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Why Rachel Maddow Came to Tucker Carlson's Defense

AP Photo/Steven Senne

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow went to bat for Fox News' Tucker Carlson during a recent interview on Mediaite's "The Interview" podcast.

Maddow argued that her former MSNBC colleague is actually who he portrays himself out to be on cable news and that he is indeed the same person he was when he hosted "Tucker" on MSNBC from 2005 to 2008 before moving to Fox News.

"I think the thing that Tucker gets a knock for that he doesn't deserve is this idea that he's evolved and changed in some radical new direction. Tucker has always been that guy. He is legitimately that guy. He is not faking it. He comes by his beliefs and his convictions and even his ton of voice, quite naturally, he is not putting it on," Maddow told Mediaite's Aidan McLaughlin.

The MSNBC host stated that if viewers rewatched the early episodes of Tucker on MSNBC, they would see that he really is "the same guy" as he currently is today.

According to Maddow, the reason Tucker Carlson gets so much attention is because the Republican Party and conservatives, in general, are "latched onto" his point of view. In other words, she believes viewers tune into Carlson's show so they feel vindicated by someone who also shares their own beliefs.

"The Republican Party and conservatives are latched onto that point of view now and like it, or at least have, I think broadly speaking through the Trump years," she explained. “A president got into office who articulated many of the most controversial things that Tucker has long advocated and that were most sort of hot in terms of riling people up and attracting controversy and attracting attention.”

She explained that Carlson does a better job articulating some of President Donald Trump's ideas than the president himself does, which is why he is popular amongst those on the right.

“It’s a powerful thing to hear somebody with Tucker’s delivery and capability as a TV communicator articulating the same ideas that the president — forgive me — is sort of braying about on Twitter, all caps, misspelled, and all those things,” Maddow said. “But you put those two things together and it can resonate in a way that moves people and becomes in that case, I think, a very powerful political force.”

Maddow stated that not only has Tucker Carlson been doing the same thing since the early 2000s but so has she.

"If you look at me on Tucker's show in 2005, or whenever that was, and you look at Tucker in 2005, we're still the same people but I think the appetite for what we bring, to offer, has waxed and waned over the years with our cable news fortune," the MSNBC host said.

The reason so many Americans enjoy Tucker Carlson is because he has a way of breaking down complex stories and situations in a way that everyday Americans – those who are not constantly consumed by what is taking place in Washington, D.C. – can understand. He connects the dots between what elected officials have said in the past, what they are currently doing and their plans for the future. Tucker has a way of asking rhetorical questions that get viewers asking critical questions. That is why so many tune into his show. 

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