Fox News’ Tucker Carlson became the network’s star after Bill O’Reilly fell from grace as sexual harassment and misconduct allegations emerged (and re-emerged) against him. But now, after Media Matters uncovered a slew of disturbing comments from Carlson made in the last decade or so displaying blatant misogyny, racism, homophobia, and repeated apologies for statutory rape, the pundit’s position at the top of the bastion of conservative news may be seriously under threat.
Conservative writer Max Boot on Tuesday joined the voices of those calling for Carlsonto be ousted from his network, writing an op-ed for the Washington Post demanding that he leave immediately.
Pointedly, he noted that if Fox keeps Carlson around, it will prove it has lower standards than Breitbart.
“After the far-right provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos defended pedophilia (specifically, sexual relationships between adult men and 13-year-old boys whose organs are ‘mature’), he was forced to resign as a Breitbart editor,” wrote Boot. “Tucker Carlson, by contrast, has not even been publicly reprimanded by his superiors at Fox News after the liberal watchdog group Media Matters for America unearthed his vocal support for a child rapist — among many other sick statements he made between 2006 and 2011 during conversations with a radio shock jock who calls himself ‘Bubba the Love Sponge.'”
Boot noted that Carlson had been conspicuously unapologetic for his comments.
He continued: “Carlson’s defenders point out that his conversations with Bubba the Love Sponge occurred years ago and not on Fox News. But he defended statutory rape — female teachers having sex with underage boys — as recently as a 2015 podcast. And on his Fox News show, Carlson regularly rages against immigration and diversity. In December, he said that immigration ‘makes our own country poorer and dirtier.’ White supremacists have become avid fans of Carlson; the white supremacist website Daily Stormer called him ‘literally our greatest ally.'”
Boot concluded by adding that the host certainly has “a right to say whatever he wants — but he doesn’t have a right to say it on the most-watched cable channel in the country. He needs to go. Now.”
The piece comes in stark contrast to the take from conservative writer David French at the National Review, who argued that while he found Carlson’s view problematic, he was more concerned about Media Matters’ tactics for going after conservatives.
But in the wake of the conservative outrage directed at Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), insisting that her recent criticisms of U.S. support for Israel relied on anti-Semitic tropes, the right-wing has little maneuverability to now claim that Carlson’s plain on-the-record bigotry in his career as a commentator is somehow irrelevant.