As More Old Audio Surfaces, Fox's Carlson Digs In

His defenders accuse liberal Media Matters of ginning up false outrage
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 12, 2019 12:11 PM CDT
Tucker Carlson Digs In as More Old Audio Surfaces
A file photo of Tucker Carlson, host of "Tucker Carlson Tonight."   (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

The liberal Media Matters for America isn't done with Fox's Tucker Carlson yet. For the second day in a row, it is out with old audio of Carlson saying controversial things on the Bubba the Love Sponge radio show. As with day one, the clips are from 2006 to 2011, when Carlson regularly called in to the show. Carlson remains unapologetic, while his conservative defenders complain of a left-wing hit job. Details:

  • Examples: Among the new snippets highlighted by MMFA is Carlson saying that "Iraq is a crappy place filled with a bunch of, you know, semiliterate primitive monkeys," that white men deserve the credit for "creating civilization," and that immigrants should be "hot or smart" (repeating Bubba's words).
  • Can the outrage: At the National Review, David French is not about to defend Carlson's specific comments, "but here’s what is far, far worse for our nation and our culture than a pundit saying shocking things to a shock jock: the creation and sustainment of an outrage industry that spends millions of dollars (and countless man-hours) in the quest to destroy the lives and careers of the people it dislikes." Anyone on the right who rises to prominence can expect the same treatment, writes French.

  • No apology: Carlson addressed the issue again on his show Monday, notes the Washington Post. (He had previously dismissed the MMFA clips as him saying "naughty" things a long time ago.) “First, Fox News is behind us, as they have been since the very first day," he said. "Toughness is a rare quality in a TV network and we are grateful." He added that "we have always apologized when we were wrong and we will continue to do that,” though he did not do so in this case. "We will never bow to a mob, ever, no matter what.” The Post piece makes the case that Fox's "nonresponse" is strategic, a way to cast itself as a "defiantly polarizing brand."
  • The joke: Jack Shafer at Slate observes that Carlson's appearances on the radio show follow the tradition of straight-laced types being baited into saying scandalous things by shock jocks. "Listening to Carlson on Bubba is a lot like listening to the 2-year-old a babysitter has taught to say the word 'shit.' Although both might make you laugh, neither Carlson nor the toddler is funny. They’re the joke."
  • On the right: The Daily Caller rounds up reaction among conservatives to the Carlson controversy, and the piece points out what it sees as hypocrisy on the part of MMFA and his liberal critics. "MMFA declined to attack MSNBC host Joy Reid, who repeatedly wrote homophobic comments and peddled conspiracy theories on her personal blog in the 2000s. Reid apologized for some of the posts but also claimed with no evidence that some of them were written by hackers."
  • On the left: "Listing all of Carlson’s priors would take a very, very long time," writes Jessica M. Goldstein at ThinkProgress. "But to recap, his tenure at Fox has been a stream of fear-mongering punctuated by the departure of advertisers who, time and again, opt not to be associated with someone who (to cite a recent example) says immigrants make the United States poorer, dirtier, and more divided.'"
(More Tucker Carlson stories.)

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