Shortly after this announcement from their parent company, Fox News Channel revealed that conservative pundit Tucker Carlson would take over the 8 p.m. time slot hole left by “The O’Reilly Factor.” Carlson was already hosting the 9 p.m. slot on Fox News, but the earlier time traditionally sees higher ratings.
However, as evidenced from a statement Carlson made on a previous show of his, taking over the space from O’Reilly is hardly a giant win for those rooting for O’Reilly’s departure.
During a 2006 segment on Carlson’s former MSNBC show, “Tucker,” Democratic strategist Steve McMahon claimed that Democrats taking control over Congress would usher in an era of “a lot more fun.”
In a slight departure from the topic, Carlson responded with a reveal of his own feelings about sexual harassment.
“A lot more fun?” Carlson said. “This is a group that made up the concept of sexual harassment. ‘You look great today.’ ‘Boom, I‘m charging you with a crime.’”
This is a group that made up the concept of sexual harassment. "You look great today." "Boom, I‘m charging you with a crime." Tucker Carlson on his show, "Tucker"
Carlson continued with a joke that is particularly cringeworthy in retrospect.
“Do you know what I mean? It‘s not a group I associate with fun. You want a sex scandal, the Republican party, baby, that‘s where you go.”
O’Reilly’s departure followed the similarly sexual harassment-fueled exit of former Fox News chairman Roger Ailes last year. Republican President Donald Trump is also dogged by multiple sexual harassment allegations.
Interestingly, according to MSNBC’s own transcript, the topic immediately changes to focus on ... Bill O’Reilly.
In a strange coincidence, immediately after Carlson made his comments about sexual harassment, the topic switched to the now former Fox News pundit.
Below is the relevant excerpt.
Besides McMahon, Carlson is talking to Bill Press, introduced as the author of How the Republicans Stole Religion and Patrick Gavin, then of the D.C. Examiner.
MCMAHON: No, but I do think it would be nice if Congress had more people who were regular people and had a sense of humor. Because the partisanship and the intensity up there is pretty extreme most of the time, especially now. Hopefully with the new Congress, with Democrats in control, you know, it would be a lot more fun.
CARLSON: A lot more fun? This is a group that made up the concept of sexual harassment. You look great today. Boom, I‘m charging you with a crime. Do you know what I mean? It‘s not a group I associate with fun. You want a sex scandal, the Republican party, baby, that‘s where you go.
PRESS: I have to say something about the White House Christmas party. I have only been invited once under the Bush years, which turned out to be a mistake, and the president saw me, and he crossed me off the list. I haven‘t been back since. But, you don‘t have to search. I know who is the most arrogant reporter at the White House Christmas party.
PRESS: Bill O‘Reilly, without doubt. I did that little test that Joe Scarborough did. He was so full of himself, and that was just obnoxious.
CARLSON: I think I remember. Do you have any contestants for that position?
GAVIN: Contestants for most arrogant reporter. Well, I just get myself in trouble here.
CARLSON: You‘re off the record. Don‘t worry.
GAVIN: Every time you see O‘Reilly out, he is the most miserable guy in the room. He hides himself in a corner. You take a photo, he is just grumpy. I don‘t know the guy personally. Maybe he is potentially a nice person.
PRESS: No, he‘s not.
GAVIN: But he seems like he hates going out more than anything in the entire world.
“So it‘s basically everything related to sex that we don‘t like is now sexual harassment,” said Carlson.
Carlson is scheduled to start his new gig next Monday, April 24.