Because of my travel schedule, I was offline for virtually all of Monday. I got back to the hotel room in Miami and saw that the Interwebs had blown sky high with errbody trying to burn Tucker Carlson at the stake for some gross and stupid things he said on a shock jock’s radio show over a decade ago.
Except Tucker isn’t having it. At all. Watch what he said here. Excerpts:
Do I like what he said in a conversation with a shock jock? No. Do I think he should apologize or in any way acknowledge what those prisspots at Media Matters pulled up from ages ago? Not no, but hell no. A world in which political activists and operatives do deep dives into the past comments of public figures to try to ruin them today is a world none of us should want. What actual adult person cares what obnoxious things Tucker Carlson, or any other TV personality, said over ten years ago? Really, who? Freddy Gray is good on this.
What is it about the left today that they try to get people fired for saying things they don’t like? Look at these whiny, malicious girls who are too fragile to be in college:
Students at @SarahLawrence are currently occupying the prez’s office with a list of demands, including this one. Abrams’ “crime” was writing an op-ed in the NYT that these students disagreed with. This sends chills up my spine. pic.twitter.com/0J0kaNmAQD
— Samantha Harris (@SamatFIRE) March 12, 2019
Here’s the whole list of demands. You don’t like what a professor wrote? Write a letter to the editor. Go visit with him to share your views. Don’t try to shut him down and force him to beg for mercy, children. The president of Sarah Lawrence ought to send in the police to drag every one of those privileged brats out of her office, then suspend them for the rest of the semester. If they get away with this, that will tell you everything you need to know about that school.
UPDATE: Conor Friedersdorf comments:
Rod: While I share your concerns about offense archaeology and the awfulness of the culture we’ll inhabit insofar as it continues on its current trajectory, I don’t think you’ve got this quite right. If audio emerged of Rachel Maddow calling into a radio show and calling American Christians, or pro-lifers, or traditionalist conservatives filthy subhumans, I’ll bet you’d be earnestly bothered if you heard about it. If you wrote that it illustrated the pernicious prejudice that her tribe has for yours, I certainly wouldn’t assume that you were being disingenuous. It is both true that the offense archaeologists should stop AND that a decent person would apologize for calling Iraqis filthy subhumans if their words resurfaced in mass media.
I appreciate the comment. I saw just now that a third audio has surfaced. Please don’t misunderstand: I am in no way defending what Tucker said back then, which was gross and offensive. I would not fault him at all if he expressed regret — I have somewhat changed my mind on this from yesterday, when I first posted this — but I deeply sympathize with the urge not to give the SOBs an inch of ground. If something like this comes up about Maddow or someone like her, I hope you (and you readers) keep me honest about this. I’m just really, really tired of activists dragging the past for obnoxious things people said in an effort to destroy them.
I liked what David French had to say about the controversy. After pointing out that Media Matters president Angelo Carusone has his own long-ago transcript problems, French said:
People are still spitting mad at me on Twitter for pointing out that much of the outrage directed at Tucker Carlson is fake. That doesn’t mean Tucker’s comments were in any way decent, responsible, or right. He said terrible things, and I haven’t seen a single person defend the substance of his remarks. But the bottom line is that for most of the online world, revelations of past offensive comments aren’t causes of true anguish but rather instruments of vengeance. They’re weapons to wield against people you already despise. How do we know? Because the double standards abound. There is immense grace for allies and no mercy for enemies.
It will be fascinating to see the response to Carusone’s remarks. I expect they’ll be largely ignored. After all, one way to hide your hypocrisy is to minimize the significance of damning reports and hope no one notices. To the extent they’re not ignored, we’ll see some interesting mental gymnastics. “He’s learned. He’s grown. Tucker hasn’t.”