Rachel Maddow under fire for gushing praise of Tucker Carlson: ‘Elitism at its finest’

·3 min read

Rachel Maddow’s gushing praise of Tucker Carlson in a new interview has sparked a social media backlash, with some accusing her of giving a “giant middle finger” to her liberal fan base.

The MSNBC host told Vanity Fair of her admiration for the Fox News rival, who has openly promoted white supremacist ideology, spread misinformation that the January 6 insurrection was organised by the FBI, and just last week claimed that Derek Chauvin didn’t murder George Floyd.

“Tucker’s doing great right now,” Ms Maddow told the outlet.

“But look at Tucker’s career... he was always kicking around the business and has always been talented. It just — this turned out to be his moment.”

She told Vanity Fair the pair had bumped into one another recently and said: “It was really nice to see him.”

Attorney Aharon Schrieber tweeted that the comments were a “giant middle finger to anyone who’s been watching her, believing she was leading a fight against The Right”.

“It’s so offensive. She’s part of the same club as Tucker is. The rest of us are not. Elitism at its finest. Gross.”

Psychotherapist Brittany Page tweeted that she was surprised to see Ms Maddow praising “Tucker ‘Immigrants Make Our Country Poorer and Dirtier’ Carlson”.

“He mainstreams white supremacist talking points… is that what she means by ‘he’s doing great’ and ‘this turned out to be his moment’????”

Nandini Jammi, a co-founder of the Sleeping Giants social media activist group, claimed Ms Maddow was a member of “Tucker Carlson’s protection racket”.

Another critic wrote: “Tucker is ‘talented’ at what exactly? Dissembling? Lying? Prevaricating? Propaganda.”

Ms Maddow got her start in cable news working for Mr Carlson on his 11pm MSNBC show in 2005, and the pair have apparently remained on friendly terms ever since.

While Ms Maddow has become a liberal favourite for her takedowns of Republicans and their lurch towards authoritarianism under Donald Trump, Mr Carlson’s race-baiting and xenophobia on his nightly opinion show has seen him become a reviled figure among many of her viewers.

Rachel Maddow says she tried to learn from her rival’s ‘pitching technique’ (Associated Press)
Rachel Maddow says she tried to learn from her rival’s ‘pitching technique’ (Associated Press)
Fox News host Tucker Carlson has ‘the most racist show in the history of cable news’, according to the New York Times (Getty Images)
Fox News host Tucker Carlson has ‘the most racist show in the history of cable news’, according to the New York Times (Getty Images)

Asked by Vanity Fair about a New York Times series published in April that described Tucker Carlson Tonight asthe most racist show in the history of cable news”, Ms Maddow acknowledged that he had “dangerous” ideas.

She went on to use a baseball analogy to explain how rivals can learn from one another’s “pitching technique”.

“There’s a sort of, like, respecting the game, in terms of people who are doing well and people who are good at it,” she told Vanity Fair.

Ms Maddow also cited her friendship with Fox News founder Roger Ailes as an example of how she had looked past ideological differences to try to grow professionally.

“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,” she said.