- Fox News host Tucker Carlson insisted on Thursday that he’s unaware of his record-setting ratings.
- Carlson broke the record for most-watched cable news program in US history in 2020.
- Asked if he believes in the “Great Replacement” theory, Carlson replied: “Of course not.”
Fox News host Tucker Carlson, who regularly brings in upwards of 3 million viewers to his primetime show, said on Thursday that he’s unaware of his record-setting ratings.
“I don’t know how to read a ratings chart,” Carlson said in a live interview with Semafor co-founder Ben Smith. “Ask anyone who works for me or has worked with me. I never look at the ratings. I’m not on the ratings email. I’m not even on email.”
Fox News did not return Insider’s request for comment on whether Carlson has a work email account.
Smith, formerly of Politico, BuzzFeed News, and The New York Times, pressed Carlson on the issue of pursuing ratings.
“But you’re in the ratings business, fundamentally,” Smith said.
“Slow down — I don’t know what my ratings are, and I mean that,” Carlson replied. “You may not believe me. I don’t own a TV, that’s true.”
In April 2020, Carlson broke the record for most-watched cable news program in US history, cracking more than 4.5 million viewers on average for that quarter.
Smith also asked Carlson what he really believes, specifically whether he thinks white people are “superior,” referencing Carlson’s well-documented use of the same language from white nationalists and proponents of the “Great Replacement” theory.
“You spend a lot of time laughing at the labels that are thrown at you,” Smith said earlier in the live interview. “Racist, white supremacist, host of the most racist show in the history of cable television … Do you believe white people are superior to other races?”
Carlson laughed at the question almost immediately.
“Of course not,” the Fox News host said with a chuckle before Smith tried to rephrase the question.
“First of all, I’m a Christian, so I think God made everybody, and therefore everyone has equal value in his eyes,” Carlson said. “The essential value of every person is the same. But the idea that I harbor some kind of deep racial animus, it’s like — I think there are a lot of criticisms you could level at me — sometimes I overstate the case, I get pissed, I can be very nasty … I mean if you were to look at my texts, or listen to my personal conversations, or read my mind, you would find no instance where I’m like, ‘I’m mad at Black people.’
“One hundred percent of the people that I’m mad at are well educated white liberals,” he continued. “In my mind, the archetype of person I don’t like is like a 38-year-old female white lawyer with a barren personal life. That’s who yells at me on airplanes.”
Carlson’s rhetoric on immigration and race often plays into the “they” vs. “you” dichotomy — as chronicled by The New York Times in a comprehensive video review — and dovetails with his depiction of elites vs. the working class.
Fox News has also gone out of its way to defend Carlson against allegations of promoting white nationalist ideology, most recently after the May mass shooting in Buffalo, where the alleged shooter’s manifesto repeated replacement theory rhetoric but did not mention the host or the network by name.