Fox News host Tucker Carlson refused to apologize after clips from old radio interviews, in which he made controversial remarks about women and child rape, were circulated on social media Sunday.
Tucker Carlson is an entertainer, first and foremost
By Tim Young
Tucker Carlson isn't a politician, he isn't trying to win anyone's vote and he certainly isn't someone who has ever held himself out as the moral high ground on free speech. He's an entertainer — and a good one at that.
Tucker knows how to get the people who agree with him to cheer and quote him to their friends. Conversely, he knows how to get the people who disagree with him to jeer and — also — quote him to their friends.
I say all of that to say this: What's the point of bringing up what he, or any other entertainer, said over a decade ago on a "shock jock" radio show? The answer is simple. There has been a new trend in politics since 2016 for mobs of left-leaning people on social media to try to end the careers of people they disagree with.
It's not enough to use free speech to argue anymore; the goal posts have shifted and the new concept is to take away the ability for someone to make a living.
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Carlson said things that were not only par for the course for shock jock radio a decade ago, but also pretty much expected to be heard from the genre. The comments were heard by hundreds of thousands of people then and have been publicly available forever since. They could have been brought up when he was an employee of other networks and not a top political commentator on Fox News, but they weren't.
Now that he has one of the largest and most successful platforms in the world to share his viewpoint from, these quotes were pulled out in an attempt to get his advertisers to abandon his show or for Fox News to fire him. Those who disagree with Carlson wouldn't step up to argue with him on his show about what he said; rather, they chose to dredge up something in an attempt to silence him by taking away his ability to make a living.
Even if Tucker apologized for what he said, it wouldn't make a difference to those who are pushing for this narrative. They don't actually care about what he said on shock jock radio; they care about what he says on his show every night and the influence he has on American politics as an entertainer. And they won't settle for anything less than his silencing — which will never happen.
There are actual issues in America that people should care about. It's cheap and lazy for the left to focus on what Carlson said on the "Bubba The Love Sponge" show in the previous decade instead of what he says every night on his Fox News show.
What others are saying
Tucker Carlson, Twitter: "Media Matters caught me saying something naughty on a radio show more than a decade ago. 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."
Erik Wemple, The Washington Post: "We know from the published record that the Tucker Carlson on the audiotapes is the real Tucker Carlson. There’s a lot more where they came from, in other words. Fox News, too, knew all about it — or, at the least, should have. ... Over the years, Fox News has built its audience in scandalous increments: A host or contributor says something dumb or distasteful; liberal America screams its denunciations; Fox News benefits from the conservative counter-reaction to the backlash."
Donald Trump Jr., Twitter: "For comments made on the 'Bubba The Love Sponge' show. Obviously a serious policy show where no satire would be made. The left is not going after Tucker Carlson for any reason other than he's effective at destroying its agenda. That's what the left does."
What our readers are saying
Why are we shocked at anything Tucker Carlson dude says or does for that matter? He justifies and supports a guy who makes up words like "covfefe." At this point, nothing should be surprising about Carlson.
— Adrianne Locke
Carlson's always seemed sleazy to me, and smug and irritating. I'm not at all surprised by his comments a decade ago — or the fact that he is a star on Fox News.
— Barbara Blackburn
I'm sorry, but look at the show in which these comments were made; a "shock jock" show from over a decade ago. Some people want to go crazy over this, but when the tables are turned to someone they follow, you'll hear "people change over time." If people change over time, mature, change their points of view, then hunting for immature comments in the distant past is nothing short of hypocrisy in action.
— Faith M. Martin
Did not like Carlson before, do not like him now. Nothing he says is shocking anymore, and his show has zero value.
— Sandi Clark
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tucker Carlson is another victim of the leftist mob: Today's talker