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What 'unearthed' audio from Tucker Carlson has to do with Tampa's Bubba the Love Sponge

Media Matters for America published a reel of Carlson calling into the popular shock jock's radio show and making numerous sexist and disturbing comments.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this March 2, 2017, file photo, Tucker Carlson, host of "Tucker Carlson Tonight," poses for photos in a Fox News Channel studio in New York. Some advertisers say they are leaving conservative host Carlson's show following his remarks referring to immigrants as “the world’s poor.” It’s the latest example of sponsors leaving a Fox News Channel show after controversy, but experts say the flap is likely to blow over. So far, the biggest advertisers are sticking with him and his show, “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

TAMPA, Fla. — Earlier this week, Media Matters for America published a highlight reel of misogynistic and disturbing comments Fox News host Tucker Carlson made to a Tampa based-radio show.

The outlet dropped the unearthed audio from 2006-2011 on Monday. In it, Carlson is heard calling into Bubba the Love Sponge's show suggesting underage marriage isn't the same as child rape and "diminishing" the allegations against Warren Jeffs, who was on the FBI's most wanted list for involvement in arranging illegal marriages for underage girls.

Jeffs, the former leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is currently serving a life sentence for child rape.

Carlson also called rape shield laws "totally unfair" and described women as "extremely primitive." He used words like "pig" and the c-word to describe women.

In a statement to the Washington Post, Carlson said Media Matters caught him "saying something naughty on a radio show more than a decade ago."

"Rather than express the usual ritual contrition, how about this: I'm on television every weeknight live for an hour," Carlson said, referencing his show on Fox News. "If you want to know what I think, you can watch. Anyone who disagrees with my views is welcome to come on and explain why."

Warning: The following video contains explicit language.

But what is Media Matters for America, and what does Carlson's audio have to do with Tampa's popular shock jock?

Media Matters for America

The progressive outlet, launched in 2004, is a non-profit "progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation" in the U.S.

The video quickly went viral on Monday and has since garnered more than 4 million views. 

Media Matters President Angelo Carusone retweeted Carlson's statement, saying "The reason we released this is precisely because the things you say on your Fox News show echo the misogyny displayed in those clips." 

Tucker Carlson

Carlson has hosted his nightly conservative political talk show on Fox News since 2016. Tucker Carlson Tonight was among the top programs in cable news for October 2018, according to Nielsen ratings.

Carlson was employed by MSNBC before joining Fox News in 2009. According to Media Matters, he spent about an hour a week calling into Bubba the Love Sponge's show. During his call-ins, Bubba and Carlson discussed a range of topics including celebrities and politics.

Bubba the Love Sponge

Bubba, born Todd Clem, first came onto the Tampa Bay area radio scene in the 1990s with "Power Pig" on 93.3 FM. By 2008, He was making more than $2 million a year.

In 2016, his home on 98.7 WBRN was no more. His loyal fans of the "Bubba Army" can still listen to him online.

Since the 1990s, Clem has been involved in plenty of controversies and numerous lawsuits involving animal cruelty, ratings tampering and a scandal involving wrestler Hulk Hogan.

IN 2001, he and his crew at 98 Rock were arrested after they broadcast the castration, slaughter, and barbeque of a wild boar. They were later acquitted.

Three years later, Clem was fired from Clear Channel Communications after the Federal Communications Commission cracked down on segments including cartoon characters discussing sexual activities.

Clem was also accused of recording then-wife Heather Clem having sex with Hogan in his own bedroom. Hogan settled with the Clems but then sued Gawker Media for publishing the video on their website.

A jury awarded Hogan $140 million, which led to Gawker's demise.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, Bubba moved out of his Tierra Verde mansion last weekend and is temporarily staying with his mother and stepfather in Pasco County. The Times said Bubba has communicated with Carlson since the audio clips went viral.

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