It’s been kind of lovely. I haven’t spent a single moment considering conservative loudmouth Tucker Carlson since Jon Stewart made him look like an utter ass on Crossfire in 2004. But apparently, Carlson’s moved his shtick to the web, or more specifically a website called The Daily Caller. There, he and his crew published a story that spurred a correction request. It happens to the best of us. No big deal, right? But oh how the brothers Carlson handled it.
Sadly, too many women face misogynistic garbage like this far too often. http://t.co/yCVEZ4waPV— Amy Spitalnick (@amyspitalnick) March 25, 2015
This is the tweet of Amy Spitalnick, Director of Public Affairs for NY Mayor Bill de Blasio, who requested the site correct a story about her boss. You can read the full e-mail thread at Buzzfeed, but here’s the gist. In response to her correction request, Tucker’s staff tells her to stop being “whiny” and “annoying” or they’ll ignore her. Amy forwards this e-mail to Tucker Carlson, The Daily Caller’s founder and thereby the person who sets the tone for the site. He replies:
Thanks for your email. You believe our story was inaccurate and have demanded a correction. Totally fair. We are going over the transcript now.
What Bedford complained about was your tone, which, I have to agree, was whiny and annoying, and I say that in the spirit of helpful correction rather than as a criticism. Outside of New York City, adults generally write polite, cheerful emails to one another, even when asking for corrections. Something to keep in mind the next time you communicate with people who don’t live on your island.
Then Carlson’s brother Buckley in an effort to give is bro many virtual high-fives writes:
“Great response. Whiny little self-righteous bitch. “Appalling?”
And with such an ironic name, too…Spitalnick? Ironic because you just know she has extreme dick-fright; no chance has this girl ever had a pearl necklace. Spoogeneck? I don’t think so. More like LabiaFace. “
Buckley’s response is vilely misogynistic at every turn, and homophobic to boot. First with “whiny little self-righteous bitch” then doubling down, reducing her to a sexual object because everything is always all about dick. Spitalnick can’t just be no-nonsense, or even a “bitch.” She has to be suffering from “dick-fright” and “LabiaFace” (patent pending).
So okay, Buckley’s terrible. But so is Tucker. His is the kind of “subtle” sexism that many women have to deal with daily on the job. Buckley essentially writ large what Tucker’s email suggested.
I know, calling Spitalnick “whining and annoying” or his faux-friendly “helpful correction” seems like nothing next to Buckley’s bile. But consider the context. Buckley only intended his repulsive comments to be read by his brother. By contrast, Tucker e-mailed a professional he must have to work with regularly in a tone that essentially says, “Mind you manners, bitch.” It’s smugly condescending and unprofessional at best, and grossly misogynistic at worst.
Look. I’ve had PR reps email me about corrections. And yes, often their e-mails are a little friendlier than Spitalnick’s was to The Daily Caller. However, if they weren’t—it wouldn’t matter. I’d still be in the wrong, and would still be responsible for correcting my article.
The funny thing is, Carlson’s crew is right about one thing: Tone matters. Maybe Spitalnick would have gotten more flies with honey. But more importantly, if these men knew how to keep their misogyny in check, we wouldn’t need to consider the Carlsons at all.
Kristy Puchko can’t even sometimes.