Newly released recordings of Tucker Carlson — the third set made public in as many days — feature the prominent Fox News host joking about having sex with a teenage beauty pageant contestant. In the tapes, Carlson also makes a series of sexist, misogynist and cruel remarks about the young woman, who was a contestant in a 2007 Miss Teen USA competition. ... The unearthed audio is the latest in a series of tumultuous revelations that began Sunday, when Media Matters released audio of Carlson degrading women and flippantly discussing child rape in old radio interviews. On Monday, the group published more audio, this time revealing racist and homophobic remarks he made on the same radio program, which he apparently called in to for an hour every week.
Carlson labels critics a “mob” and refuses to apologize for or even disown comments which included calling Iraqis “semiliterate primitive monkeys” and women “primitive.”
This comes in the wake of Fox News management issuing only a slap on the wrist to host Jeanine Pirro after her grotesque and un-American accusation regarding Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) “Think about it: Omar wears a hijab,” Pirro said. “Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to sharia law, which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?”
While a Muslim producer on Bret Baier’s news show admonished Pirro, we’ve yet to hear denunciations from the “straight news” anchors who complained about Fox’s ostracism from Democratic debates. Advertisers have begun to flee from both Pirro’s and Carlson’s shows, but Fox News for now is keeping them on the air.
Now that we have established that overt, ugly racism and misogyny are not career-enders at Fox News, and in fact are features, not bugs of these shows, I think we can understand why the Democratic Party doesn’t want this outfit moderating its debates. The Fox News organization is now inextricably tied to hateful, racist, hurtful speech, not to mention complete toadyism to President Trump and utter lack of journalistic standards. It doesn’t get an invitation to join “polite company.”
The Republicans who defend Trump, remain silent and in fact champion Fox News and don’t bother to express regret for Rep. Kevin McCarthy’s anti-Semitic allusions — but have the temerity to accuse others of being insufficiently vigilant regarding racism — are morally corrupt to their core. They prove Democrats’ point: One party, however imperfectly, polices its own and condemns hate; another uses it directly and indirectly to stir up its base. Without xenophobia, Trump idolatry and Islamophobia, Fox hosts would have nothing to talk about.
Fox and its apologists tell us that critics of its hosts’ racism and misogyny are part of a insincere outrage industry. This is akin to the excuse that Trump is merely being “politically incorrect” when he expresses racist, xenophobic, misogynistic and Islamophobic views. It’s of a piece with right-wing defenders saying he’s a great president — and his tweets are just “words.”
This is a version of blaming the victim, accusing those hurt by hateful speech of being aggressors and, and turning hatemongers into victims. Indeed, that is pretty much the game plan for Republicans these days: Truth-tellers are enemies of the people; those caught lying are “real Americans.” There are some “very fine” neo-Nazis; Democrats hate Jews. Trump is a persecuted victim; prosecutors are harassing him.
Far from insincere, the reaction to Trump, Fox and the rest of the right-wing propaganda machine is an expression of righteous indignation, a vital part of maintaining a just and decent society. We should be angered by hatemongers, liars, power abusers and others who defile the American creed (“All men are created equal...). Moral numbness and indifference brought us Trump in the first place.
Finally, I would observe that the Republican Party and its right-wing news machine’s attempt to play down women’s righteous anger, as seen in the #MeToo movement and protests over Brett Kavanaugh, was a substantial factor in women’s march out of the GOP, which in turn helped shift the suburbs to Democrats and delivered a historic thrashing to Republicans in the midterms.
You see, the more the Fox-Trump industrial hate complex spews venom and denigrates its critics, the higher the level of righteous indignation rises among all those who feel themselves the sting of bigotry, or are able to empathize with those who do. In this climate, anti-Trump voters don’t lose their determination to throw the haters out. It’s the fuel for the Democratic resistance and the poison that is killing the GOP. It almost makes leaving Pirro and Carlson on air worth it.