RUSH TRANSCRIPT:
>> Meanwhile, at at the dinner itself, White House correspondents association president Jeff mason used his speech to complain about the president’s treatment of the press. Watch.
>> Tonight looks a little different. But the values that underpin this dinner have not changed. In fact, I think they have been reinforced. We are here to celebrate good journalism. We are here to celebrate the press, not the presidency. And I am happy to report, for anyone who is interested, that this dinner is sold out. Our job to report on facts and to hold leaders accountable, that is who we are. We are not fake news. We are not feeling news organizations. And we are not the enemy of the American people.
CARLSON: That was Jeff Mason. We lured him to our studios tonight. He joins us live. Good to see you. I agreed with your line that the point of the press, the reason for being, is to hold the powerful accountable. I would disagree that they do that consistently. But the dinner on Saturday night, which I did not attend but watched a tape off, was basically an extended middle finger to the president, an expression of dislike for the president. And the press shouldn’t like or dislike politicians either, should it?
>> I totally disagree with you.
>> Tucker: Were you there?
>> You just played my clip. I was there participating, what you didn’t do was play the clip in which I said access under the Trump Administration has been good. It has. I would disagree with the way you introduced this by saying we complained about the trump Administration. What we did was we said this is what has gone well and what has gone well as we had had good access. That is important.
>> Tucker: Not just good access, but overwhelming, maybe too much access.
>> Beyond talking what access, we also talked about the first amendment. The White House correspondents association stands up for the first amendment. It is a clear understanding of those rights when you hear some of the rhetoric that President Trump said.
>> Tucker: Really? The first amendment is being challenged and ignored on call us at my college campuses across the country. I haven’t heard the White House press association said anything about that.
>> I haven’t seen that journalists who make their living under the protections of the first amendment say anything about the actual threats to the first amendment that are unfolding on campus. Why is that?
>> I can’t speak for all journalists.
>> Tucker: You kind of can. You were the head of the White House correspondents association.
>> I can speak for the White House correspondents association.
>> Tucker: Are you troubled by that?
>> Absolutely.
>> Tucker: The speakers, the tone in the room, I watch the whole thing come again, I was not there. I was not in town. But basically, it was President Trump doesn’t like us and we don’t like him back.
>> That is just not true.
>> Tucker: I have been going to these things for 25 years.
>> I wish you have come to this.
>> Tucker: I have never seen a lemur speaker or one who was more openly partisan than the kid you hired from “The daily Show” to come. Not only was he not funny —dash go >> He did a great job.
>> Tucker: You really thought that was great?
>> I think he did a really great job. If you look at the broad picture of that dinner beyond just having a comedian, which are traditionally have, you had Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, a video, the scholarship winners, the award winners of showing what the White House correspondents association is all about the importance of good journalism.
>> Tucker: >> Tucker: How did you feel — did you listen to Bob Woodward? Look — I thought the whole evening was arranged around a response to a guy that wasn’t there.
>> The whole evening was arranged around the first amendment —
>> Tucker: >> Tucker: I look at the numbers from the public who believe that the press isn’t straight and I think it is a real threat to our business and our real threat to everything that we represent and do in the media, if people don’t believe us. One of the reasons they don’t believe us is because of the way the last election was covered, which was overwhelmingly in favor of one candidate over another. That is not surprising given that there is no politically diversity in the press corps. Politico did a study on this. How many registered Republicans in the White House press corps? Zero. That’s a huge problem, don’t you think?
>> I’m a registered independent. I think it is important to be neutral when you are covering politics in the White House.
>> Tucker: Do you I agree with you. You think of the people covering the White House are objective?
>> I do. We went to read their Twitter feeds?
>> I can’t speak for every member of the association. ‘S I think it is very important to be neutral. I think it is important to report the facts, it is important to report robustly with the president is doing. I think you should do that regardless of whether the president is a Republican or a Democrat.
>> Tucker: I agree with that vehemently. Let’s drop the pretense. Here is the pretense. The pretense of objectivity or — the press in Washington hates Donald Trump. He baits them. It’s a two way deal. He doesn’t like them and he goads them. But they rise to debate every time. In so doing, they reveal what they really think politically and that undermine their credibility. You have to see this because we are marinating and it. Do not acknowledge that is happening?
>> I would acknowledge it is important when such reporters, be they correspondence on television or print reporters of “The New York Times” or reuters or any other news organization, to make a mistake, they should correct it. I think it is important. I think having bias is not acceptable. I think it’s important, however, also to know when a consumer of news, whether you are looking at a program that is biased or is not. There are avenues, as you well know, act places like fox come at that place is like other networks, if you watch TV, you will get a certain angle, you get a certain opinion.
>> Tucker: Know what you are watching, know what you are reading, the correspondence need to stay in their lanes.
>> Tucker: I do an opinion show.
>> Do you think the people that watch you know it’s show?
>> Tucker: I don’t know why they would think that. I never say that. In contrast to the people standing in the briefing room, who are telling us on camera, I am just here to report the facts. Then, you read their Twitter feed, and it says “I hate trump.” They are out in the open liberal liberal.
>> Do you have a specific example?
>> Tucker: We have done like 15 shows on this. I know a lot of these people. They have always kind of been liberal. But it’s totally open. “The New York Times” correspondence, for example, we had the ombudsman for “The New York Times,” read all these tweets from these people, her correspondence, she couldn’t defend them. I am just saying, is that of the association, don’t you feel the credibility of the report as you represent is undermined when they wave their opinions run a public?
>> I think it is important to report the facts in the news and to stay neutral.
>> Tucker: You would encourage your members not to reveal their political biases in public?
>> Was not the correspondence association’s job to tell her members how to do their jobs. It’s not. We stand up for the values of truth, the values of reporting the facts and values of the first amendment, which is to have acted to the president, to be able to do our jobs and that is why we advocate for it.
>> Tucker: The idea that your readers or viewers believe you is a central not just business model — if you had a White House press corps that was 100% middle aged white men, there would be a full-blown outcry about the lack of diversity. I bet you 100 bucks, doesn’t look at America. If you have not a single registered Republican, and a country in which the Congress, the majority of governorships, the White House, held by Republicans, but doesn’t like America at all. Yet, I don’t think he would wring a thing about it, are you?
>> The White House correspondents organization has no impact over who our members hire. I can’t tell fox, which is a member of the White House correspondents association, you need sent this person or that person — crispy when I’m not you to — there was no racial or ethnic diversity, presumably, you would say this isn’t right. Do you think it’s okay that there are zero registered Republicans of the White House press corps according to politico?
>> I think what is important is that we have a press corps made up of journalists who report the truth and who robustly report on the president in United States.
>> Tucker: Diversity doesn’t matter?
>> Of course diversity matters.
>> Tucker: But not political diversity?
>> Diversity is important to me. It is important to me in a row that I play.
>> Tucker: [Laughs] We are almost out of time. His political diversity important?
>> Is diversity important?
>> Tucker: Political diversity. Speak of my job is to tell — what they do is report the news, regardless of what political party controls the White House.
>> Tucker: I wish I believe that, I don’t. Jeff, thank you.