It’s been amply established that the far right has a very warped definition of “martyr.” We got another reminder of this over the weekend, when some of the most deplorable of the deplorables wasted little time making a hero out of a now-former writer for Tucker Carlson. And they got an inadvertent assist from Carlson himself.
On Saturday, Fox News revealed that Blake Neff, the lead writer on “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” had resigned after CNN exposed a trove of racist, sexist, and homophobic bile that he’d posted on the AutoAdmit message board. Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and president Jay Wallace issued a burning condemnation of Neff’s remarks.
One has to wonder why Fox News even allowed Neff the option of resigning. When you carry on a five-year hatefest on an Asian woman, use racist language to refer to doctors of color performing LASIK surgery, and use racist imagery to rate your fellow commenters, you forfeit the right to even appear to be going decently. By all rights, Neff should have been fired, escorted out of the building, and told that his things would be mailed to him.
But at least Fox News got one thing right. There was no defensible reason for Neff to be on the payroll when the work week began. But even that step of decency was too much for several elements of the far right, who wasted no time making Neff a martyr for their deplorable cause.
For instance, white nationalist YouTuber Scott Greer wailed that Neff’s ouster was another case of “cancel culture” run amok.
Jason Kessler, the organizer of the infamous “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, noted that Carlson was due to address Neff’s ouster on Monday night–and was effectively doing so with a gun to his head.
White nationalist podcaster Nick Fuentes claimed that Neff’s ouster was more proof Fox News was trying to become like the mainstream media.
Bernie-or-Buster turned Gateway Pundit writer Cassandra Fairbanks begged right-wing media outlets to consider taking Neff on.
So the far right thinks a guy who spews this kind of hateful garbage is a martyr. And they wonder why we call them deplorable?
When Carlson spoke on the matter on Monday night’s show, he may have unintentionally given ammunition to the elements who are promoting Neff as a martyr of cancel culture. Media Matters’ Andrew Lawrence got a clip.
Carlson upbraided Neff for forgetting that “we judge people for what they do, not for how they were born.” In a colossal understatement, Carlson noted that Neff had “paid a heavy price.” But Carlson couldn’t leave well enough alone. He scolded those who applauded Neff’s ouster as “ghouls now beating their chests in triumph at the destruction of a young man,” and contended they had no right to “pose as blameless in order to hurt other people.”
Excuse me, Tucker? The comments Neff made have no place whatsoever in any civilized society. If we call it out for the bile that it is, how does that make us “ghouls”? And if you’re concerned about “the destruction of a young man,” what of that woman whom Neff smeared for five years? He actively encouraged other posters to invade her privacy. If we call that out, how does that make us “ghouls”?
If it sounds like Carlson spent a lot of time attacking Neff’s critics, it’s no accident. Blogger Seth Abramson posted a tally of how many words Carlson devoted to the topics he covered in his monologue.
When you spend almost twice as much time attacking those who called out a racist jerk as you do condemning said racist jerk, something is very wrong.
And what makes it even more egregious is that there is a near-mathematical certainty that those who are trying to make Neff a martyr are going to use Carlson’s words to back their cause. The mere fact that anyone is trying to make Neff a hero says a lot about the state of our country’s discourse–and it isn’t good.
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