Fox News host Tucker Carlson tore into NBC News and MSNBC on his show Tuesday night, suggesting that it wasn't Russia that meddled in last year's presidential election, but rather the famed news outlets.
Russia "hacking" last year's election has been one of the biggest, nonstop stories since President Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in November. However, there isn't much evidence to support that narrative, Carlson said.
"There's no reason to believe Russia changed the course of American political history," Carlson declared. "There's merely innuendo and conspiracy mongering and connecting probably irrelevant dots."
That led Carlson to one question: If there is no real evidence that Russia manipulated last year's election or colluded with Trump's campaign, why does the story persist "and grow by the day?"
And he believes he knows the answer.
According to Carlson, MSNBC and NBC News have gone to "remarkable lengths" to keep the Russia hacking story alive.
"Ever see their programming? It's hour upon hour of programming like this," Carlson said, before showing a mashup of MSNBC and NBC hosts talking up the story.
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow is heard saying in one of the clips: "The Trump campaign didn't just benefit from Russia interfering in our election. The point of this they colluded ... they helped ... they were in on it."
Those complaints about election meddling are complete "irony," Carlson went on to say.
"Given that company's conduct over the past six months that is a bit rich," Carlson said.
The Fox News host went on to explain that October's explosive "Access Hollywood" tape, which changed the landscape of the election in its final weeks, did more to manipulate the election than Russia ever dreamed of.
"That tape belonged to NBC, was shot by NBC cameramen for an NBC show on NBC property," Carlson said. "So how did it end up in the hands of the Washington Post, which broke the story? How, in other words, did valuable intellectual property from one news organization end up benefiting another?"
"Intentionally, that's the short answer," Carlson explained.
Carlson said that the tape was leaked by NBC and that the company's top leadership completely knew about it.
"NBC’s motive? To derail the Trump campaign two days before a presidential debate," Carlson said.
He added that NBC knew about the existence of the tape since "at least" last summer but was reluctant to release it over fears they'd be seen as a partisan organization, in addition to concerns over California's strict "wiretapping" laws. But as the race tightened in October, NBC finally made the choice to release it.
"NBC rose to the defense of Hillary Clinton and leaked that tape," Carlson said, "and then they lied about it."
Given the fierce competition between media organizations, Carlson suggested that if the tape was indeed leaked without NBC's knowledge, they would have conducted an investigation into the leak because the "Access Hollywood" tape story was the biggest story of the year prior to Trump winning the election. But to public knowledge, NBC has never conducted that investigation, Carlson said.
"So the obvious question hangs in the air since we've been talking so much about election tampering: What do you think played a bigger role in the 2016 race, the 'Access Hollywood' tape or the Russian government? Just because NBC's effort failed and Donald Trump won anyway doesn’t mean it's irrelevant," Carlson explained.
"NBC News lied to the public to help destroy a politician they didn’t like," he said. "We know that. We know they wouldn’t do it again, do we? Do we know they’re not doing it now? Unfortunately, we don't know that."