Tucker Carlson's Refusal to Apologize Is the 'Fox News Brand'

Photo Credit: AP/Shutterstock
March 13, 2019

By Spencer Feingold

Two days since audio of Tucker Carlson making crude and offensive remarks were released online, the Fox News host shows no signs of remorse.

But Carlson’s strategy of no apology and no backing down is all part of the “Fox News brand,” Aidan McLaughlin, the managing editor of Mediaite, told Cheddar on Wednesday.

It’s “part of the Roger Ailes, Fox News brand that you never apologize,” McLaughlin said. “You don’t back down from making comments because that is succumbing to the liberal mob.”

Carlson has been under fire since Media Matters for America, a progressive media watchdog group, released audio from Carlson’s appearances on the "Bubba the Love Sponge" radio program from 2006 and 2011.

In the clips, Carlson makes sexist remarks and inappropriate comments about underage girls ー he even defends Warren Jeffs, the former leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, who was sentenced to life in prison on two felony counts of child sexual assault.

Carlson also called Iraqis "semi-literate primitive monkeys" for whom he had “zero sympathy," adding that Iraqi culture is one "where people just don't use toilet paper or forks.” He also credited “white men” for “creating civilization” and is heard using homophobic slurs.

“The stuff is pretty horrifying and offensive,” said McLaughlin, whose site covers the intersection of media and politics.

Carlson: “We will never bow to the mob”

After the initial audio release, Carlson refused to apologize or, as he put it, “express the usual ritual contrition.” He instead promoted his nightly program, saying in a statement: “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.”

McLaughlin added that the “idea that Fox News or Tucker Carlson would apologize to Media Matters is absurd on its face,” citing the years-long feud between the organizations.

Media Matters has long waged a public campaign against Fox News as part of its effort to monitor right-wing misinformation in the U.S. media. The group has targeted several other prominent Fox anchors, including Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity.

The heat on Fox News comes as the network ramps up its efforts to court advertisers and alleviate concerns about recent controversies, which also include comments by host Jeanine Pirro that questioned the patriotism of Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) because she wears a hijab. (In that case, Fox News distanced itself from the remarks, saying they "do not reflect those of the network.")

So far, multiple advertisers have pulled out of Carlson's show, including the global pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and Sheex, a bedding and sleepwear brand.

“What brings in the money is the opinion hosts, they’re the people that bag 4 million viewers on a really good night," McLaughlin said, adding that the timing could not be worse for Fox News with its "first big event with advertisers” scheduled for Wednesday morning.

Media Matter organized a protest outside the Fox News headquarters in New York to coincide with the meeting between network executives and advertisers.

“Let's make sure ad buyers know in person what they're sponsoring when they advertise on Fox News: bigotry and hate,” Media Matters said in a statement. The demonstration was supported by other major advocacy groups, including the Women’s March and United We Dream.

On Tuesday, Carlson praised Fox News for supporting him and stood by his refusal to apologize, vowing “we will never bow to the mob ー ever. No matter what.”

“It mimics the Trumpian view that if you apologize, you’re backing down,” McLaughlin said.

For full interview click here.