There are many things that sound politically incorrect but are demonstrably true. The problem is that a certain segment of America would rather reflexively castigate those who remind us of those facts than actually face them.
For your consideration, I give you one Tucker Carlson. The Fox News host isn’t a stranger to controversy, but usually that controversy doesn’t involve advertisers pulling their spots.
That’s what at least one insurance company is considering doing after his Thursday show.
Carlson was addressing illegal immigrants, whom he noted were “nice people” but had a “high school education or less” and were entering an increasingly automated economy where their skills don’t match the jobs that are available.
“As an economic matter, this is insane. It’s indefensible, but nobody tries to defend it,” Carlson said. “Instead, our leaders demand that you shut up and accept this. We have a moral obligation to admit the world’s poor, they tell us, even if it makes our own country poorer, dirtier and more divided.”
It was the comment about making our country dirtier which seemed to touch off a bit of a kerfuffle — including plenty of calls for sponsors of the program to defect.
I saw you advertise on Tucker Carlson’s show. One of the biggest advertisers of the year, in fact!
Do you agree with his comments that immigration makes America “poorer and dirtier”?
— jordan (@JordanUhl) December 14, 2018
Last night, Tucker Carlson opened his show by saying immigration makes America “poorer, and dirtier, and more divided.”
An offensive, dehumanizing and racist statement.
— jordan (@JordanUhl) December 14, 2018
.@CapitalOne, as a company that markets to immigrants, will you continue to support Tucker Carlson, who said last night that immigrants make our country “poorer and dirtier”?
It seems like a mismatch for your brand. pic.twitter.com/DpEXxDn7UC
— Sleeping Giants (@slpng_giants) December 14, 2018
At least one of those companies has decided it would pull ads — at least for now — and “reevaluate its relationship with his program” — insurer Pacific Life, whose ad ran right after the segment, according to the Washington Examiner.
“One of our ads appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show last night following a segment where Mr. Carlson made a number of statements regarding immigration,” Pacific Life said in a statement published to social media.
A message from Pacific Life: pic.twitter.com/bDq9hzia53
— Pacific Life (@pacificlife) December 14, 2018
“Our customer base and our workforce reflect the diversity of our great nation, something we take great pride in. We will not be advertising on Mr. Carlson’s show in the coming weeks as we reevaluate our relationship with his program.”
The problem is that Carlson isn’t necessarily wrong, at least if the mess left behind by the migrant caravan is any indication:
Tons of trash and clothes left behind by #caravan #migrants at the #TijuanaBorder shelter this morning. #Mexico police moved most of them about 15 miles away from the border yesterday to a different camp @FoxNews pic.twitter.com/bU6tEyEeo0
— Kyle Rothenberg (@kylerothenberg) December 1, 2018
Yes, I understand these individuals have traveled thousands of miles north as part of a political stunt. It’s a small sample and not necessarily representative of illegal immigrants as a whole.
However, this isn’t a normal way to keep a camp in any circumstance. After all, we were told incessantly that this small sample size of illegal immigrants was representative of the whole: women and children, mostly, just wanting to live out the American dream. If you argued that caravan members were a synecdoche for the whole, you have to also conflate the negative aspects of the caravan with the whole, as well.
I would also point out there wasn’t much context to Carlson’s quote. One can perhaps extrapolate that he was talking about the state of the camps at the border, which received a lot of attention. Perhaps he wasn’t. But the mere mention that illegal immigration could theoretically make our country “dirtier” — politically incorrect though it may be — isn’t prima facie false or bigoted.
For now, at least, Fox News is sticking behind the host’s remarks.
“It is a shame that left-wing advocacy groups, under the guise of being supposed ‘media watchdogs,’ weaponize social media against companies in an effort to stifle free speech,” a statement from Fox read. “We continue to stand by and work with our advertisers through these unfortunate and unnecessary distractions.”
Unfortunately, these “unnecessary distractions” seem to pop up a lot — and always from one side. When Don Lemon or Mika Brzezinski says something jaw-droppingly outré, nobody seems to demand their advertisers go away.
Welcome to the modern media war, where one side is permanently weaponized against anything they find disagreeable and the other is expected to take it.
At least we can take solace in one thing: The truth sells. If Pacific Life wants to pull out, I’m sure another insurer will be more than willing to fill the gap.
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