Tag: tucker carlson
Elon Musk

Is Elon Musk's Twitter Seeking To Displace Fox News On The Far Right?

Fox News served for years as both the undisputed central hub of the right-wing media and a primary power center for the Republican Party, but the network is now in a vulnerable position. Fox’s record settlement with Dominion Voting Systems both cost its parent company dearly and put its corruption on public display, while its sudden firing of star host Tucker Carlson triggered denunciations from right-wing commentators and an ongoing ratings collapse. With Roger Ailes dead, Rupert Murdoch ailing, and Carlson out, the network lacks a strong leader with influence over the right.

The time is ripe for a challenge to Fox’s supremacy – and it’s getting one from an unexpected quarter. Elon Musk, the reactionary billionaire who took over Twitter in October 2022, is positioning the social media platform to supplant Fox within the right-wing echo chamber.

Musk won over the far right by unwinding Twitter’s policies on hate speech and disinformation and returning former President Donald Trump and other banned right-wing extremists to the platform. That set the stage for a recent spate of high-profile developments.

Earlier this month, Carlson announced on May 9 that he was planning to take some version of his show to the platform. Then on Tuesday, the Daily Wirerevealed that its popular video podcasts, hosted by right-wing commentators like Ben Shapiro, Matt Walsh, and Michael Knowles, will follow suit. And on Wednesday night, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis launched his long-awaited presidential bid in a Twitter Spaces event featuring Musk and fellow venture capitalist David Sacks.

These figures are reactionary ideologues unified by their eagerness to use right-wing power to crush their perceived enemies in the culture war and the “woke mind virus,” their term for progressive views on gender and race (which they frequently distort). In practice, that means dismantling the rights of LGBTQ people, targeting institutions that treat them with respect, and removing them from the public square, while curtailing discussions of race and U.S. history that diverge from right-wing dogmas.

Carlson and Daily Wire hosts like Walsh are among the foremost popularizers of the right’s war on “wokeness,” while Musk is an internet-poisoned conspiracy theorist who systematicallydismantled the platform’s protections for LGBTQ people, undid restrictions on hate speech, and has regularly promoted racist misinformation on the platform. DeSantis is the perfect political avatar of this brand of right-wing politics, having built a national profile by signing Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” education law, then bringing state power to bear against Disney after the company publicly objected to the legislation.

The Musk-Carlson-Daily Wire-DeSantis faction will portray itself as an insurgency within the right that seeks the audience, money, and votes held by the Fox-Trump establishment. The resulting clash will create a race to the bottom as the two sides compete for support through demagoguery and conspiracy theories, making the political environment even more unstable and dangerous.

Fox’s own weapons are being turned against it. The network established its audience by denouncing other media outlets as unacceptably liberal and dishonest, gave Carlson and the Daily Wire hosts copious airtime to build their profiles, celebrated Musk’s takeover of Twitter, and inculcated its viewers to demand ever-escalating attacks on “wokeness.” Now the right-wing stars Fox helped mint are branding the network, implicitly or explicitly, as just another mainstream media outlet that deserves the “full Bud Light treatment,” as Walsh put it.

DeSantis, meanwhile, ascended to a plausible presidential challenger with Fox’s support. As a congressional back-bencher he saw Trump use a constant presence on Fox to win the 2016 presidential primary, adopted the same strategy in his 2018 gubernatorial campaign, and developed a national profile by firing Fox-friendly culture war salvos in frequent appearances on the network. But while he’ll still make an appearance on Fox – though curiously via an interview with Trey Gowdy, an occasional Trump critic taking his turn among the hosts rotating through Carlson’s old time slot, rather than the more popular hosts like Hannity or Jesse Watters, both Trump loyalists – he did so only after first bending his knee to Musk’s rising power on the right.

Many questions about Twitter’s plan remain unanswered, including whether an audience will actually develop for long-form video on the platform and how it will be monetized. It also remains to be seen whether a presidential campaign that prioritizes Twitter over Fox can actually gain control of the GOP.

What’s crystal clear is that if you are an advertiser in business with Twitter, you’re in the Elon Musk business. And soon, you’re going to be in the Daily Wire business, the Tucker Carlson business, and the Ron DeSantis business as well.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Tucker Carlson

Carlson Friends Say He's 'Preparing For War' Against Fox Network Over Firing

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson is allegedly "preparing for war" against Fox News following his firing, Mediaite reports.

