- Paul Ryan blamed Tucker Carlson for pushing toxic and racist content on Fox News.
- Ryan was asked why he, as a Fox board member, did not stand up to people spreading disinformation.
- Ryan said he thought it was “probably just Tucker” who spread negative content.
Former GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Fox Corporation board member, blamed Fox News host Tucker Carlson for pushing negative content on Fox News.
Ryan’s sit-down interview with journalist Charlie Sykes on February 23 was released in podcast form on February 28. During the interview, Sykes asked Ryan why he did not stand up to people at Fox News who pushed “toxic sludge, racism, disinformation, and attacks on democracy.”
“I want to make sure that we get through this moment and I think — this screed you just made on Fox — I think that was probably just Tucker,” Ryan told Sykes.
Ryan added that he and Carlson are “different kinds of conservatives.”
“Do I disagree with Tucker on this stuff? Of course, I absolutely disagree with him,” Ryan said.
During the interview, Ryan acknowledged that he as a Fox Corporation board member has “a responsibility” to offer his “opinion and perspective” on the company’s news coverage. But he also said he doesn’t get to make decisions on personnel changes or who gets to go on-air.
Ryan also told Sykes that he wants to work to get “the conservative movement in a good place in America again.”
“I think the conservative movement is going through a lot of churn and a lot of turmoil and I don’t like where it is right now,” Ryan added. “You know that. You know the kind of conservative — I’m a classical liberal, constitutional, limited government, free enterprise conservative, a Jack Kemp-Ronald Reagan conservative.”
Carlson is one of Fox News’ firebrand hosts and the anchor of one of the channel’s most-watched shows. In the last year, he’s insulted foreign leaders, pushed a baseless conspiracy theory that President Joe Biden blew up the Nord Stream pipelines, defended Russian President Vladimir Putin, and raged about M&Ms, among other things.
Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican who served as speaker of the House from 2015 until 2019, joined Fox Corporation’s board of directors after he left office. Former President Donald Trump branded Ryan a “pathetic loser” in June and claimed without evidence he was controlling the way Fox News conducts its reporting.
“Donald Trump, sitting down at Mar-a-Lago, is convinced that you are pulling the strings at Fox News,” Sykes said.
“Yeah, I could care less,” Ryan quipped.
Representatives for Ryan and Carlson at Fox did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.