In an unanticipated parting, Fox News bid adieu on Monday to Tucker Carlson, its preeminent broadcaster, using a succinct four-line valediction acknowledging his tenure as a host and contributor. As the catalyst for the unexpected severance remained veiled, the statement’s indication of Carlson’s final appearance on Friday, April 21st, implies an abrupt resolution.
The disclosure follows a multi-million-dollar settlement less than a week prior with Dominion, a voting machine supplier. Dominion’s legal team procured internal communications from Fox personnel, unveiling Carlson’s duplicity: on-air, he echoed ex-President Trump’s fallacious allegations of election fraud in 2020; privately, he dubbed certain claims as “absurd.” Furthermore, a post-Capitol siege email revealed Carlson’s avowed enmity toward Trump. Fox’s settlement with Dominion obviated the need for prominent figures to testify.
An additional lawsuit looms, involving another voting machine supplier, while Carlson himself faces a damages claim. His former show producer alleges a toxic work environment, citing it as the impetus for her marginalization. She contends that Carlson and his colleagues routinely engaged in sexist and racist commentary.
At 53, Carlson’s extensive career traversed an array of American media outlets, spanning both the conservative and liberal spectrum, prior to his 2016 debut on Fox’s highly anticipated evening program. Boasting journalistic stints with prestigious publications such as The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, he later joined the ranks of left-leaning television networks CNN and MSNBC. Carlson, representing the right-wing stance, was a prominent figure on CNN’s Crossfire, a program that staged political discourse between the left and right. In an unforgettable October 2004 encounter, satirical Daily Show host Jon Stewart lambasted the program live on air, deploring its detrimental effect on America while deriding Carlson’s youthful visage and signature bow tie. Crossfire, along with Carlson’s contract, was subsequently terminated mere months later.
In the wake of Trump’s 2016 election, Carlson emerged as one of his most fervent advocates, albeit interspersed with occasional criticism, and an unrelenting wellspring for presidential tweets. As a tireless crusader in the culture war opposing the left, transgender individuals, and asylum seekers, Carlson became the chief proponent of the Great Replacement theory, which posits that the “left” endeavors to supplant white Americans with non-white counterparts. This theory profoundly influenced Trump’s migration policies.
The quintessential Carlson approach involves cloaking opinions in interrogative statements. Adopting a slightly agape mien to feign astonishment, he dissects ultra-conservative talking points through rhetorical inquiries: “Is it true? We cannot be certain. Nevertheless, these are legitimate questions.”
In 2021, Carlson renewed his Fox contract, granting him the latitude to produce separate broadcasts. One controversial special, titled “The End of Men”, focused on the challenges faced by modern males, advocating the use of red lights targeting the scrotum to enhance diminishing testosterone levels. The Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives granted him exclusive access to footage captured during the Capitol insurrection. Carlson’s edited portrayal transformed the violent siege into a seemingly innocuous sightseeing excursion by inquisitive compatriots. Of late, his commentary fervently opposed U.S. backing for Ukraine.
Fox’s conservative rival, Newsmax, declared that Carlson’s departure signified his refusal to align with the media establishment to which Fox belongs. Following the announcement, Fox’s stock price plummeted by 5%.