Tucker Carlson, the conservative host of CNN’s “Crossfire,” spoke about the television industry, politics and his new book Tuesday night at Barnes and Noble in Georgetown.
Carlson, dressed in his trademark bowtie and jacket, began his comments by recounting how he became a talk show host and the downfall of his first show, “The Spin Zone.”
“I got into the TV business totally by accident,” he said of his first foray into television. “An editor from CNN I knew called me up one night and asked if I wanted to host a new show. I wasn’t sure what being a host entailed, but asking questions sounded easier than answering them.”
Carlson went on to speak about some events and interviews that have brought “Crossfire,” which has broadcast from GW’s Jack Morton Auditorium since April 2002, good ratings.
“One thing I’ve learned is that people are in real life exactly how they seem on TV, except more so,” he said. “I remember Ralph Nader was on the show one time. Don’t get me wrong, I really like the guy, but you get the feeling that he never participated in the fruits of the sexual revolution.”
Carlson also recalled a memorable conversation with Chris Matthews, the host of MSNBC’s “Hardball.”
“I got on the Metro and sat down, and right in front of me was Chris Matthews and his wife,” he said. “Chris immediately showed me an article in the Washington Post and proceeded to relate his amazement at the extent and variety of the porn industry in Utah.”
“In his characteristic booming voice, he explained the difference between pay by the minute and pay by the movie porn services. Everyone on the Metro, unwillingly I’m sure, got involved in that conversation. It was hilarious,” he added.
Carlson’s new book, “Politicians, Partisans and Parasites: My Adventures in Cable News,” which appeared in stores this week, details his adventures in the world of political cable television, and his interesting interactions with famous personalities on and off screen.
Before becoming a talk show host, Carlson was a staff writer at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
During a brief questions and answer session following the speech, Carlson was asked what the California recall meant for the Democratic Party.
“I think it puts them in a tough philosophical position,” he said. “I mean, they complained so much about court interference during the 2000 presidential race, but now they’re doing the same thing.”
Carlson said he is always surprised at how liberal GW students are.
“I would think that the last thing a 19 year-old would want is an intrusive government telling him what to do,” he said. “I would think that they would want to do things their own way.”