Three high profile departures in three major networks in the United States in less than 24 hours marked a significant shift in US media’s landscape. Late April, Fox News Network abruptly announced primetime host Tucker Carlson is leaving the network effective immediately that’s just days after the Fox News Corporation settled a legal battle over accusations that Fox News hosts including Carlson aired false election claims. Likewise, CNN host Don Lemon tweeted he’d been fired after 17 years at the network adding “it is clear that there are some larger issues at play.” Lemon had been criticized for controversial comments he made about women and aging on air.
Also, the NBC Universal fired its Chief Executive Officer, Jeff Shell after admitting to an inappropriate relationship with a woman at the company.
What’s behind Fox’s decision to let its highest rated prime time host go so suddenly? Tucker Carlson for more than six years has been a force in the prime-time cable news landscape. He remains a champion for the Trump era Republican Party, a bullhorn for conspiracy theories and Fox News most popular personality. In an unexpected announcement on April 24, Fox News abruptly severed ties with Carlson with a terse statement saying that “they agreed to part ways adding we thank him for his service to the network.
Lies have consequences.
The announcement comes less than a week after fox settled an historic defamation lawsuit agreeing to pay more than $787 million to Dominion Voting Systems for the network’s role in promoting lies about election fraud in 2020 you’ve heard a lot over the past few days about the security of our electronic voting machines. Carlson was a key figure in that case pushing those false claims and conspiracy theories on Fox’s airwaves despite admitting in private that he didn’t believe what Trump and his team alleged. In private conversations with colleagues, Carlson even called Mr. Trump “a demonic force” in a text message late on January 6th, 2021, according to a court filing. Still, he staunchly defended the former president and his supporters after the January 6th attack on the US Capitol. Carlson has repeatedly and falsely argued that the insurrection was actually “a false flag plot” and that the defendants charged for breaching the Capitol are in fact “victims the DOJ” has been allowed to prosecute in jail hundreds of nonviolent political protesters whose crime was having the wrong opinions. With help from House Speaker, Kevin McCarthy, the former Fox News host aired selectively edited security camera footage to promote his case “they’re not destroying the Capitol they obviously revere the Capitol over the years.”
Carlson’s outrage-driven monologues have drawn scrutiny for amplifying and promoting anti-Semitic, racist, homophobic, and xenophobic narratives. Carlson has also promoted the so-called Great Replacement Theory – a racist conspiracy theory about a covert effort to replace white populations in majority white countries. The great replacement theory is not only a conspiracy theory but an electoral strategy.
Carlson’s unexpected departure drew celebration from the left as the news broke during the daytime talk show even as his departure from Fox News raises many questions about the right-wing network’s future. Brian Stelter, a media critic is convinced Carlson’s ouster is related to the Dominion lawsuit and all the messages that were emerging publicly like Carlson calling Trump a demonic force and a destroyer.
Fox New was able to read from Carlson’s phone privately that was never seen in public that was redacted and there’s hundreds and hundreds of pages of redactions that’s part of the public record with the court so whatever Carlson was saying privately whatever he was texting that’s been redacted by Fox that’s probably what led to his ouster now. There’s also a pending lawsuit from a former Fox producer who’s accused Tucker Carlson of having a misogynistic sexist workplace harassment. Put all that together and there was ample reason to remove him from the show.
Tucker Carlson’s departure from Fox News is in part an admission of the systemic lying, bullying, and conspiracy mongering peddled by the television station.
Tucker Carlson was basically controlling the Republican Party whatever he wanted he got. Kevin McCarthy gave him the surveillance tapes from January 6th. He surveyed all the GOP prospective 2024 nominees and they all responded to his survey. Tucker Carlson has really evolved over his two decades in television journalism. He was a symbol of the most inflammatory right-wing rhetoric, but he didn’t start that way. He started really with MSNBC and his ideological transition speaks volumes of the transformation of the Republican Party due to the radicalization of not all but some members of the Republican Party.
Carlson has been a big part of promoting conspiracy theories and an alternative reality where there’s always an evil doer, an enemy around the corner, oftentimes an immigrant or a Democrat out to get you. That’s the story he was telling every single night and millions of people seemed to believe him because they came back for more, he was unlike almost everything else on even Fox News. He was kind of an island to himself.
What happens to the Republican Party with Tucker Carlson abandoning Fox News network? Arguably, the Republican Party’s biggest microphone and one of the biggest supplies has been cut off. Fox will figure out how to replace him maybe they’ll choose a less conspiratorial, less paranoid host but the show will go on. Fox has an addicted and very loyal audience that frankly many other media companies would love to have but they do that through hyper partisan programming that actually misleads and distorts the public’s perception.