Which leads me to this question: how are Carlson’s comments helpful to any cause that he and his fans support? Carlson obviously cares about ratings and keeping his job, but he also evidently cares about advancing some set of values and ideas he and his fans regard as worthwhile. Right?

How do his musings on Bubba Love Sponge’s show further that mission? How does it make his ideas more palatable or attractive? Does it bolster the pro-life movement? Will it strengthen his hand in the 2020 campaign? Or does that even matter?

Carlson now insists that he is standing on principle and, as we know, his fan base loves the fact that “he fights.” But fight for what?

Let’s be clear here: his appearances on Bubba’s show were not about “ideas,” or certainly not ones that he wants to defend now. The Oxford Debating Society this was not; Carlson’s riffs were more Tourette’s than Demosthenes; more shock jock than William F. Buckley. He mocked minorities, crudely insulted women, and seemed to minimize the seriousness of child rape. His rants were so over the top that even Bubba seemed taken aback at times.