Tucker Carlson is “a liar,” says Michael Avenatti, the Stormy Daniels attorney who says he was told by the Fox News Channel host that there would be no “name calling” during Avenatti’s appearance on Carlson’s show last night.
But of course, there was name-calling. Lots of it.
Carlson has made a running joke of calling Avenatti “creepy porn lawyer,” and even Carlson himself said, on-air, that “as a gesture of goodwill, we will not use that nickname, because we’re always grateful when guests are brave enough to show up in person, including in this case.”
But as soon as Carlson began his introduction of Avenatti, a chyron appeared onscreen reading “Creepy Porn Lawyer Talks About Presidential Run,” setting the tone for the high-volume discussion that followed.
Today, Washington Post columnist Erik Wemple wrote that Carlson betrayed “a civility pledge.” On The View, co-host Joy Behar reminded viewers of Fox News’ own “sleazy” past, naming Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly. “My father used to say, ‘People who live in glass houses should dress in the cellar,’” said Behar.
Avenatti, of course, didn’t really need the help, having already tweeted, “The extent there was any doubt as to the lack of professionalism of @TuckerCarlson or @FoxNews before tonight, there is no longer. What happened with the chyron tonight was a disgrace. Complete garbage – trash television. A new low.”
And: “After he told me that he was not going to engage in ‘name calling.’ This is why so many people correctly conclude that @TuckerCarlson is a liar, just like Trump.”
With Carlson repeatedly interrupting – and Avenatti repeatedly calling him out for it – the interview headed inevitably to Carlson’s disingenuous defense of Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress and soon-to-be author (her book Full Disclosure hits bookstores Oct. 2).
“Stormy Daniels is right now working in strip clubs in little towns onstage, people are throwing things at her. You’re wearing a $1,000 suit. Why are you not paying her?”, asked Carlson, displaying zero understanding of how the attorney-client bargain works.
At one point, Avenatti demanded, “Why is it that you don’t call Donald Trump the creepy porn president? He’s the one that had sex with a four-month old son at home, with my client, without a condom.”
By the end of the interview, Carlson, briefly abandoning his standard I’m-so-confused expression, giggled and said “You’re even creepier than I thought,” with a clearly furious Avenatti shouting “hypocrite.”
Today, Avenatti told the Observer website that he was unaware about the chyrons during the interview, seeing them only later. “I thought it was pathetic and cowardly of Tucker Carlson,” he said.
Avenatti also said today that during a commercial break last night he called Carlson a “joke.”
“I told him he was a joke and I meant it,” Avenatti told the Observer.
Responded Carlson to Observer, by email: “I think it’s bad form to repeat off air conversations from the set, but you can imagine what it was like. His claim that we lied to him about anything is absurd. We didn’t say anything that I haven’t said publicly many times before. I think the segment speaks for itself.”