If you’re not a fan of radio shock jocks. you may not be familiar with Todd Clem, aka Bubba the Love Sponge, a friend of Howard Stern who rose to nationally syndicated prominence with stunts like “No Panties Thursdays.” Legal troubles stemmed from some of those stunts, including the time he slaughtered a pig on air (he was acquitted of animal cruelty).

Fox News host and alt-right favorite Tucker Carlson, however, is very familiar with Bubba. According to unearthed recordings from media watchdog organization Media Matters, Carlson used weekly calls to Clem’s show from 2006 to 2011 as an opportunity publicly degrade prominent female journalists, celebrities and politicians.

Carlson, Media Matters reports, “diminished the actions of Warren Jeffs, then on the FBI’s ’Ten Most Wanted Fugitives’ list, for his involvement in arranging illegal marriages between adults and underage girls, talked about sex and young girls, and defended statutory rape.”

When the calls started in 2006, Carlson was an established print journalist with a stint at The Weekly Standard and a television pundit with primetime shows on CNN and MSNBC under his belt.

He may have had the misfortune of being accused of “hurting America” by Jon Stewart in a 2004 appearance on Crossfire, as Jason Zengerle recounted in The New Republic in 2010, but Carlson was well liked enough that his turn from writer to Fox News personality was met, as Lyz Lenz described in a 2018 Columbia Journalism Review analysis of Carlson’s career, “with the same pearl-clutching, righteous tone they use when discussing their aunt in Connecticut who voted for Trump.”

And that was the reaction to his on-air rants against Hillary Clinton or his disparaging The New York Times for their coverage of the Russia investigation. What Media Matters found was much worse:

He referred to Martha Stewart’s daughter Alexis Stewart as ‘cunty,’ called journalist Arianna Huffington a ‘pig,’ and labeled Britney Spears and Paris Hilton ‘the biggest white whores in America.’ ” He also said that women enjoy being told to ‘be quiet and kind of do what you’re told’ and that they are ‘extremely primitive.’

He even found time to degrade Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan just before her confirmation, not for her views, but for her physical appearance, saying, “I do feel sorry for her in that way. I feel sorry for unattractive women. … physically, the problems with her are fundamental. She’s never going to be an attractive woman.”

Referring to Jeffs, Carlson downplayed the Utah polygamist’s actions, claiming  the child-sexual assault charges against Jeffs were “bullshit,” and adding “arranging a marriage between a 16-year-old and a 27-year-old is not the same as pulling a stranger off the street and raping her.” Jeffs is currently serving a sentence of life plus 20 years.

This is not Carlson’s first unflattering audio moment of 2019. In February, Now This released audio of Carlson telling Dutch historian Rutger Bregman that Bregman has a “tiny brain” and should go “fuck himself,” after he suggested that the world’s wealthiest should pay higher taxes on Fox’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” show, audio Fox had previously declined to air. In a Fox News video response, Carlson said the segment didn’t air because of the cursing but defended his word choice as “entirely accurate.”

In response to the latest reporting, Carlson once again defended his actions, saying, on Twitter,  “Media Matters caught me saying something naughty on a radio show more than a decade ago. Rather than express the usual ritual contrition, how about this: I’m on television every weeknight live for an hour. If you want to know what I think, you can watch.”

Read the full Media Matters story here.


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