We Could See Tucker Carlson's Split With Fox Coming

AP Photo/Richard Drew

I have a new job idea for Tucker Carlson and whoever Fox News sent packing with him — and no, it’s not replacing Don Lemon at CNN.

It’s a simple request. Tell us the story of January 6 and the “Fedsurrection,” as some call it, that you didn’t tell us before.

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One could tell that the wildly anticipated January 6 insights by Carlson appeared to shake the Fox News suits to the core. Carlson was given access to thousands of hours of video recordings from the January 6 protest and riots. Viewers expected multiple nights of exposés.

Instead we got 1.4. The next night, a chastened-looking Carlson gamely led his show with something else and only later gave an update on the January 6 information.

The good news was that the horn-wearing “Q Anon Shaman” was freed from prison as a result of Carlson’s revelations. The bad news was that the January 6 Committee and the Department of Justice already knew Jacob Chansley was a non-violent trespasser on January 6 but put him in prison for political reasons anyway.

And except for some follow-ups with Chansley’s attorneys and mother, there wasn’t much else said about it.

Carlson said in a podcast after his show aired the revelations that he couldn’t say more because he couldn’t identify some of the more suspicious players seen on the January 6 videos. He said it wouldn’t be fair to single them out.

He aired the video of the unknown pipe bomber, too, but doesn’t know who that is, so you’ll forgive my skepticism, even though Carlson cited noble journalistic reasons for pulling his punches.

Fox couldn’t argue that Carlson was irrelevant — far from it. He was getting more than three million viewers per night. His show was one of deep insights. He’d just recently featured Elon Musk in a discussion of Artificial Intelligence. He’s spoken with former President Trump. He was at the top of his game.

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But the January 6 revelations, I believe, are the chief reason why Tucker Carlson and Fox News “parted ways.”

It’s possible Carlson was at the vortex as the living embodiment of Sen. Chuck Schumer’s axiom about Donald Trump. “Let me tell you, you take on the intelligence community, they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you,” Schumer said of Trump back in January 2017. “So even for a practical, supposedly hard-nosed businessman, he’s being really dumb to do this.”

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Carlson’s January 6 coverage coincided with the battle within Rupert Murdoch’s family to re-make Fox News. Earlier this month, taxpayer-funded National Public Radio ran a report on this pitched family battle after son James Murdoch had a falling out with the family. The development left Lachlan basically in the driver’s seat. That’s what second-generation inherited wealth does to a kid.

Rupert named his eldest son, Lachlan, as CEO of the Fox Corp. in 2019. Lachlan is, Rutenberg notes, “actually more conservative than his father.” Meanwhile, James has been “horrified by what he sees as a turn toward Trumpism by Fox News.”

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Meanwhile, it’s news that Lachlan is “more conservative” than his father.

NPR reported:

It sounds like the plot of the HBO series Succession, but New York Times journalist Jim Rutenberg says the real-life drama involving Fox News founder Rupert Murdoch and his children, Lachlan, James, Elisabeth and Prudence, rivals anything a screenwriter could dream up.

“I … have always suspected that the Succession writers have some mole in the family, because it’s just too many things they seem to know,” [reporter Jim] Rutenberg says. “It’s just got all the drama you want in television, but democracy hinges on its future.”

It’s also clear that the Dominion defamation lawsuit against Fox News and the extraordinary $700 million settlement to the voting machine maker had a role in Carlson’s ouster. Though Carlson never threw in with the “it must be the machines that lost Trump the 2020 election!” crowd — indeed, he pooh-poohed the theory in private text messages revealed during discovery — he did interview people who thought it was the case. Newsflash: that’s not actual malice. Fox should have held out for a trial or settled sooner. Pick one, Lachlan.

The New York Times related the messages in which Carlson once said he “passionately” hated Donald Trump.

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“Sidney Powell is lying by the way. I caught her. It’s insane,” Mr. Carlson wrote to Ms. [Laura] Ingraham on Nov. 18, 2020.

Ms. Ingraham responded: “Sidney is a complete nut. No one will work with her. Ditto with Rudy.”

Mr. Carlson continued, “Our viewers are good people and they believe it,” he added, making clear that he did not.

The messages also show that such doubts extended to the highest levels of the Fox Corporation, with Rupert Murdoch, its chairman, calling Mr. Trump’s voter fraud claims “really crazy stuff.”

On one occasion, as Mr. Murdoch watched Mr. Giuliani and Ms. Powell on television, he told Suzanne Scott, chief executive of Fox News Media, “Terrible stuff damaging everybody, I fear.”

On that point, I’ve interviewed people whom I don’t believe. I’ve interviewed members of Scientology and the Westboro Baptist Church. That doesn’t mean I’ve thrown in with them. Hell, if TV shows were said to be in league with their guests then most news reporters, Jerry Springer, and Oprah wouldn’t have careers.

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But back to Fox.

Dan Bongino also had a parting of the ways with Fox last week. He no longer has a Saturday night “Unfiltered” show and is no longer a Fox News contributor. Bongino said on his program that he didn’t think the two partings had any connection whatsoever.

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“I don’t think these two incidents are related at all,” Bongino said after his initial “shock” was over. This is “an earthquake in the cable news ecosystem…I’m in shock” he told his audience on Monday.

Tucker Carlson was on Fox since 2009. That’s a long time in TV. The Washington Post printed his Fox News cv:

Carlson joined Fox News as a contributor in 2009. He served as a co-host of the weekend show “Fox & Friends Weekend” from 2012 to 2016. But it was in primetime that Carlson became a star, eclipsing 9 p.m. host Sean Hannity as the network’s most-watched host. In 2022, “Tucker Carlson Tonight” averaged 3.32 million total viewers and received the largest audience in all of cable news with the coveted 25-to-54 age demographic.

Carlson took over the 8 p.m. prime time spot after Megan Kelly left for the legacy media and flamed out when she said a wrong word about Halloween costumes.

Today, Kelly has a popular and remunerative podcast. Maybe Carlson will end up doing that, but let’s hope he gets done with his investigation into January 6 before he makes the jump.

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The news about Carlson was surprising to all. Fox News was still running Tucker Carlson Tonight promos on its air after the announcement.

It’s doubtful Tucker Carlson will make the jump to CNN, either. Monday, after the Carlson/Fox News announcement set the internet on fire, CNN announced it was firing Don Lemon for his boorish and dumb behavior, providing an opening of some kind over in that disastrous hellscape of a once-decent news network.

Goodbye Tucker Carlson. For me, you were the only reason to watch.

The big question now being asked is: Who will Lachlan get rid of next? As one of my Twitter friends alluded:

Budlight: I know how to destroy the entire company.

Fox News: Hold my beer.

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