By Ollie Gratzinger | Opinions Editor
As time goes on, it gets harder and harder to find any redeeming qualities in the cesspool that is Fox News. From accusations of editorializing news stories with a right-wing twist to alleged sexual harassment, the network’s bigwigs face a list of controversies that could span a country mile. Now, conservative commentator Tucker Carlson is adding even more vitriol to the mess; Media Matters for America, a non-profit media watchdog, has unearthed recordings of Carlson making crude, racist and misogynistic comments time and time again, from 2006 to 2011.
Media Matters reports that he’d called into a “shock jock radio program” by the name of the Bubba the Love Sponge Show, during which he’d banter with the host about a wide array of offensive topics. Carlson cited “that feminist crap” as a reason he disliked Democrats, called Iraq “a crappy place filled with a bunch of … semiliterate primitive monkeys,” referred to Canadians as Americans’ “r——-d cousins” and said he didn’t like Michelle Obama because she could “turn into a sister.”
There was also a recording of him and Bubba the Love Sponge using the homophobic f-slur. Bubba says, “I like you. I mean I’m not trying to f-g out on you or nothing, but I like you. I like you.” Carlson responds, “Well I like you too, and I mean that. You always say, ‘I mean that in a non-fag way,’ but I actually mean it in a completely f—-t way.”
In 2008, after saying women were “like dogs” in that they could smell weakness, Carlson said, “I mean, I love women, but they’re extremely primitive, they’re basic, they’re not that hard to understand.”
Years of calling into the Love Sponge’s vulgar talk show have yielded a slew of horrid comments targeting almost every marginalized community one can think of. Women, LGBTQ+ folks and people of color were frequent targets of Carlson’s animosity, or the butt of humorless jokes. The flippancy and utter disregard is alarming to say the least. What’s more alarming is Carlson’s staunch unwillingness to admit that he was wrong.
Had he expressed regret, one might be able to begin to understand an argument in his defense. People can change in a decade. It wouldn’t excuse any of the awful, beyond distasteful things he’d said, but one could at least be inclined to believe that he’d experienced some sort of moral growth in the past 10 years. But if anything, he decided to play the part of a victim — which he surely is not. He went so far as to claim victimhood at the hands of some sort of implicitly liberal mob aiming to destroy Fox. And, of course, the network sided with Carlson.
It’s 2019. I say that a lot, and I always follow it with reasons why social conservatism ought to be a thing of the past. But in doing so, I’ve been assuming that morality strengthens and empathy grows as time ticks on; I’ve assumed a linear interconnectedness between civil progress and the passage of months into years. It seems clear now, though, that such an interconnectedness cannot exist as long as people like Carlson are given a platform.
I didn’t expect better of Fox. They don’t want to censor Carlson, because in doing so, they might alienate a large chunk of their audience who might agree with some of the virulence coming out of his mouth.
Fox is the president’s favorite network, and it’s barely a hop, skip or jump away from a full-blown right-wing propaganda station, keen on spreading misinformation. But it’s also the most-watched network on cable, three years running.
This might be able to be chalked up to the fact that mostly older people watch television while the younger generation gets their news elsewhere, and older folks tend to be more conservative, but that’s almost beside the point. No one ought to give time or credence to a so-called “news” network that throws its full weight behind supporting a man who thinks diversity initiatives are worse than Jim Crow. At that point, the difference between Fox and its more left-leaning counterparts is not political. It’s moral.
Supporting unconditional equal rights shouldn’t be a partisan issue. It shouldn’t be “liberal” to believe that it was disgusting for Carlson to call women “primitive” and “like dogs.” Regardless of political affiliation, anyone with a thinking head on their shoulders and a feeling heart in their chest should know that it’s wrong to berate Iraqis as “semiliterate primitive monkeys.”
The Daily Stormer, a white supremacist site, called Carlson their “biggest ally,” and former KKK Grand Wizard David Duke has praised him on Twitter. If that doesn’t alarm you, if you aren’t concerned that Fox News is supporting the same guy as a KKK leader, you’re probably part of a bigger problem.