,” Maddow said. “But look at Tucker’s career. The first show I worked on was his 11 o’clock show on MSNBC that nobody remembers. But he was always kicking around the business and has always been talented. It just — this turned out to be his moment.”

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Asked to weigh in on a recent Times’ investigation that reported on how Carlson “weaponizes his viewers’ fears and grievances to create what may be the most racist show in the history of cable news,” Maddow responded, “For me, more than the issue of, you know, how dangerous are Tucker’s ideas, and how do they interact with the growth of the authoritarian right in the Republican Party, more so than that question, which is obviously what the central thrust of the reporting was about, I was interested in how they deconstructed why it works.”

“If you think about baseball players, who are extremely competitive and who are fighting to win and who have rivalries, and some of those rivalries are bitter rivalries, that doesn’t mean you don’t study the pitching technique of their star pitcher,” Maddow added about why she doesn’t reject her Fox News rivals. “It doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate whatever they’re doing in terms of, you know, where they put their shortstop in order to give them a better defense. There’s a sort of, like, respecting the game, in terms of people who are doing well and people who are good at it.”

Maddow continued, “I mean that was the basis of my professional friendship with Roger Ailes. I wanted tips from him about how to be better on TV. And he was willing to talk to me about what I was doing well, and doing poorly, to help me get better.”

Read Maddow’s full profile on Vanity Fair’s website.

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