Fox News bizarrely aired Tucker Carlson's live reactions to Biden's prime-time speech

live tucker carlson reaction small fox news
A marked-up screenshot of Fox's Tucker Carlson in the corner of the screen during the network's broadcast of President Joe Biden's speech on Thursday. Fox News/Insider
  • Fox News aired a "live Tucker reaction" box during Biden's prime-time speech on Thursday.

  • The box showed the host Tucker Carlson's facial reactions in real time.

  • It sparked memes and reflected the network's continued prioritizing of opinion over straight news.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Fox News added an unusual feature to its airing of President Joe Biden's prime-time speech on Thursday: Tucker Carlson's real-time reactions.

Biden spoke about the passage of his $1.9 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package and announced a timeline for vaccinations that would make all American adults eligible by May 1.

Thursday also marked a year since the World Health Organization declared the spread of COVID-19 a pandemic. More than 530,000 Americans have died from the virus.

Fox News aired Biden's speech, which coincided with the beginning of Carlson's 8 p.m. show, and included a "live Tucker reaction" box in the lower right corner of the screen.

As Biden's speech went on, the box showed Carlson maintaining a look of puzzlement, at times variously frowning and nodding.

At one point, when Biden said anti-Asian abuse is "wrong, it's un-American, and it must stop," Carlson briefly raised his eyebrows, as can be seen in the clip here:

Toward the end of the speech, Fox News' chyrons said "Biden speech nearly finished; Tucker will respond" and "Biden should be finished; Tucker is on any minute," Mediaite reported.

The stunt spurred commentary and memes from across the political spectrum.

The move reflected Fox News' prioritizing of opinion over straight following reports of a ratings dip.

Lachlan Murdoch, the CEO of Fox Corp., said last week that the network would be "loyal opposition" to the Biden administration, in the mold of MSNBC during Donald Trump's presidency.

Fox's emphasis on opinion was particularly marked in January when the straight-news anchor Martha MacCallum was moved to an afternoon slot from 7 p.m., Deadline reported.

It was widely seen as a demotion, and competition for the slot is now fierce, Insider's Claire Atkinson reported.

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