Before he was one of Alex Jones’ biggest defenders and trusted confidants, Tucker Carlson claimed that the Infowars founder “freaks me out” while denouncing the far-right host’s 9/11 conspiracy theories and the way such claims hurt the victims’ families.
A year before Jones began attacking the grieving families of the Sandy Hook mass-shooting victims as “crisis actors” and labeling the massacre a hoax—defamatory actions that resulted in Jones owing those families a billion dollars—Carlson had not-so-kind things to say about the infamous conspiracy theorist.
Outside of a GOP presidential campaign event for Michelle Bachman in January 2012, Carlson then merely a Fox News contributor and editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller—was approached by Adam Kokesh, a libertarian activist and radio host who rose to prominence as an anti-war veteran who boosted Ron Paul’s presidential campaign.
Kokesh began the videotaped chat by noting they’d briefly met at a 2008 rally for Paul, during which Carlson, then a Paul backer, abruptly exited the event when former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura implied that Osama bin Laden was not responsible for the 9/11 terror attacks.
Over the next few minutes of the exchange, filmed for Kokesh’s Adam vs. The Man web show, Carlson pushed back on both Kokesh and bystanders who wondered why he wasn’t open to the idea that 9/11 was an inside job. (Ron Paul supporters, in particular, have long embraced this particular conspiracy theory.)
“I am open to almost any crackpot theory about anything,” Carlson declared at one point. “It’s just, on that subject—come on, you know what I mean? It’s too much. Even for me!”
Eventually, Carlson became so visibly annoyed with Kokesh repeatedly pressing him on the validity of various 9/11 conspiracies that the Fox News star called him a “parasite” who was “making it much worse” for families of the terror attack’s victims. Carlson also pointedly insisted that the embrace of such theories “totally discredits libertarianism and the ideas of Ron Paul and liberty itself.”
At the time, Jones was the most prominent voice of the 9/11 truther movement, and so Kokesh then asked Carlson what he would say to the Infowars host. “Ugh!” Carlson groaned, prompting Kokesh to add: “I know that you hate Alex Jones!”
“I don’t know Alex Jones,” Carlson asserted. “I don’t have any feelings about Alex Jones. I just think in order to imply that there was a conspiracy behind 9/11, you oughta have some evidence. That’s all I’m saying.”
“And there’s no evidence?” Kokesh asked.
“None whatsoever,” Carlson shot back. “And I’ve done a lot of shows on it and read a lot about it. I know there are a ton of coincidences. There always are.”
Later on, the conservative TV star was far more candid with Kokesh about his disdain for Jones. “Alex Jones? Fuck you!” Carlson said, sparking laughter among the group.
“He’s more popular than you are,” Kokesh retorted.
“He certainly is!” Carlson agreed, adding, “I tell you what, I don't want any Alex Jones people at my house—at all! Alex Jones freaks me out. I saw Alex Jones flip out on somebody in a scary way. Leading a mob to, like, hurt somebody.”
Carlson’s attitude towards Jones dramatically shifted over the intervening decade.
Just a few short years after his exchange with Kokesh, Carlson began appearing on Jones’ Infowars broadcast and claiming that then-President Barack Obama’s administration was engaging in “Nazi stuff.”
Since then, and as Carlson’s star has risen and his politics have shifted into darker ideological territory, the Fox News primetime host has not only expressed admiration for Jones but has also seemed to embrace many of the conspiracy theories that Infowars has peddled. (Although, notably, Carlson has not publicly embraced Jones’ position that the 9/11 attacks were orchestrated by the U.S. government.)
The two hosts now overlap quite a bit when it comes to baselessly claiming COVID-19 vaccines are deadly or that the Jan. 6 Capitol riots were a “false flag” operation by the federal government to declare war on “legacy Americans.”
Indeed, the pair even appear to be close pals now. Jones has claimed that he regularly speaks with Carlson and that the Fox News star even filmed part of his End of Men documentary on Jones’ Texas property. The two right-wing icons talk so much now that, as The Daily Beast’s media newsletter Confider recently reported, Carlson is allegedly “shitting himself” over the possibility that his daily text exchanges with Jones could leak after the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 attacks obtained the conspiracy blowhard’s messages.
Reps for Carlson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.