Tucker Carlson: “Lighten up” about racist Limbaugh statements

During a segment on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, Crossfire co-host Tucker Carlson told fellow co-host Paul Begala to “lighten up” about syndicated radio host Rush Limbaugh's racist comments to an African American caller. When Begala pointed out the offensive comment and questioned President George W. Bush's decision to appear on Limbaugh's show -- particularly in light of the Republican National Convention's Day 2 theme of “compassionate conservatism” --Carlson dismissed his concerns and Limbaugh's racist statement, calling Limbaugh “pretty amusing.”

From the August 31 edition of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360:

BEGALA: The problem is, for the second day in a row, George W. Bush is undermining the central message of this very well-scripted and well-executed convention. ... Tonight they want to show compassionate conservatism, what does Bush do? He goes on The Rush Limbaugh Show, not exactly the home of compassion. Rush Limbaugh famously once told an African American caller, and I'm quoting him here, “Take that bone out of your nose.” Not exactly a people-of-compassion kind of statement. You can't have it both ways ...


CARLSON: Hold on. Settle down. Lighten up. It's not a kook radio show. Look, you know the guy's telling jokes. I mean, I must say if there's one issue that divides the parties -- it's not a race issue, that's a pretty tired throwback, I think that stopped working in about 1984 -- Hold on, lemme just say one thing. If there's one issue that divides the parties, it's humor. You have on the one side this kind of relentless, harsh, grim, dour humorlessness, and on the other side, you know, I don't know Rush Limbaugh, whatever you think of him, he's pretty amusing.

As Media Matters for America previously noted, Bush referred to Limbaugh as his “good friend” during his August 31 appearance on The Rush Limbaugh Show despite Limbaugh's history of vitriol and distortions. (Click here for those documented by MMFA.)