PerAxios, a "close friend" of Carlson's said that the ousted star originally told those in his inner circle "I want to get this done quiet and clean," but his approach to handling his firing has shifted.

"We're going from peacetime to Defcon 1," the friend told Axios, adding, "His team is preparing for war. He wants his freedom."

Carlson's attorney Bryan Freedman told the publication, "The idea that anyone is going to silence Tucker and prevent him from speaking to his audience is beyond preposterous."


Carlson confidants say he also is contemplating building a direct-to-consumer media outlet where his millions of fans could pay to watch him. Carlson's predecessor in his Fox slot, Bill O'Reilly, created a blueprint for this.

Two days after being booted, Carlson teased in a Twitter video posted at 8 p.m. ET, counter-programming his former show: "See you soon." The two-minute video has racked up 24 million views.

Additionally, another source insisted Carlson "knows where a lot of bodies are buried, and is ready to start drawing a map."

Reprinted with permission from Alternet.

Bret Baier

What Fox's Bret Baier Revealed About Himself In Texting With Carlson

On May 5, The Daily Beastreported on texts between Fox News anchor Bret Baier and the recently fired former face of the network, Tucker Carlson. The texts highlight Baier’s fixation on ratings above honest reporting and illustrate, yet again, that Fox News is a toxic brand for advertisers.

Baier is a supposed “straight news” anchor who is sometimes misleadingly held up as a more earnest, fact-based reporter as compared to his opinion-side counterparts despite his ownhistory of shoddy, partisan hackery. In the texts, Carlson expressed concern over Fox News’ decision to call the 2020 presidential race in Arizona — an accurate call that was controversial only among right-wing election deniers — saying that they “could really fuck up a lot of what we’ve built” and Baier replied, “I totally agree.”

Carlson reached out to Baier to complain that he felt the network wasn’t taking viewer concerns about the call “seriously enough” and said they need to “reassure our core audience. They’re our whole business model.” Baier affirmed Carlson’s concerns and said that he was “pushing for answers” and that he thought “they will slow walk” calling Nevada’s race. Baier and Carlson strategized options for alleviating audience concerns as Baier agreed with Tucker’s claim that he needs “to do whatever I can to keep our numbers up and our viewers happy.” Baier also noted that he was “taking major incoming” regarding the decision.

As The Daily Beast reported, the texts illustrate that while Baier tends to represent the supposedly serious “straight news” side of Fox News, network figures will prioritize ratings over fact-checking no matter when their shows air:

The texts between Carlson and Baier stand in contrast to the respective reputations they cultivated at the network—with the former as the network’s leading right-wing firebrand seemingly at odds with the “hard news” side anchored by the latter.

And though Baier is often viewed as a consummate newsman, his texts here suggest a commitment to preserving a highly partisan, fact-averse audience over responsible newsgathering.

Fox News has long maintained that there is a difference between its “straight news” reporters like Baier and its “opinion side” hosts like Carlson, and the network has leaned on this excuse to maintain credibility with advertisers. Media Matters has long reported on the myth of Fox’s supposed straightnewsside, and the texts between Baier and Carlson only further illustrate that the entire network has a toxic fixation on prioritizing partisan, damaging lies over legitimate reporting.

Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

Tucker Carlson's Notes On The State Of Whiteness

Tucker Carlson's Notes On The State Of Whiteness

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson has, with the recent exposure of an unredacted text message to one of his producers, done the American people a grand favor. He has unleashed for all to see the truth behind his, and racists’ like him, devotion to white supremacy.

You have probably read about the brouhaha Carlson caused. His text was first seen by Fox executives and board members on the eve of the Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit. Their discovery set off a rapid-fire chain of events. Apparently concerned that if the lawsuit went forward, the text would be revealed in court and expose the support of Fox News for Carlson’s racism. The very next day, the network fired their most popular and lucrative host and agreed to settle the lawsuit.

Those kinds of decisions at Fox are made by one man, Rupert Murdoch. He can’t have been happy about the consequence of either decision he had to make, because both cost him hundreds of millions of dollars. The lawsuit settlement alone cost $787.5 million. Because Fox News accounts for 70 percent of the parent company’s profits, and Tucker Carlson dominated cable ratings in his hour and supported the shows on either side of him, Carlson’s firing is likely to be even more expensive for the network. Ratings during the 9 o’clock hour fell by half the day after Carlson’s show was canceled and have stayed in the tank in the days since.

