Fox News host Tucker Carlson took Washington Post reporter Erik Wemple to task over his coverage—or lack thereof—of his employer Tuesday during a lively exchange about media bias.
"In case after case, you’ve failed to cover your own paper running fake or misleading things,” Carlson charged of the paper’s media critic.
Among the misleading items Carlson was referring to is the paper’s practice of including propaganda pieces called “native advertisements” paid for by the Russian government.
"Well, that’s a good question," Wemple acknowledged when asked why he has never covered it. "I think I’ve got a lot to write about."
Carlson also brought up the fact that the Washington Post has essentially printed fake news, giving the example of a December story about how Russian hackers had infiltrated the U.S. power grid through a Vermont utility company, which the Post later had to retract.
"I wrote a very hard-hitting pieceabout that situation," Wemple shot back, referring to his January article about the paper’s coverage of the story.
"You never bothered to talk to your own reporters, presumably in the same newsroom that you’re in," Carlson responded.
"Look, the story was very critical of the Washington Post and I would know," Wemple said before praising his editor for giving him “freedom” to criticize the Post.
"You didn’t interview the reporters who wrote the story and then you end with this: 'The missteps mar an otherwise spectacular run for the Post,'" Carlson replied, reading from Wemple's story.
"Now, when you write something that brown-nosy, do you feel guilt? Do you feel like you're doing your job as a hard-hitting media reporter?" he asked while laughing.
"Erik, look, I get it, you can't answer the question, so you're saying that I somehow have an obligation to be a media reporter. But I'm not a media reporter and you are. And you get a lot of mileage out of, 'I'm Mr. Media Reporter and I'm brave and they give me all this rope and I can do whatever I want.’ But you don't,” Carlson told Wemple.
"I don't see you as a media critic, I see you as a political hack acting out his political beliefs on paper with the cover of media criticism -- 'I'm just a media critic’ -- and everyone who reads you knows that and I am wondering if your editors know that?"
"I believe I do cover the media straight," Wemple replied.
"You question a competitor but do you ever question yourself?" Carlson asked.
"Mr. Carlson, I will put The Washington Post and the freedom that I have and the times I have criticized my own paper against anyone in this industry," Wemple said in defense.
"Look, the point is, you have the freedom and I think that's great," Carlson said to the reporter. "You should just use it to do something useful like reporting on Russian propaganda in your own paper."