- Conservative Fox News host Tucker Carlson has repeatedly called the international – and bipartisan – uproar over journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s alleged murder by Saudi officials a politically motivated “stunt.”
- Carlson accused the media and American politicians of selective outrage over the Saudi government’s latest human rights violation.
Conservative Fox News host Tucker Carlson has repeatedly called the international – and bipartisan – uproar over journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s alleged murder by Saudi officials a politically motivated and hypocritical “stunt” by the American “ruling class.”
Carlson accused the media and American politicians of selective outrage over the Saudi government’s latest human rights violation, pointing out that the regime regularly violates the rights of its own citizens and is currently engaged in a brutal war in Yemen – actions that he said are not condemned by the very same US leaders. Carlson also criticised the mainstream press for supporting US strikes on Syria in 2017 and 2018, which he said were advocated for by the Saudi government.
“The whole game is people who have no basis for moral superiority sort of impose their moral superiority on you,” Carlson said during an appearance at Politicon, a two-day conference of pundits and politicians. “The outrage is so false.”
The provocative host said the Saudis’ alleged torture and murder of a journalist shouldn’t shock anyone – and slammed the “mindless ruling class” for turning Khashoggi’s alleged murder into “the most important story in the world.” He pointed to media personalities and liberal politicians who have argued that President Donald Trump’s attacks on the media encouraged the Saudis to so boldly kill a prominent journalist.
“Spare us the theatrics now,” Carlson said during his Friday night primetime show on Fox News, calling the response “false posturing.” “This is a stunt, it’s an international incident hyped and manufactured for domestic political goals.”
Saudi Arabia said on Friday that Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post and a US green card holder, was killed during a fist fight inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2. Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers have said the official Saudi explanation for the journalist’s disappearance isn’t credible and that Khashoggi’s alleged murder crosses a red line.
While Carlson has long criticised the Saudi government, he has rarely called out Trump for working so closely with a regime Carlson calls a “a primitive, evil theocracy.”
Carlson didn’t explain why it benefits some of Trump’s biggest Republican boosters in Congress to call Khashoggi’s apparent murder an especially grave affront to American values. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican and close confidant of the president’s, has aggressively pushed the administration to punish the Saudis, telling Fox News that he would “sanction the hell out of them,” and that he thinks Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman should be removed from power.
“We deal with bad people all the time, but this is in our face,” said Graham, who is a longtime supporter of the US’s close relationship with the Saudi Arabian government.
Republican Sen. Rand Paul, a critic of the Middle Eastern nation,told Fox News last week that Khashoggi’s death is more reason to dramatically rethink the US’s relationship with the country.
“Saudi Arabia is not our friend,” Paul said. “This latest episode with killing the journalist is just proof that we need to not be arming them.”
The Kentucky Republican is one of the few in his party who views the oil-rich nation as an adversary, accuses it of sponsoring terrorism, and advocates for the US to stop selling arms to the country’s military.
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