What set it all off was a single sentence in the Carlson text: “It’s not how white people fight.” I’m not going to bore you by reprinting more of Carlson’s disgusting racist jeremiad, but some context is useful here. The text was sent on Jan. 7, 2021, the day after a violent mob of Trump supporters stormed the Capitol building, assaulting police officers so badly that 140 of them had to be treated for their injuries, with some hospitalized. Five officers died as a result of the insurrection.

Carlson clearly watched the coverage of the violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6, but that wasn’t what he wrote to his producer about. Instead, he recounted having seen footage of three men he described as “Trump supporters” savagely attacking “an antifa kid” at a street demonstration two weeks previously. He went on to describe how he hoped the three-man mob would “hit him harder, kill him.” He then spasmed into a moment of what for him must have been uncomfortable self-reflection, lamenting that “I shouldn’t gloat over his suffering, I should be bothered by it…. if I reduce people to their politics, how am I better than he is?”

Commentators, largely on the left, launched into insta-psychological analysis of Carlson, focusing on what they saw as a mini-crisis of conscience as he appeared to identify with the plight of the antifa kid.

But look at his concluding sentence more closely: the “he” Carlson refers to is the antifa kid, not the Trump supporters who attacked him, so it’s not the attackers he’s comparing himself to, it’s the victim. The key word in Carlson’s statement here is “better.” He’s worried that if he condones such a brutal beating, how can he be “better” than the kid, who as the victim of the attack, hasn’t done anything more than absorb the beating. As for the vicious Trump supporters, well, you can’t do any better than them.

The clear implication of Carlson’s overtly racist observation, “It’s not how white people fight,” is that Carlson believes that white men, because of their whiteness, fight better or more nobly than non-white men. Carlson is clearly implying that those to whom he is comparing White men are Black men, given Carlson’s obsession on his show with attacking not only Black Lives Matter demonstrations after the death of a Black man, George Floyd, but the sentiment and belief of the slogan itself. In Carlson’s political world, Black lives do not matter. White lives matter in his world because white people are better than Black people, especially the White men Carlson appears so worried about.

This is the essence of white supremacy. Where do these ignorant, ignoble, execrable notions come from, that white people are superior to Black people in this country?

Well, they come from none other than Thomas Jefferson himself. Not only did Jefferson write the Declaration of Independence and its words, “all men are created equal” at the same time that he owned about 200 enslaved Black people, he wrote the founding document of white supremacy, “Notes on the State of Virginia.” In his 83 years on this planet, eight of them as President of the United States, Jefferson wrote thousands of letters but only one book, commonly referred to by Jefferson scholars as “Notes.” And so, as citizens collectively descended from Jefferson’s ideas about democracy, it is incumbent upon us that we should pay his one and only book the attention it deserves.

Jefferson wrote the book in 1781, five years after he wrote the Declaration, two years before the end of the Revolutionary War, and eight years before the founding of the country with the signing of the Declaration of Independence. In his book, Jefferson attempted to set forth a description of why he thought his state was a repository of what comprises a civilized society and makes it good and worthy of enduring. He discussed his ideas of governance, including a separation of powers, individual rights, freedom of religion, and other ideas which would find their way into the Bill of Rights, which he and Madison insisted be included in the Constitution as a condition of their signing the document.

A good portion of Jefferson’s book is devoted to a chapter he calls “Laws,” in which he sets forth literal laws and punishments for breaking them, as well as a theoretical framework for solemnizing marriages, settling debts, registration of land sales, inspections of goods such as tobacco and flour and turpentine before sale, defining citizenship and other matters of state.

In a chapter of about 7,000 words, Jefferson devotes nearly 3,000 of them to the subject of slavery, emancipation, and race. Nearly the entirety of his discussion argues against emancipation. He is afraid that freeing slaves, because of the harm that had been done to them, “will divide us into parties, and produce convulsions which will probably never end but in the extermination of the one or the other race.”

