On Sunday evening, the watchdog group Media Matters for America released a montage of Fox News host Tucker Carlson calling into a shock jock radio show with misogynistic comments, including the claim that women are “extremely primitive.” Now Media Matters has produced recordings of Tucker expressing his fair share of racist observations in his call-ins to the Bubba the Love Sponge Show.
In comments from 2006 to 2011, Carlson said that immigrants should be “hot” or “really smart,” asking if “people [who] come over and pick lettuce” are “going to build, you know, a stronger country 20 years from now?” He tried out the “primitive” insult again, saying that Iraq is populated by “semi-literate primitive monkeys.” The Fox News host also said that he had no respect for Iraqi culture, “where people just don’t use toilet paper or forks.” During the 2008 presidential campaign, he claimed that, “Everybody knows that Barack Obama would still be in the state Senate in Illinois if he were white.” Carlson denied the existence of racism in 2008, in an exchange in which Bubba described white women with “jungle fever” as “mud sharks.” You can listen to the audio here.
Carlson also relayed white nationalist rhetoric, including the claim that white men are responsible for “creating civilization.” In 2006, a decade before the election of Donald Trump, Tucker imagined a president who would blame “lunatic Muslims who are behaving like animals” and who would say, “I’m going to kill as many of them as I can if you elect me.”
After Carlson’s misogynistic comments were unearthed on Sunday, he released quite the non-apology: “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.”
The response appears to be evergreen. In the last year, Carlson has promoted white nationalist propaganda about white settlers in South Africa; given a shout-out to the deplatformed site VDARE, which has been described as white nationalist; and given an anti-diversity rant that Don Lemon called racist. In December 2018, Carlson said that immigrants made America “poorer and dirtier and more divided,” causing advertisers including Samsung, Pfizer, IHOP, and Pacific Life Insurance to pull their spots from his show. Again, Carlson did not apologize, dismissing the exodus as an attack on free speech: “We plan to say what’s true until the last day.”
It’s unlikely that these call-in recordings will bring about Carlson’s last day at Fox News, a network known for defending its hosts. About an hour before Media Matters for America’s second montage of Carlson’s bigotry, Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple reported:
This post has been updated.