Rob Reiner got into a semantic slanging match with Tucker Carlson on his Fox News show on Thursday with the two having a testy argument on what constituted "war" and Hollywood's relationship with China.
Reiner made a surprise appearance on Carlson's show, drumming up awareness for the newly launched committee to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 election. The committee launched a video this week fronted by Morgan Freeman that claimed the U.S. was at "war" with Russia following the events of 2016, but focused on cyberwarfare rather than war in the conventional sense.
Carlson took Reiner to task on the question of "war" dismissing the idea the two countries were in conflict in a real sense much to Reiner's growing annoyance. “If you watch the entire video, it talks about cyberwarfare” Reiner repeated said. “It talks about how he was able to use the Internet and cyber tools to attack the U.S. democracy, which is what they did.”
Tucker Carlson through the years
Tucker Carlson through the years
Tucker Carlson of the Weekly Standard during a CNN National Town Meeting on the Media discussing coverage of the White House sex scandal, Arlington, Virginia, January 28, 1998. (Photo by Richard Ellis/Getty Images)
Tucker Carlson at The Creative Coalitions' 'Freedon of the Press During Wartime' panel discussion at Chadwick Restaurant in Beverly Hills, Ca. Thursday, June 20, 2002. Photo by Kevin Winter/ImageDirect
Carl Bernstein, William Baldwin, Charles Koones, Tucker Carlson, Michael Isikoff and Peter Bart at The Creative Coalitions' 'Freedon of the Press During Wartime' panel discussion at Chadwick Restaurant in Beverly Hills, Ca. Thursday, June 20, 2002. Photo by Kevin Winter/ImageDirect
WASHINGTON - JUNE 4: (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER OUT)(L-R) U.S. Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta, an unidentified member of his security detail, Democratic presidential candidate Reverend Al Sharpton, and CNN Crossfire host Tucker Carlson attend a CNN pre-party for the White House Radio and TV Correspondents Association annual dinner June 4, 2003 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Stefan Zaklin/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 15: Politicians Partisans and Parasites (Photo By Douglas Graham/Roll Call/Getty Images)
Tucker Carlson of Crossfire (Photo by Linda Spillers/WireImage for Bragman Nyman Cafarelli)
CENTURY CITY, CA - JULY 8: Talk show host Tucker Carlson attends the Television Critics Association Press Tour at the Westin Century Plaza Hotel on July 8, 2004 in Century City, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images).
UNITED STATES - JULY 27: CNN's Tucker Carlson, makes a phone call in a hallway in the Fleet Center, on the night Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., was nominated as the vice presidential candidate,at Democratic National Convention 2004, in Boston. (Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - AUGUST 31: (L-R) Producer Lawrence O'Donnell, moderator Tucker Carlson and Governor Mike Huckabee of Arkansas take part in an Art$, Education and the 21st Century Economy panel discussion at Carolines August 31, 2004 in New York City. (Photo by Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images)
Tucker Carlson (Photo by Lawrence Lucier/FilmMagic)
Tucker Carlson and Patricia Duff during The 2005 Do Something BRICK Awards - Inside Arrivals at Capitale in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Robin Platzer/FilmMagic)
WASHINGTON - APRIL 29: (U.S. TABS & HOLLYWOOD REPORTER OUT) Tucker Carlson and Christopher Buckley attend the Creative Coalition and The Atlantic Media Company reception April 29, 2006 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Nancy Ostertag/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - AUGUST 18: DANCING WITH THE STARS - Tucker Carlson, (right) MSNBC news anchor -- and often controversial -- conservative political TV pundit and columnist, will be partnered with professional dancer Elena Grinenko (left), who makes her series debut this season on ABC Television Network's 'Dancing with the Stars.' (Photo by James Sorensen/ABC via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 01: DANCING WITH THE STARS - Tucker Carlson, MSNBC news anchor -- and often controversial -- conservative political TV pundit and columnist, rehearses partnered with professional dancer Elena Grinenko, who makes her series debut this season on ABC Television Network's 'Dancing with the Stars.' (Photo by Talley Lach/ABC via Getty Images)