He quickly moves on from the existential crisis that would be caused by freeing slaves to the reasons he feels Blacks should not be free. They are “inferior” in every way: “Whether the black of the negro resides in the reticular membrane between the skin and scarf-skin, or in the scarf-skin itself; whether it proceeds from the colour of the blood, the colour of the bile, or from that of some other secretion, the difference is fixed in nature, and is as real as if its seat and cause were better known to us,” he writes. Not done yet, he launches into as racist a description of the physical characteristic of Blackness that exists: “Is it not the foundation of a greater or less share of beauty in the two races? Are not the fine mixtures of red and white, the expressions of every passion by greater or less suffusions of colour in the one, preferable to that eternal monotony, which reigns in the countenances, that immoveable veil of black which covers all the emotions of the other race? Add to these, flowing hair, a more elegant symmetry of form, their own judgment in favour of the whites, declared by their preference of them, as uniformly as is the preference of the Oranootan for the black women over those of his own species.”

Got that? He’s comparing the preference of white people for others of similar appearance to the preference of an “Oranootan” for Black women rather than Oranootan females.

It gets worse, and yet even more familiar. Blacks are stronger, “they seem to require less sleep,” “they are more ardent after their female,” yet their “love seems with them to be more an eager desire,” as compared to, say, white people’s “tender delicate mixture of sentiment and sensation.”

And worse: Blacks are not as educable as whites. “In reason they are inferior;” “they will crayon out an animal, a plant, or a country, so as to prove the existence of a germ in their minds which only wants cultivation.” It would take mixing the races, to which Jefferson expresses strong opposition, to improve the lot of Blacks. “The improvement of the blacks in body and mind, in the first instance of their mixture with the whites, has been observed by every one, and proves that their inferiority is not the effect merely of their condition of life.” But by implication can be blamed wholly on their race.

Finally, Jefferson gets to the nub of his discussion of slavery and race. If slaves are freed, “What further is to be done with them?” He discusses how the Romans did it with their slaves, who had the advantage of being white: “Among the Romans, emancipation required but one effort. The slave, when made free, might mix with, without staining the blood of his master.” But not so Black slaves: “This unfortunate difference of colour, and perhaps of faculty, is a powerful obstacle to the emancipation of these people… with us a second is necessary, unknown to history. When freed, he is to be removed beyond the reach of mixture.”

See that? There is no hope for them because of their Blackness. Jefferson, in his time and by historians known as a man of Reason, cannot see through his own prejudice, born as he says, “of observation.” An engineer, architect, scholar, scientist, and horticulturalist among his other talents, Jefferson was convinced that while anecdotal evidence proved his racist observations, scientific studies would prove his racist theories: “To justify a general conclusion, requires many observations, even where the subject may be submitted to the Anatomical knife, to Optical glasses, to analysis by fire, or by solvents,” he wrote.

His “general conclusion” was the founding statement of white supremacy in this country: “I advance it therefore as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstances, are inferior to the whites in the endowments both of body and mind.”

Some of these ideas no doubt had their roots in systemic racism in other societies in earlier times. But Thomas Jefferson put it all down for posterity here in this country. As one of the two or three most important of our founding fathers, his words still carry great weight and can be made to affect our lives every day. The Supreme Court, for example, is in the process of tying the First Amendment, of which Jefferson was one of two authors, into a pretzel to justify discrimination against entire categories of American citizens because of religious beliefs of some.

Jefferson’s disgusting ideas about race still find an eager audience in America. Carlson and his ilk, outright white supremacists such as those Carlson went so far as to invite as guests on his show, embrace Jefferson’s ideas even to this day. Carlson may have lost his platform at Fox News, but he and his ilk are still out there pushing their ideas of white supremacy couched in intellectual batting like the so-called great replacement theory. That fact is all you need to know about the struggle ahead. To end slavery took the Civil War, and yet the war against the Tucker Carlson’s of this world and their not yet dead ideology of race is still to be fought.

Lucian K. Truscott IV, a graduate of West Point, has had a 50-year career as a journalist, novelist, and screenwriter. He has covered Watergate, the Stonewall riots, and wars in Lebanon, Iraq, and Afghanistan. He is also the author of five bestselling novels. You can subscribe to his daily columns at luciantruscott.substack.com and follow him on Twitter @LucianKTruscott and on Facebook at Lucian K. Truscott IV.

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