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Rachel Maddow Praises Tucker Carlson: 'He's Always Been Talented'

Carlson gave Maddow her first paid TV job during his 2005 MSNBC stint.
  • Rachel Maddow and Tucker Carlson (Photo: Magnolia Pictures/Everett Collection and Fox News/YouTube)
    Rachel Maddow and Tucker Carlson (Photo: Magnolia Pictures/Everett Collection and Fox News/YouTube)

    In a new interview with Vanity Fair, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow speaks fondly of Fox News host Tucker Carlson, despite his show and his views being the complete opposite of her own.

    In discussing the state of cable news, Maddow said, "Tucker's doing great right now, but look at Tucker's career. The first show I worked on was his 11:00 show on MSNBC that nobody remembers. But he was always kicking around the business and has always been talented. It just — this turned out to be his moment."

    Carlson gave Maddow her first paid TV job when she began appearing on MSNBC's Tucker back in 2005. She's spoken fondly of the conservative news host in the past, and in this most recent interview, she recalled bumping into him at an event for the first time in a long time, saying, "It was really nice to see him."

    The interviewer later asked Maddow about a recent New York Times article which claimed that Carlson "weaponizes his viewers' fears and grievances to create what may be the most racist show in the history of cable news."

    Maddow responded that what she found "most interesting" was that "more than the issue of, you know, how dangerous are Tucker's ideas, and how do they interact with the growth of the authoritarian right in the Republican Party, more so than that question, which is obviously what the central thrust of the reporting was about, I was interested in how they deconstructed why it works."

    "If you think about baseball players who are extremely competitive and who are fighting to win and who have rivalries, and some of those rivalries are bitter rivalries, that doesn't mean you don't study the pitching technique of their star pitcher," said Maddow. "It doesn't mean you don't appreciate whatever they're doing in terms of, you know, where they put their shortstop in order to give them a better defense. There's a sort of, like, respecting the game, in terms of people who are doing well and people who are good at it. I mean that was the basis of my professional friendship with Roger Ailes. I wanted tips from him about how to be better on TV. And he was willing to talk to me about what I was doing well, and doing poorly, to help me get better."

    Back in April, Maddow shifted from doing daily episodes of The Rachel Maddow Show to only hosting the show once a week on Mondays at 9:00 PM.

    Deena ElGenaidi's writing has been featured in Nylon, MTV News, Insider, The AV Club, and more. You can follow her on Twitter @deenaelg.

    TOPICS: Rachel Maddow, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, The Rachel Maddow Show, Tucker Carlson