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Last week, Tucker Carlson found himself in hot soup after being exposed for his delusional, racist beliefs in a series of audio recordings released by Media Matters for America. In the tapes, Carlson made bigoted and blatantly white supremacist remarks on a radio show hosted by Bubba the Love Sponge, including remarks denigrating immigrants and women. In response to the backlash, Carlson’s weak apology was centered on avoiding responsibility by claiming he was just “joking” and labeling critics as the “mob”.
The incident prompted the typically reserved Lawrence O’Donnell to respond in a passionate and brutally honest manner during his MSNBC show, “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell”, tearing apart the ugly beliefs behind Tucker Carlson’s vile rhetoric. In his opening monologue, O’Donnell displayed a disgusted expression as he highlighted how Carlson’s mentality is rooted in white supremacist ideology. “Tucker Carlson is as close as you get on television to the white supremacist, Nazi apologist,” O’Donnell explained.
O’Donnell’s reaction should not be considered surprising, given the weight of Carlson’s verbal racism. The anchor laid out the destructive implications of such demented views and how they feed into the larger crisis of America’s racist culture. He expressed disdain not only for Carlson’s comments, but also for the cowardice displayed by his colleagues who failed to challenge his extremism.
O’Donnell highlighted how Carlson comfortably positions himself as a champion of white nationalism and has signaled to like-minded individuals through his program, providing them with a megaphone to spew their hate-filled beliefs. Dissecting the mainstream media’s role in propagating Carlson’s ill-natured agenda, O’Donnell outlined how the likes of Bret Baier, Chris Wallace, and Sean Hannity have enabled Carlson’s hateful ideology.
“By any objective standard, he is a racist, just like the audience he is playing to,” O’Donnell stated. He explained how Carlson’s program is akin to a “safe space” for white supremacists to congregate and that by promoting Carlson’s views, the other Fox News hosts are giving the racists and xenophobes the permission to run rampant.
The way O’Donnell presented the truth was no less than a thunderbolt, highlighting how Carlson’s vile mentality flies in the face of American values and heritage. He didn’t spare words in describing how Carlson’s ongoing descent into racism has been consciously fueled by the conservative movement in America.
“CNN hired Tucker Carlson after he was fired from MSNBC,” O’Donnell recalled during the show. “Why did they do that? Because this white supremacist version of conservatism that Tucker Carlson had developed was appealing to a lot of people.”
O’Donnell exemplifies an increasing number of figures who are driven by the need to speak out against the discriminatory behavior that Carlson and other members of the conservative right are fostering. He clearly believes that the toxic behavior that manifests in Carlson’s program is not only harmful but dangerous. He made clear that fighting these destructive elements in our society should be considered a top priority, not an option.
It is not strange that in the aftermath of Carlson’s appalling remarks this week, we saw a surge of public figures stepping forward with renewed focus in denouncing the hateful agenda such comments represent. We saw how CNN’s Don Lemon drew widespread attention when he called Carlson out by name, declaring that he was “on the wrong side of history.” Rep. Rashida Tlaib embedded the issue of racist discourse within her broader critique of President Donald Trump, whom she criticized for creating an all-too-common culture of hate.
In conclusion, it’s apparent that O’Donnell believes that societal silence towards Carlson’s racism is not only foolhardy but a dangerous slippery slope. His impassioned response during his show was a call to action that we should all heed, that the discriminatory behavior that is sold under the cover of “conservatism” needs to be challenged, exposed, and removed from any platforms that propagate it. Hopefully, more persons in the media with access to the public ear will follow O’Donnell’s lead and apply significant pressure for bigotry-cloaked-as-punditry to be discontinued.