Tucker Carlson on Jamal Khashoggi Backlash: "It's a Game; Don't Play Along"

Tucker Carlson speaks onstage during Politicon 2018 - Getty-H 2018
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"The outrage is so false," the Fox News primetime host said.

Before a room full of adoring fans, Fox News host Tucker Carlson argued Saturday that the media industry is conveying "moral superiority" and playing "a game" by acting outraged at the death of American resident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.

"The whole game is people who have no basis for moral superiority sort of impose their moral superiority on you," Carlson said of the widespread media backlash to Saudi Arabia. "The outrage is so false."

He said that "Jamal Khashoggi" is a name nobody knew two weeks ago. "They use that to bully you into submission," he said of the unified outrage. "It's a game. Don't play along."

"Just stop lecturing me," Carlson said, before miming, "You don't care enough about Khashoggi!"

Carlson, who appeared at the Politicon conference along with Democratic strategist James Carville, conveyed no surprise at Khashoggi's grim fate, reportedly at the hands of individuals close to the ruling Crown Prince.

"The Saudis, and I don't mean this as a compliment, are acting entirely in character with their character," he said. "That's what they do."

Carlson called the Saudi kingdom "a primitive evil theocracy in the desert," and said he's not "pro-Saudi."

He appeared at the two-day conference to promote his new book, though he said he's a "terrible salesman" who "couldn't sell crack to crack addicts."

Carlson conveyed shock at the raucous applause he received in Los Angeles. "Wait, are you cheering ironically? Just be honest," he said.

The primetime host was asked by an audience member about his booking philosophy. "It's super hard to get people on who disagree," he said. "I think we might probably do better if we took the liberals off the show and just repeated what the audience wanted to hear. What I don't want to do is just have dumb people on who are there for me to crush. I don't need to win every debate. I'm on five nights a week."