- Fox News host Tucker Carlson is facing intense criticism over decade-old comments he made disparaging women, immigrants, black people, and others on a “shock jock” radio program.
- The clips were unearthed by a 24-year-old researcher at the progressive watchdog group Media Matters for America.
- The Fox host refused to apologise for the offensive comments on Monday, saying the audio releases are an attack on free speech.
Fox News host Tucker Carlson is facing intense criticism over decade-old comments he made disparaging women, immigrants, black people, and others on the “shock jock” radio program “The Bubba the Love Sponge Show.”
The inflammatory clips were unearthed this week by 24-year-old researcher, Madeline Peltz, who works for the progressive watchdog group Media Matters for America, The Washington Post reported Thursday.
Peltz, who works the night shift, is on the Carlson beat.
Every night, she watches his 8 p.m. program, during which the controversial conservative regularly makes headlines with views many find offensive. And after watching and listening to hundreds of hours of Carlson, Peltz developed an argument that Carlson is “a mouthpiece for white supremacists,” who celebrate many of his arguments about immigrants and people of colour.
Peltz points to dozens of Carlson’s claims as part of her argument, including that immigrants make America “poorer and dirtier, and more divided,” that immigration amounts to “demographic replacement,” and that diversity has made the US less “cohesive.”
“It’s clear in the editorial choices that he makes that he covers demographic change as basically the end of white people,” Peltz told The Post. “As someone with one of the largest platforms in media, he frequently portrays himself as a victim. And that’s a long tactic of white nationalists, going back all the way to the civil rights struggle in the South.”
The Media Matters gig is Peltz’s first job. She lives in a the basement of a Washington house, which she shares with five roommates and a handful of pets, she told The Post.
Media Matters, which has for years examined conservative media and shed a light on misinformation spread by right-wing websites, is particularly critical of Fox. Carlson hit back at the group on his show this week, calling it a “bully” and “a George Soros-funded lobbying organisation whose sole mission is to punish critics of the Democratic Party,” referring to the progressive philanthropist.
But Soros hasn’t donated to Media Matters in many years, the group’s president, Angelo Carusone, told The Post. The group’s $US14 million budget is funded by other private donors.
Carlson suggested this week that the group shouldn’t be a tax-exempt nonprofit, and encouraged his audience to take that up with the Internal Revenue Service. And he attacked Carusone for using slurs referring to transgender people, people of Japanese descent, and Jews on a 2005 blog that Carusone says was intended to mock a “right-wing blowhard.”
The Fox host refused to apologise on Monday, saying the audio releases are an attack on free speech.
“Media Matters caught me saying something naughty on a radio show more than a decade ago,” Carlson said in a statement. “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.”
Carlson’s radio show comments touch on a side range of subjects, but his sexually-explicit comments about women have stood out. In the clips, Carlson suggested he’d like to have sex with a teen beauty pageant contestant, defended convicted child rapist Warren Jeffs, and called women “extremely primitive.”
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