Two Fox News commentators are coming under fire for expressing their opinions.
Old audio of Tucker Carlson making xenophobic and misogynist remarks on the “Bubba the Love Sponge” radio show are making the rounds on cable news and being played especially big on left-leaning MSNBC.
Meanwhile, Judge Jeanine Pirro may or may not be suspended (Fox won’t comment despite Pirro’s absence on the air) after intimating that U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar could be a Muslim extremist who puts Shariah law ahead of her duty to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States.
By the way, Christian fundamentalists who serve in government and use their religion to deny citizens access to services, such as the Kentucky court clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples because her religion forbade homosexuality, are practicing Shariah law. They just don’t call it Shariah law; they call it “being a good Christian.”
But we digress . . .
Carlson was a regular on Bubba’s shock jock-style radio show in the days before he became a prime time Fox star, and Carlson’s comments fit right in with that style of show. He called Iraqis “primitive monkeys,” he defended convicted FLDS prophet Warren Jeffs, he excused adult FLDS men marrying underage girls as not really being statutory rape by saying it’s not “the same thing exactly as pulling a child from a bus stop and sexually assaulting that child,” he said that women “need to be quiet and do what you are told” and that women are “extremely primitive.”
All of the above is reprehensible and has no place in today’s discourse.
However . . .
We believe Carlson has the right to hold those views, no matter how abhorrent we personally find his position. And we really dislike the coordinated campaign to harm Carlson’s livelihood by calling for an organized boycott of the sponsors of Carlson’s show on Fox.
Organizing boycotts is another way of stifling free speech, and we can’t condone such action. What we’d much rather see is individuals opt to not tune into his program. If enough people simply turned the dial, advertisers could then decide whether to remain or leave. Individuals deciding whether to listen or not should be the only consequence of speech, not mob rule.
A number of people have made inappropriate comments (usually in the form of an attempted joke) in the past and, having become enlightened to the harm their statements may have caused, have apologized and stopped making those types of comments. Those people should not be constantly pilloried for statements from which they have learned and improved.
Such is not the case with Carlson, who continues to make prejudicial statements on his show on a regular basis. His behavior, however, does not excuse equally poor behavior by the mob seeking to harm him for his opinion.
We believe the same applies to Pirro. We’re not big fans of Omar — we find her comments to be anti-Semitic and are troubled by the Democrats’ unwillingness to directly confront her about that apparent prejudice — but disliking Omar’s comments doesn’t justify the mob’s attack on Pirro’s equally offensive statements.
One last thought on this gaggle of no winners: We actually have a tiny bit more respect for Carlson than for Pirro because Carlson refuses to apologize — he’s standing by his beliefs (no matter how evil we think those beliefs are). Pirro, on the other hand, always apologizes after her abhorrent comments but then goes right back to making vile, racist statements again, making it appear she truly has no contrition.