The Big Picture

Patrick Goldstein and James Rainey
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Fox News' Tucker Carlson enters Charles Barkley's doghouse: 'He's a nobody!'

January 7, 2011 | 12:46 pm

Charles_barkley I've been wondering for a while now what the just punishment would be for Fox News' Tucker Carlson, the self-satisfied preppy pundit who shot off his mouth late last month, saying that Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick should have been executed instead of imprisoned for his role in a dog-fighting ring. Carlson got whupped so badly in the blogosphere that, tail between his legs, he eventually turned up on "Hannity" (some would say that's punishment enough, right there), where he said that he "overspoke" because he was "too emotional" at the time of his remarks.

Carlson has been leading with his chin for years, dating back to his infamous confrontation with Jon Stewart. After Stewart accused Carlson, then the co-host of CNN's "Crossfire," of being a "partisan hack," Carlson complained: "I think you're more fun on your show." Stewart shot back: "You know what's interesting, though? You're as a big a dick on your show as you are on any show."

Carlson finally got his just deserts Thursday night when Charles Barkley ripped into him during Barkley's halftime segment on TNT's broadcast of the NBA match-up between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Dallas Mavericks. A former NBA star who was once known as the Round Mound of Rebound, Barkley has no liberal political agenda -- in fact, he's supported Republican candidates in the past. He just instinctively grasps how much of a nitwit Carlson is. Or as Sir Charles put it:

"There's some idiot on another station named Tucker Carlson who called out Michael Vick. Tucker Carlson, he's a nobody. He used to work for us over here. We fired him because he sucked.... He said Michael Vick should be executed, which is total BS. You know, TV is a very powerful thing. You just can't get on and say anything, if you're a nobody. Michael Vick paid his debt to society and we're all pulling for him."

Barkley then moved on to bash some other "idiot" who'd accused him of giving Lakers tickets to Auburn quarterback Cam Newton, which he denied in his own special way ("I never did it, but if Cam Newton ever called me, I'd put him in the Lakers locker room!"). The whole episode only reinforces my opinion that Barkley is wasted offering pungent monologues in the middle of NBA games. This man is ready for his close-up. He needs a bigger platform. With CNN in ratings free-fall, isn't it time the network offered Barkley his own talk show? If you think Joy Behar is a controversy magnet, imagine what kind of damage Barkley could do being on the air every day.

--Patrick Goldstein

Here's the Round Mound in action:


Photo: Charles Barkley playing some one-handed golf at the 2010 American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe. Credit: Conrad Buedel/