Tucker Carlson responded to audio revealing a shocking and casual display of misogyny and racism by bogusly holding himself and Fox News up as free speech champions, even as the network demonized Ilhan Omar for her far less repulsive comments about Israel.
As I’ve previously posted, Media Matters unearthed a trove of audio of Carlson on the Bubba the Love Sponge radio show. In the recordings, Carlson is heard off-handedly defending statutory rape and crediting white men for “creating civilization,” e.g.
Instead of apologizing, Carlson used the moment to boost his ratings (not unlike the way colleague Jeanine Pirro reacted after her recent, unhinged attack on Omar). Carlson issued a statement: “Rather than express the usual ritual contrition, how about this: I’m on television every weeknight live for an hour. If you want to know what I think, you can watch. Anyone who disagrees with my views is welcome to come on and explain why.”
Last night, Carlson cast himself and Fox News as free speech heroes – while ignoring the glaring evidence that indicates otherwise.
Carlson dishonestly suggested he hadn’t meant what we all heard him say
CARLSON: There's really not that much you can do to respond. It's pointless to try to explain how the words were spoken in jest or taken out of context, or in any case, bear no resemblance to what you actually think or would want for the country. None of that matters. Nobody cares. You know the role you're required to play. You are a sinner begging the forgiveness of Twitter.
Carlson framed himself as some kind of independent voice of reason and/or truth
CARLSON: What if we acknowledged what's actually going on?
Republicans in Washington do a fairly credible imitation of an opposition party. …
But on the deepest level, it's all a pose. In their minds, where it matters, Republican leaders are controlled by the left. They know exactly what they’re allowed to say and believe. They know what the rules are. They may understand that those rules are written by the very people who seek their destruction, but they ruthlessly enforce them anyway.
Why are the people who considered Bill Clinton a hero lecturing me about sexism? How can the party that demands racial quotas denounce other people as racist? After a while, you begin to think that may be their criticisms aren't sincere. Maybe their moral puffery is a costume. Maybe the whole conversation is an absurd joke. Maybe we’re falling for it.
Carlson cast Fox News as a similar free-speech hero
CARSLON: One of the only places left in the United States where independent thoughts are allowed is right here -- the opinion hours on this network. Just a few hours in a sea of television programming. It's not much, relatively speaking. For the left, it's unacceptable. It demands total conformity.
For now, though, just two points to leave you with. First, Fox News is behind us, as they have been since the very first day. Toughness is a rare quality in a TV network, and we are grateful for that. Second, we've always apologized when we’re wrong and we’il continue to do that. That's what decent people do -- they apologize.
But we will never bow to the mob -- ever. No matter what.
No honest person would paint Fox News as a free speech zone
While Tucker Carlson praises Fox as an oasis of “independent thoughts,” the network is coming under fire for spiking a report about Stormy Daniels’ hush money in order to help Donald Trump win the election. And while a slew of other outlets noted that Trump had soured on former Fox co-president Bill Shine before he resigned from the White House, Fox’s senior White House correspondent credulously reported that Shine resigned in order to spend more time with family.
Recently, anti-Trump conservatives have reported being frozen out of Fox News appearances because they are critical of Trump. Retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters, a Russia expert and former “strategic analyst” for Fox, wrote in an editorial, “[A]s word spread that I would not unswervingly support President Trump and, worse, that I believed an investigation into Russian interference was essential to our national security, I was excluded from segments that touched on Vladimir Putin’s possible influence on an American president, his campaign or his administration. … I was relegated to Groundhog Day analysis of North Korea and the Middle East, or to Russia-related news that didn’t touch the administration.”
Bernard Goldberg, once a regular commenter on The O’Reilly Factor, said in an interview today that he had criticized Trump for “many, many, many things.” As a result, “I became trouble … from a business point of view because a lot of the audience didn’t want to hear what I had to say about Donald Trump when it was negative.”
Did I miss free-speech-maven Carlson defending Omar on Fox? She was demonized as “filth” and anti-American by Carlson’s own colleagues for using anti-Semitic tropes in her criticism of Israel. Instead of offering support for Omar, I saw Mr. Face Down The Mob pile on – by complaining that conservatives are “not allowed” to criticize her because she’s a black Muslim.
In other words, I think we all know the kind of free speech Carlson and Fox are devoted to – and it’s toxic.
Watch Carlson whine below, from the March 11, 2019 Tucker Carlson Tonight.