Media Matters president and far-left activist Angelo Carusone has blamed being bullied as a kid, “gross and horrible” Republicans and a failed attempt at satire for hateful and inflammatory comments he made in the past about everything from transvestites to Jewish people.
“The posts are gross content. Yes,” Carusone told CNN’s Brian Stelter. “I grew up as the overweight gay kid in all-boy school. Bullying/abuse was relentless and basically awful until one day I fought back and it stopped. That experience had a major effect on my trajectory and my life, especially the fighting back part.”
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Carusone told Stelter that attempt to fight back “took many forms,” including a blog he wrote while in college. Daily Caller reporter Peter Hasson recently unearthed the old blog, exposing that Carusone used hateful rhetoric against a series of groups despite leading a campaign against Fox News host Tucker Carlson for things he said on a radio program several years ago.
Carusone has a long history of attacking conservative media members, but he chalks his own controversial comments up to a failed attempt at satire.
“The entire context and tone of the site was intended to be a giant obnoxious right-wing caricature, a parody of a right-wing blowhard living my life. It’s awful and grotesque, which was sort of the point. But, it didn’t work. I wasn’t really good at it and it wasn’t really me,” he said. “I stopped it after a short while and found better ways and more constructive ways to channel my energy.”
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The Daily Caller – which was co-founded by Carlson – posted screen images of Carusone’s old blog. The report also indicated the Media Matters honcho also “downplayed a male basketball coach’s alleged sexual and physical abuse of his female players” and even used an ethnic slur.
Nowadays, Carusone’s site is often filled with content attacking conservative voices for their own rhetoric – but he finds himself in a situation similar to the one he often creates for others.
“I’m not excusing it, but the circumstances around it and the specific context that all these posts were written in that are important to understanding why they’re like that,” Carusone told CNN. “I don’t speak or write like that.”
Carusone went on to claim that his old blog was intended to underscore “just how gross and horrible right-wing blowhards are.”
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The Daily Caller report also indicated that Carusone made anti-Semitic comments about his then-boyfriend and once praised then-West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd, a Democrat and former high-ranking member of the Ku Klux Klan, as one of his favorite public figures, writing: “In his lunacy, we trust.”
Mediaite’s Caleb Ecarma doesn’t buy Carusone’s “questionable” excuse.
“Carusone’s old posts are written in cheeky, mid-2000s blogspeak, but there is no obvious indication that they are satire,” Ecarma wrote.
Carusone has led numerous boycott attempts but famously opted against taking action after hateful rhetoric from MSNBC host Joy Reid’s pre-fame blog was unearthed.
In addition to Carusone’s old comments making headlines, Carlson also has hit Media Matters over its non-profit status.
“In its original tax application to the IRS, Media Matters claimed that the American news media were dominated by a pro-Christian bias and that they were needed to balance it. Despite the obvious absurdity of this claim, the group received non-profit status. It has been violating the terms of that status ever since,” Carlson said on Tuesday night.