How they talk about us

Joan Walsh at The Nation on Tucker Carlson calling her a cunt.

…nine years ago, Carlson called me the C-word to a Salon intern, multiple times, and told the young man I needed to get “fucked.” I remember it because of the firestorm it caused in our small office.

The intern, Ethan Sherwood Strauss, remembers it too, telling Washington Post media reporter Erik Wemple that he’d called to ask Carlson to do an opinion piece about President Obama (I don’t remember that detail, and, assuming it’s true, I apologize for our news judgment), when, out of nowhere, Carlson began calling me the C-word and sharing his views on my sex life. Strauss, understandably, was shocked, and told his supervisor what happened. 

Uproar. They wondered if they should write about it.

It was appalling, but was it newsworthy? Maybe; Carlson had moved to Fox News the year before. One problem was that Strauss didn’t tape the call, and when he called him back to confirm, Carlson denied it. His supervisor called too—she recently shared with me an e-mail she sent to a friend that afternoon. “I talked to Tucker Carlson on the phone for a half hour about how he called Joan a ‘c****’ during a conversation w/one of our interns and is now pretending like he didn’t.”

The other appalling fact is that, on another level, it wasn’t that newsworthy. The year before, disgraced Fox host Bill O’Reilly told me I had “blood on my hands” and spewed other personal invective, because I had defended the murdered abortion provider Dr. George Tiller (whom O’Reilly slandered as “Tiller the baby killer” for years). A few months before that, former GOP House majority leader Dick Armey told me he was “so damn glad you can never be my wife because I surely wouldn’t have to listen to that prattle from you every day” during a routine MSNBC debate about the economy. Another day, another threatened right-wing man insulting a liberal woman in the coarsest personal terms.

Been there, seen a lot of that.

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