By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

But his emails: A working theory of why Tucker Carlson was pushed out by Fox

Tucker Carlson. Photo (cc) 2022 by Gage Skidmore.

It’s going to be a while — if ever — before we know why the loathsome white nationalist Tucker Carlson and his ratings-obsessed enablers at Fox News parted company.

Carlson was far from the biggest on-air liar in claiming that Dominion Voting Systems had rigged the 2020 presidential election for Joe Biden. As Josh Marshall puts it, “If you looked at the material Dominion had assembled the most damning stuff was about Bartiromo, Pirro, Dobbs. Very much the B Team. As odious as he may be, Carlson is quite good at the ‘just asking questions’ shtick.”

Carlson’s internal emails, though, were incredibly embarrassing and damaging, proving beyond a doubt that no one inside Fox believed claims by Donald Trump and his hangers-on about voting-machine fraud. My insta-theory is that Rupert Murdoch fired Carlson in a blind rage after Dominion extracted a nearly $800 billion million settlement.

For those of you who are hoping for a kinder, gentler Fox, you may recall that the firings of Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly a few years ago led to similar dreams. Instead, Fox took a sharp turn from the right toward the far right. I’m not sure a similar move now is even possible unless Carlson is replaced by, say, Alex Jones or Steve Bannon.

Carlson is the big media news of the day, but let’s not overlook Don Lemon, the hapless CNN host who was fired today. Lemon has been on thin ice since making some cringe-worthy sexist remarks on air, but he deserved better than (as he claims) to be cut loose without any communication from CNN management.

For Carlson, it’s been a long, strange devolution from principled conservative to openly racist hate-monger. In 2019, I wrote a piece for GBH News detailing my own experience with Carlson, including a convivial lunch at The Palm in Washington more than 20 years ago. I’ve occasionally wondered what happened to that guy. Maybe he does, too.

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  1. Harry Robinson

    I believe people like you are critics because since you do, or stand for, nothing yourself that is positive or beneficial, you then must rely on the critic of others. This is an age old trick going back centuries in order to promote yourselves by making others look bad with adjectives, adverbs and disparaging nouns. Your use of terms like loathsome white nationalist was the fist key but derogatory logical fallacies are present within your works. I wouldn’t be to bit surprised if you are either a Zionist of Jesuit, probably the former because they seem to be more involved in the MSM and their faux alternative media sites.

  2. Lex Alexander

    If Rupert Murdoch were going to fire Tucker Carlson in a “blind rage,” I’m guessing he would have done it the day Fox settled. We — and I suspect Murdoch — have known for a while that Fox had to settle the Dominion case. And we have known since the texts, emails, and deposition transcripts were made public that it was going to be highly unlikely that Fox would be able to settle that case cheaply.

    Firing both its highest-profile offender and its top-rated host may, possibly, aid Fox in its settlement negotiations with Smartmatic. I’m skeptical. In any event, Carlson has enough money that he’ll get by, and as much of a Nazi as he has become, he would have richly deserved firing even if he hadn’t brought the wrath of Dominion down on Fox.

    As for Don Lemon, yeah, he deserved to get a face-to-face notification that he was being fired, but his firing was richly deserved nonetheless. And there may have been circumstances of which we are unaware that made firing him through his agent prudent.

  3. Bob

    A “loathsome white nationalist” no need to waste your time to read on…

  4. Mike

    Carlson is toast. Too bad. So sad.

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