Fox News announced this morning that the network had severed ties with Tucker Carlson who attracted the biggest audience for the network during his nightly 8:00pm show. The network said that starting today, his time slot will be hosted by a rotating panel until a permanent host is found. A clue that the parting was not amicable can be seen in the fact that Fox said that his last show was the one he gave last Friday, which means that he will not be given the opportunity to say farewell to the many racist, bigoted, and white supremacist fans that tuned in to watch his daily message of hate. His ended his show on Friday saying “We’ll be back on Monday”. Famous last words.
I am as surprised by the development as anyone. While the lawsuit brought by Dominion had devastating internal messages by him that undoubtedly contributed to Fox settling for a massive $787.5 million instead of going to trial, he was by no means the only one fingered as systematically lying. Since the network was not required by the settlement to give an on-air apology, I thought that they would simply go back to lying as before, except leaving Dominion out of it and being more careful not to name entities that were powerful enough to sue it. In other words, just basically stick to their business model of pandering to racists and bigots by attacking marginalized groups.
Although he was an odious influence on political discourse in the US, it would be premature to celebrate this as a change for the better. Remember that Carlson replaced the awful Bill O’Reilly after the latter was sued by women for sexual harassment. We thought that O’Reilly was bad but Carlson turned out be even worse. So I am not hopeful that Carlson’s replacement will be any better. They could well be even more awful. With Fox, there is no bottom of the barrel to be scraped. It just sinks further and further into the ooze.
So why was Carlson fired? There is clearly more to this story and the other shoe will undoubtedly drop within the next few days. One story is that Rupert Murdoch ordered the firing due to the lawsuit filed on March 20th, 2023 against Fox, Carlson, and senior executives by Abby Grossberg, a producer of Carlson’s show, who has said that Fox and Carlson created a toxic environment in the workplace by using sexist, misogynistic, and antisemitic language. (You can read the lawsuit here.) It may be that more details of that lawsuit as a result of the discovery process will soon be coming out. (Seemingly coincidentally, CNN has fired one of its presenters Don Lemon who has also made sexist comments in the past.)
Another possibility that has been raised is the 60 Minutes news program that aired last night about “Ray Epps, a Trump supporter from Arizona whom Carlson has repeatedly claimed, without evidence, was an undercover FBI agent during the January 6 insurrection”.
It may be that Fox, not wanting to deal with yet more legal headaches, has decided to get ahead of this by preemptively firing Carlson. We’ll see.
This cartoon captures well the dynamic between Fox presenters like Carlson and its viewers.
I don’t feel sorry for him. Carlson is wealthy unlike the people who suffered the most from his lies
“I am as surprised by the development as anyone.”
Favourite comment I’ve seen:
“I did Nazi that coming.”
I guess I’m an optimist because one of my first thoughts was that maybe they’re transitioning back to dog whistle racism and Carlson has (probably correctly) identified this as tanking his brand. He’s now the “you don’t have to hide your racism and neo-nazi sympathies” guy and that’s why he’s popular. Anything that tones that down would probably have a serious impact on his popularity. And let’s face it, he probably has an offer from OAN already.
Raging Bee says
And let’s face it, he probably has an offer from OAN already.
And a better counteroffer from RT.
Raging Bee says
Okay, that’s one prediction of mine coming true:
Removing this carbuncle from public discourse is fabulous news. I’m sure he will find a new spot to hawk his fascist persecution schtick, but the Russian tankie audience will be so disappointed to see him gone from Fox.
It’s definitely a plus that the various right-wing GOP grievance ninnies no longer have a pet idiot to push their lies on a national network TV misinformation show.
Nearly. There are excesses of stupidity and bias that even Fox fears to indulge in, and this niche is where OAN and similar live.
Both Tucker Carlson and Don Lemon (let go by CNN today) have hired Bryan Freedman. An entertainment lawyer who is known for cutting a deal for some money for big figures after they are fired. Getting some money out of the companies for going away quietly. And really the Dominion case may not be done for Carlson yet, his ex producer is involved in the potentially criminal investigation of Fox not producing evidence.
I have no idea how much leverage Carlson has in this situation. His ability to make Fox News look worse is limited but he can certainly drag out the mud slinging if he wants. His interest in landing another job also matters as it would get in the way to have an open lawsuit for something while he is working for a competing company. So there are a lot of ways this could go.
“We’ll be back on Monday.”
His final lie on Fox.
Marcus Ranum says
He’ll probably trade a settlement for a non-compete, which may mean we’ll have a few years without him to kick around.
In my fantasy world they would replace him with Bill Maher, who would promptly debase himself.