ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has a chummy relationship with a lot of Fox News personalities. But Tucker Carlson is not one of them.
On a recent episode of his Know Mercy podcast, Smith decried Carlson’s coverage of the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the United States Capitol, blasting the Fox News personality for attempting to feed his own narratives by claiming the media misrepresented the insurrection.
“I’m flicking channels and I saw Tucker Carlson talking about the insurrectionists from January 6, 2021. And I have to tell you that I got really, really pissed off,” Smith ranted at the end of his podcast.
“He was trying to act like, they only showed violent protestors and they didn’t show the peaceful protestors,” Smith said of Carlson. “Who the hell are you fooling? Who you playing with, Tucker Carlson? I’m not sitting up here trying to call out Tucker Carlson overall, I don’t watch him, I don’t know much about him, I’m not trying to castigate him as a person or anything like that, I’m talking about this one incident.”
Smith criticized Carlson with similar vitriol a couple of years ago on ESPN’s First Take. There, he railed against the Fox News personality for suggesting Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd because the jurors were afraid of what would happen otherwise.
Despite admitting that he leans left, Smith has been a fairly frequent guest on Fox News, touting his relationship with Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. But Smith appears to take issue with Carlson feeding his own brand by twisting narratives.
“You’re full of it, bro, you’re full of it,” Smith continued. “You’re trying to sit up there and be so literal, you know that’s not the point. For the record, Tucker Carlson is not wrong when he points out that not every protester was a violent protester. Of course, we know that! But the fact of the matter is you had no business in the Capitol…you crossed those barriers. You had protestors, insurrectionists kicking in windows, kicking down doors, damn near crushing police officers…four people in the crowd died! One officer died! That’s five people who died!”
Smith proceeded to list the names of the five people who died from the attack on the U.S. Capitol: Ashli Babbitt, Kevin Greeson, Rosanne Boyland, Benjamin Philips and Officer Brian Sicknick.
“You may not have been violent, but you were involved, and you were complicit!” Smith said of the less belligerent Jan. 6 protesters. “Because your presence inside the Capitol was capitalized by the violence that preceded your entry. Who don’t know that? One thing about Tucker Carlson is that we know he’s smart. He’s not stupid. He knows that, but you want to portray something else.
“Why? Cause you want to deflect attention away from the insurrectionists…focusing on the insurrectionists favors the liberals, in your eyes, focusing on the peaceful protestors favors the conservatives – I’m guessing – no problem. Just say so. Instead of trying to act like, ‘oh my god, the story wasn’t really told, the real story wasn’t told.’ The real story is that they were saying, ‘hang Mike Pence,’ the real story is that they were looking for Nancy Pelosi too…there is no question that lives of elected officials were in danger. You know it, Tucker Carlson.”
According to Smith, and many sensible news seekers, Carlson’s attempts at characterizing the deadly Jan. 6 attack as “peaceful chaos” is furthering the political divide within the country.
“I just read you the names of five people who died. And you had the audacity to go on the air and try to highlight that there were peaceful protesters,” Smith ranted about Carlson’s Fox News show. “And then you all wonder why the hell the country appears to have gone to hell in a handbasket. It’s because of this BS. I’m not calling Tucker Carlson BS, I don’t know him like that, I’m talking about his coverage on this specific story. We’ll never have civility in this country when you’re doing stuff like that.”
Smith was careful to state he was “not calling Tucker Carlson BS,” rather he was criticizing the Fox News host’s portrayal of the insurrection. But with so much of Carlson’s on-air persona being attached to feeding falsehoods, his “BS” surrounding Jan. 6 is congruent with the BS of his character.