Apologies to whom?

Let’s stipulate for the sake of argument that the comments Tucker Carlson made years ago are offensive.  Does Mr. Carlson owe the country or his audience an apology, as has been frequently urged?   I believe he does not, as we owe apologies only to those we have wronged.  It is hard to imagine anyone listening to the Love Sponge being offended by Mr. Carlson’s comments, harder still to imagine someone remembering them and bearing any scars years later.   As to his viewers, for myself, I’d rather he hadn’t decided to appear on the show.  I don’t understand some of his comments.  But it is hard to see him circa 2006-11 owing anything to viewers of a show not yet in production.  Without an obligation to someone, it’s hard to see how you owe them an apology, however much you might regret the past.

A detractor might argue he owes an apology because of the wrongness of what was said, regardless of whether anyone remembers or was offended -- if you do the wrong thing, you apologize, whether anyone notices or cares.  I think that’s right, to a point.  Tucker could, if so inclined, ask God for forgiveness.  But we all do bad things and everyone knows it.  Maintaining we ought to apologize to each other for all of them conjures a world in which we all wear a Scarlet A and constantly offer unwanted pleas for forgiveness.  That may be the world the Left wants, at least when it comes to conservatives.  If true, I hope they say so.

Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, said his organization brought the comments to public attention because he believes they illustrate Carlson’s mindset and the underlying basis for the opinions he expresses on his show.  To my knowledge, he hasn’t attempted to show how this is true with any specificity.  His restraint seems understandable, as it is hard to see any single case where there is a strong connection between the two.  To the extent that he brought public offensive long-buried comments without a substantive basis, it is he who owes the public an apology, not Tucker Carlson.

Let’s stipulate for the sake of argument that the comments Tucker Carlson made years ago are offensive.  Does Mr. Carlson owe the country or his audience an apology, as has been frequently urged?   I believe he does not, as we owe apologies only to those we have wronged.  It is hard to imagine anyone listening to the Love Sponge being offended by Mr. Carlson’s comments, harder still to imagine someone remembering them and bearing any scars years later.   As to his viewers, for myself, I’d rather he hadn’t decided to appear on the show.  I don’t understand some of his comments.  But it is hard to see him circa 2006-11 owing anything to viewers of a show not yet in production.  Without an obligation to someone, it’s hard to see how you owe them an apology, however much you might regret the past.

A detractor might argue he owes an apology because of the wrongness of what was said, regardless of whether anyone remembers or was offended -- if you do the wrong thing, you apologize, whether anyone notices or cares.  I think that’s right, to a point.  Tucker could, if so inclined, ask God for forgiveness.  But we all do bad things and everyone knows it.  Maintaining we ought to apologize to each other for all of them conjures a world in which we all wear a Scarlet A and constantly offer unwanted pleas for forgiveness.  That may be the world the Left wants, at least when it comes to conservatives.  If true, I hope they say so.

Angelo Carusone, president of Media Matters, said his organization brought the comments to public attention because he believes they illustrate Carlson’s mindset and the underlying basis for the opinions he expresses on his show.  To my knowledge, he hasn’t attempted to show how this is true with any specificity.  His restraint seems understandable, as it is hard to see any single case where there is a strong connection between the two.  To the extent that he brought public offensive long-buried comments without a substantive basis, it is he who owes the public an apology, not Tucker Carlson.