Fox News’ Tucker Carlson faced off with White House Correspondents Association head Jeff Mason Monday night for a heated debate that touched on the weekend’s White House Correspondents Dinner and the lack of political diversity in the White House press corps.
The host of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” described the tone of Saturday night’s gala as “an extended middle finger to the president – an expression of dislike for the president. And the press shouldn’t like or dislike politicians, should it?”
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Mason, a White House correspondent for Reuters, responded by pointing out that the press had been given “good access” to Trump and his administration. However, Mason that some of the White House’s recent rhetoric amounted to “a clear undermining” of First Amendment rights.
“I thought the whole evening was arranged around a response to a guy who wasn’t there,” said Carlson, who noted that he has attended the dinner for 25 years, but was unable to make it on Saturday.
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“The whole evening was arranged around the First Amendment and talking about the importance of what we do,” Mason answered, “and not about the president.”
Turning to the ideology of the press, Carlson cited a study published by Politico, which revealed that no registered Republicans were part of the White House press corps.
“If you had a White House press corps that was 100 percent middle-aged white men,” Carlson told Mason, “there would be a full-blown outcry about the lack of diversity and I bet you $100 you would weigh in and say, ‘You’re right, this doesn’t look like America.’
“Do you think it’s OK that there are zero registered Republicans in the White House press corps?” the host asked.
“I think what’s important is that we have a press corps that’s made up of journalists who report the truth and who robustly report on the president of the United States,” Mason answered.
Carlson wrapped up the discussion by asking Mason, “Is political diversity important to you?”
“Is diversity important? Of course,” Mason said. “Is it my job to talk about what journalists in the White House press corps do? Yes. What they do is report the news regardless of what political party controls the white House
“I wish I believed that,” Carlson answered. “I don’t.”