Tucker Carlson admits he’s a liar but tries not to lie on television

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NEW YORK — Fox News superstar Tucker Carlson is a liar — or so he says.

The primetime pundit appeared on a right-wing YouTube program Sunday in which he was asked to explain why, supposedly, anchors on other networks lie. In a refreshing moment of honesty, Carlson admitted the truth isn’t always his first option.

“I mean I lie if I’m really cornered or something. I lie,” he confessed. “I really try not to. I try never to lie on TV.”

When Carlson was sued for defaming an alleged Donald Trump paramour in 2020, a Manhattan federal judge ruled that indeed, his audience should know Carlson is “not stating actual facts.” Trump has denied that affair.

Carlson went on to explain he doesn’t like lying, but indicated that sometimes he has to do what he has to do.

“I certainly do it, you know, out of weakness or whatever,” he continued.

But according to the 52-year-old conspiracy peddler, his rivals at competing cable networks like CNN are “systematically” and deliberately lying to protect “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?” he asked. “How dare you do that.”

He then claimed to be appalled by the way CNN covered MAGA-supporting teenager Nick Sandmann, whose video recorded exchange with a protester in Washington, D.C., in January 2019 led to the student being cast in a negative fashion that was misleading and required greater context. The network settled a lawsuit over the incident for an undisclosed amount.

“That shocked me,” Carlson said.

In another moment of earnestness, Carlson said he’s done stuff like that, too, but tries not to.

“There have been many times in the 25 years I’ve been in TV where I think you know, are we using this, like, very substantial power that we have to put pictures on the screen to hurt weak people,” Carlson said. “And I have done that, inadvertently over the years because I got carried away. But I really try not to.”

According to Carlson, people who work on his show know it’s who you attack that’s important in the end.

“If you’re gonna,’ you know, take a punch, make sure it’s upward,” he said. “Someone who is rich or stronger, more powerful, in charge of more things than you are.”

Carlson, a multimillionaire who frequently rails against immigrants and refugees on his nationally viewed show, said people who use their positions of power to abuse others “should have no power whatsoever, in my opinion.”

Fact-checking site PolitiFact has looked into 18 statements made by Carlson. It determined six of those statements contained at least some degree of truth, while the others were entirely false.

Researcher Matthew Gertz of the media watchdog group Media Matters for America said last month “it’s fruitless to fact-check a wildly dishonest demagogue like Tucker Carlson,” but he does it anyway.

True or not, Fox News viewers are buying what Carlson’s selling. Nielsen ratings showed a dominant August for Fox News overall with “Tucker Carlson Tonight” leading the way behind an average total audience of 3.3 million viewers.

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