In an interview with the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, Jeff Mason, Fox News host Tucker Carlson pointed out the overwhelming prejudice against President Trump on the part of those correspondents. The WHCA held its annual Washington D.C. dinner on May 1, where Mason spoke out against Trump’s denunciations of media bias.
On Monday, Carlson opened his show by saying that the WHCA dinner appeared to be like “an extended middle finger to the president.” The show host also took to task correspondent Hasan Minhaj of The Daily Show, who regaled the WHCA audience with crude jokes about the president.
Mason responded by praising the Trump administration for how much access to media it is allegedly receiving. Carlson was apparently not impressed and claimed that the media simply “hates Donald Trump.” He went on to say that Trump is perhaps goading the press but added that the press too easily takes his bait.
Carlson cited a study that Trump and Republicans are not very popular among White House Correspondents. “There’s no political diversity in the press corps. POLITICO did a study on this. ‘How many registered Republicans in the White House press corps?’ Let me do the math. Uh, zero. That’s a huge problem, don’t you think?”
Mason responded that he is a registered Independent and said that it is important to be independent and neutral as a reporter. He answered affirmatively when Carlson asked whether White House reporters are indeed independent.
When the media rises to Trump’s “bait,” Carlson said, they reveal their bias against Trump. “It undermines their credibility. You have to see this. They’re marinating in it. Do you not acknowledge that’s happening?”
Mason responded that what Carlson sees is not a problem and that journalists should acknowledge when they make mistakes, while “bias is not acceptable. I think it’s important, however, that when you’re a consumer of news, whether you’re looking at a program that is biased or is not. And there are avenues, as you well know, at places like Fox and other networks where, if you watch TV, you’re going to get a certain angle, you’re going to get a certain opinion. Know what you’re watching. Know what you’re reading. The reporters who report for those organizations should stay in their lane as well.”
Carlson points out then that he does an opinion show and makes no bones about it. Mason said, “I suspect some think it is a straight news show.” Carlson then said that when establishment media say they report factually, but members of the press make statements on Twitter to the effect that they “hate Trump.” When he pointed out the ombudsman for the New York Times could not defend the anti-Trump tweets made by her reporters, Carlson asked Mason if this does not impugn their credibility. Ultimately, Mason demurred when asked whether there is political diversity when he said that he has no control over who various news organizations hire.