Yesterday, Tucker Carlson was hit by revelations published by leftwing hate site, Media Matters (MMfA), that he said untoward things while an on-air guest of shock jock Todd “Bubba the Love Sponge” Clem. To get the whole story you need to understand the context. Clem, who is probably most famous for being indirectly responsible for putting Gawker out of business by the three-cushion bank shot of his wife boffing Hulk Hogan on video, specializes in doing things to, oddly enough, shock his audience. And so, we’re told that, despite Clem’s on-air persona, we should be shocked when we find that Tucker Carlson said some things that would be shocking in a different context.
Calls were made for Carlson to commit ritual seppuku, for Fox to condemn him, for his advertisers to pull from his show, and, naturally, for Carlson to engage in public self-abasement. We covered both sides of the issue here. See: Sarah Rumpf, Tucker Carlson Shouldn’t Be Fired, But Why Can’t He Apologize?; Brandon Morse, Tucker Carlson Was Right Not to Apologize, and We Should Follow That Lead; and Jennifer Van Laar, WATCH: Tucker Carlson Tells The Great American Outrage Machine to Take a Hike.
Today, more comments were rolled out, again by MMfA. You can read the good parts at MMfA but I don’t give them links.
There is some stuff in there that is offensive (“Iraq is a crappy place filled with a bunch of, you know, semiliterate primitive monkeys — that’s why it wasn’t worth invading.”) but a lot of what he says is actually true or arguable propositions and only offensive if you are latched onto David Brock’s crotch because your livelihood depends on it:
- “The Congressional Black Caucus exists to blame the white man for everything, and I’m happy to say that in public because it’s true. Everyone knows it’s true.”
- “Everybody knows that Barack Obama would still be in the state Senate in Illinois if he were white.”
- [On Afghanistan] “Well, it’s never going to be a civilized country because the people aren’t civilized.”
- [On Iraq] ” And, you know, the second we leave, they’re going to be calling for us to return because they can’t govern themselves.”
Some of the hits are clearly out of context. His comments on white guys inventing civilization and comparing affirmative action quotas in radio to Jim Crow are inflammatory as quote fragments, but the entire conversation is pretty tame and certainly not racist.
So there will be more cries for an apology from Carlson. This is nonsense. The things Carlson said, particularly coming from a decade ago, don’t merit the angst that is being devoted to them. The purpose of this endeavor is to simply destroy Tucker Carlson. He (for the moment) isn’t apologizing and even pathologically inoffensive house-conservative goobers like approvingly retweeting Ben Shapiro and David French are saying this is bullsh**
— David French (@DavidAFrench) March 11, 2019
The attack strategy on Carlson is dangerous because it applies to anyone who has been public, and offers no chance of explanation or redemption. The chances that public figures haven’t said something problematic over the course of years is effectively zero. So, here’s the deal: if you wanted James Gunn not to lose his job — or Joy Reid, or Sarah Jeong, or Kevin Hart, or Ralph Northam, or a bevy of others who have had old comments “resurfaced” by the scolds of social media – then you shouldn’t be standing with this career assassination attempt against Carlson.
This sort of stuff makes for a worse country. It’s not meant to purify our public discourse. It’s meant to club to death opponents using the convenience of a Google search. The use of the tactic means that only the shameless (people who will never apologize for anything) or neophytes (people who have never said anything) or radical Leftists who will be let off the hook for anything (see Reid, Joy) will be tolerated. That’s the goal. So let’s not pretend Media Matters is making the world a better place. They’re making it a worse one, one fishing expedition at a time.
Last week, Peggy Noonan correctly identified what is going.
In the mid-1960s Mao Zedong, suspicious of those around him, wary of the moves of erstwhile Soviet allies, damaged by a disastrous famine his policies had caused, surveyed the scene and decided it was time for a little mayhem. The problem wasn’t his disastrous ideology, it was, he wrote, “feudal forces full of hatred towards socialism . . . stirring up trouble, sabotaging socialist productive forces.” The party had been “infiltrated” by pragmatists and revisionists. He wrote—it is the epigraph of Frank Dikötter’s “The Cultural Revolution: A People’s History, 1962-1976”—“Who are our friends? Who are our enemies? That is the main question of the revolution.”
He would find and purge his foes, the usual suspects: intellectuals and other class enemies, capitalist roaders, those who clung to old religions or traditions. In “Mao’s Last Revolution,” Roderick MacFarquhar and Michael Schoenhals tell of a Ministry of Higher Education official brought up on charges of enjoying a “bourgeois lifestyle.” He’d been seen playing mah-jongg.
Mao unleashed university and high school students to weed out enemies and hold them to account. The students became the paramilitary Red Guards. They were instructed by the party to “clear away the evil habits of the old society” and extinguish what came to be known as “the four olds”—old ideas and customs, old habits and culture. “Sweep Away All Monsters and Demons,” the state newspaper instructed them.
With a vengeance they did.
In the struggle sessions the accused, often teachers suspected of lacking proletarian feeling, were paraded through streets and campuses, sometimes stadiums. It was important always to have a jeering crowd; it was important that the electric feeling that comes with the possibility of murder be present. Dunce caps, sometimes wastebaskets, were placed on the victims’ heads, and placards stipulating their crimes hung from their necks. The victims were accused, berated, assaulted. Many falsely confessed in the vain hope of mercy.
Were any “guilty”? It hardly mattered. Fear and terror were the point. A destroyed society is more easily dominated.
Stop making me agree with @DavidAFrench, leftist jerks.
— Kurt Schlichter (@KurtSchlichter) March 11, 2019
This is exactly what is going on with Carlson. No one is interested in his apology, most of all not the people who he would be apologizing to. In fact, it isn’t even sufficient to destroy his livelihood. What they are trying to do with this self-criticism session is to force Carlson into ritual self-humiliation as a way of destroying him professionally and trying to force a public agreement from him that the ruin of his career is a just and appropriate punishment for offending the collective.
What makes this impulse to demand an apology from Carlson so transparently partisan is that this standard obviously only applies to a handful of people. While Tucker Carlson was on the air with Bubba the Love Sponge, Virginia’s lieutenant governor was forcibly raping a young woman (I don’t say “allegedly” because #BelieveWomen, y’all). The US House of Representatives wouldn’t bring itself to condemn the raging, spittle-flecked anti-Semitism of one of its Democrat members or to demand an apology from her.
As the Democrat party and left transition from a gentle slide towards socialism straight on to an outright cannonball plunge into totalitarianism, it is no surprise that they are adopting the methods used by the most repressive regimes on the planet.
I hope Carlson and Fox hold firm. This issue is a silly one appropriate to the silly time we are in. But while the time is silly (you can change your gender? really?) it is also dangerous. This kind of public humiliation with the target not only going along but agreeing with the process is poisonous to a free society. Anyone pushing for Carlson to apologize, no matter how high-minded the reason, should stop and consider just how bad faith this whole episode is and think about how long it will be before these cretins come for you.
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