Fox News: Should Carlson be fired?
“It is high time” for some soul-searching at Fox News, said Max Boot in The Washington Post. Over recent days, the liberal watchdog Media Matters for America has been leaking audio clips of star Tucker Carlson “saying reprehensible things” on Bubba the Love Sponge’s radio program between 2006 and 2011. Carlson called women “extremely primitive” and Iraqis “semiliterate primitive monkeys”; joked about sex with underage girls; used the “C-word”; and said “white men” deserve credit for “creating civilization.” Amid widespread calls for his firing, Carlson portrayed himself as a victim of a liberal “mob” and refused to admit his comments—which delighted white supremacists—were wrong. His Fox colleague Jeanine Pirro caused a similar furor when she questioned Rep. Ilhan Omar’s allegiance to the Constitution because the Minnesota Democrat wears a hijab. Pirro was reportedly suspended but not fired. Why? Do Fox News’ “advertisers and network bosses, from Rupert Murdoch on down” really want to be complicit in injecting Carlson’s and Pirro’s “poison into the body politic”?
“I don’t like many of Tucker Carlson’s ideas,” said David French in NationalReview.com. But as with other targets of the outrage police, “we should respond to his arguments with arguments of our own,” not by demanding that his life and career be destroyed or boycotting his advertisers. Bear in mind, Media Matters spends “millions of dollars and countless man-hours” searching for “gotcha” audio and video clips, old tweets, and 10-year-old writings to destroy prominent conservatives. Its goal: To silence voices it doesn’t want to hear. “Our nation cannot maintain its culture of free speech if we continue to reward those who seek to destroy careers rather than rebut ideas.”
People offended by Carlson and Pirro should simply boycott advertisers who pay to support their hatred and bigotry, said David Zurawik in The Baltimore Sun. That’s not censorship. “Why should any advertiser place an ad on a show that insults and demeans huge demographic groups of potential customers,” including women and anyone who isn’t white? Fox News finds itself in a “pickle,” said Erik Wemple in The Washington Post. On one hand, it clearly wants to please President Trump and his “legions” of fans. On the other, “obeisance to the president and adherence to his values pose certain problems” with advertisers. Thirty-plus have already abandoned Carlson. For Fox, it’s now become a matter of “striking a perilous and shameful balance” between these two constituencies. ■