Tucker Carlson & Harry Hamlin (Photo by Ron Wolfson/WireImage for TMG (The Marketing Group))
Nick Kosovich, Vivica A. Fox, Tucker Carlson & Rashel Pouri (Photo by Ron Wolfson/WireImage for TMG (The Marketing Group))
TV Personality Tucker Carlson at the Field & Stream Magazine's Heroes of Conservation Awards Gala September 20, 2007 at the Museum of Natural History in New York City. (Photo by Mark Von Holden/WireImage)
WASHINGTON - APRIL 26: Tucker Carlson arrives for an after-party hosted by Bloomberg following the White House Correspondents' Association Dinner on April 26, 2008 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Paul Morigi/WireImage)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 1: Tucker Carlson, Ariana Huffington, guest, guest and guest pose for a photo September 1, 2008 at the Nicollet Island Inn in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Scott A. Schneider/WireImage)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 02: Tucker Carlson, a correspondent for General Electric Co.'s MSNBC unit, speaks during Rally for the Republic, an event in support of Ron Paul, a Republican representative from Texas who lost to Senator John McCain of Arizona in winning the Republican presidential nomination, at the Target Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S., on Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2008. The protest convention was held on day two of the Republican National Convention (RNC), which took place in nearby St. Paul. (Photo by Keith Bedford/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 7:
Tucker Carlson, a conservative pundit, at the office of the new website, the Daily Caller, on January 6, 2010, in Washington, DC. The site, at which Carlson is the editor-in-cheif, has been branded as a 'conservative Huffington Post.' (Photo by Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 09: Tucker Carlson of CNN, checks his messages on North Capitol Street, NW, Feb. 09, 2010. (Photo By Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images)
GOOD MORNING AMERICA - The Huffington PostÃs Arianna Huffington and Fox News Contributor Tucker Carlson join the ÃMorning MixÃ to discuss current events on 'Good Morning America,' 9.9.10, airing on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Donna Svennevik/ABC via Getty Images) TUCKER CARLSON, ARIANNA HUFFINGTON
NEW YORK, NY - DECEMBER 4: FOX News meteorologist Rick Reichmuth (L) and FOX & Friends Weekend co-host Tucker Carlson attend 'FOX & Friends Christmas Special' 2013 at FOX Studios on December 4, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 31: (L-R) 'FOX & Friends' co-hosts Steve Doocy as Captain America, Kimberly Guilfoyle as Wonder Woman, Tucker Carlson as The Incredible Hulk and Maria Molina as Bat Girl attend 'FOX & Friends'' 2014 Halloween Celebration at FOX Plaza on October 31, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 02: (L-R) Tucker Carlson, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, actress Bella Thorne and Brian Kilmeade pose onstage during 'Fox & Friends' at FOX Studios on April 2, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 02: (L-R) Tucker Carlson, Billy Ray Cyrus, Ainsley Earhardt and Brian Kilmeade appear on a cooking segment of 'Fox & Friends' at FOX Studios on June 2, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 01: Musician Trace Adkins (2nd L) talks with co-hosts Tucker Carlson (L), Clayton Morris (2nd R) and Ainsley Earhard during 'FOX & Friends' All American Concert Series outside of FOX Studios on July 1, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)
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Carlson attempted to catch out Reiner with whataboutism over Hollywood's relationship with China, arguing that Chinese company's and the state had also conducted cyber warfare on America and American companies. Carlson suggested Hollywood had no interest in Chinese hacking as there was money to be made and suggested the studios kowtowed to China's strict censorship laws.
Carlson continued to press Reiner on the China question and the director continued to push back but his frustration was palpable.
Reiner batted that question away by suggesting that the issues were different and China had never tried, and succeeded in influencing American elections. “It’s not about hacking into computers and stealing information, it’s about using that information and weaponizing it in some way,” Reiner said.