Dumping Carlson: When They Say It's Not About The Money, It's About The Money
It wasn't his nightly rants, his contempt for American democracy, his racism, his willingness to spread ludicrous conspiracy theories. It was the money.
When Tucker Carlson was making money for Fox, boss Rupert Murdoch was perfectly fine with his star carnival attraction. But when Carlson started costing money, the Australian gave him the ax.
And Carlson did turn into one expensive date, costing Fox three-quarters of a billion dollars in its settlement with Dominion Voting Systems. The case against Fox centered largely on internal communications revealing that Carlson knew full well that the dangerous lies he was spreading about Dominion were dangerous lies. Murdoch likes money quite a lot.
Carlson was also into money, and getting paid $20 million a year to debase his country apparently seemed a fair deal. He would study audience numbers to determine which streams of insanity drew the most viewers and then drill down on them, all the way to hell.
Carlson professed to hate Donald Trump and the bizarre cartoon characters populating Trump world. And he knew full well that the 2020 election went to Joe Biden. But he pounded night after night on the big lie that "the outcome of our election was seized from the hands of the voters."
After all, there was profit in it. Losing viewers to competitors willing to indulge the fantasy that Trump won meant losing money.
There was also money in making excuses for the thugs who beat up police during the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Spreading the nutty theory that the insurrection was an FBI false flag operation surely added to the revenue stream, even as it stunned law enforcement. "FBI operatives were organizing the attack on the capital," is how he put it.
Carlson's bashing of efforts to get Americans vaccinated against COVID mainly hurt those who believed him. Not nice, and forgive my lack of compassion here, but these were willing victims.
Tucker's profanity-laced comments about his bosses at Fox couldn't have endeared him to the brass. You have to be one confident lad to say such things about the higher ups.
Signing off his 8 p.m. ET show on Friday, Carlson said, "See you on Monday." But come Monday, he was so thoroughly erased that there was no goodbye. A lesser Fox personality popped into his spot, opening with a short, passionless "wishing him well." It was clear at that point that Carlson had been disappeared, as the Soviets would say.
I tuned in at 8 p.m. to make sure that Carlson was really gone, and he was. His replacement was there playing the same angry tape about transgender people and Hunter Biden.
Let me briefly interrupt this discussion to put in a good word for another news channel firing — that is, the defenestration of Don Lemon at CNN. The precipitating factor seemed to be his on-air opinion that Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley was "past her prime." He dug the hole deeper when he added that "a woman is considered to be in her prime in her 20s and 30s and maybe 40s." That was worse than sexist. It was immature.
But back at Tucker Carlson. One of his extremist rants pushed The Great Replacement Theory, the belief white workers were being replaced by immigrants "of color," whom, he said, make America "poorer, dirtier and more divided."
How little did he know that an immigrant would be coming for his job. It was an Australian who apparently liked money a lot more than he liked his highest-rated host. In sum, Carlson had become a drag on the bottom line.
What incredible change will Fox make next? Drop the lies about the 2020 election is one suggestion.
Follow Froma Harrop on Twitter @FromaHarrop. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Froma Harrop and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.
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