Tucker Carlson: What Happened?

The world awoke just a few days ago to the news that Tucker Carson, the darling of the FOX News right-wing conspiracy world, was unemployed. Yes, after years of spewing nonsense about COVID 19, transgender people, Black Lives Matter and a ‘stolen’ election, Carson is now FOX News history.

Why, one might ask, did an alleged newscaster with a huge following of narrow-minded (to put it nicely) people, lose his job? Was it, perhaps, just coincidence that this particular employment termination came just days after FOX News settled a liable lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems for $787,000,000.00? That settlement was reached the day before the trial was to begin, a trial that would have seen several FOX News personalities have to state under oath what they have said in private depositions and in their personal texts and emails: that they never believed the 2020 election was stolen from then-President Donald Trump by now-President Joe Biden.

Perhaps it had something to do with another lawsuit, this one by Abby Grossberg, a former producer at FOX News, who had what she described as a most unfortunate experience working with Carlson. Being treated daily to antisemitic and misogynist remarks by Carlson & Co. proved to be a bit too much for Grossberg to bear. So after a time, she departed, filing a lawsuit on her way out the door.

So maybe the FOX head honcho, Rupert Murdoch, decided that he didn’t want yet another sex scandal rocking his particular boat. So cutting off Carlson may have been to prevent that from happening.

Of course, when one looks at such issues, the bottom line is always the best place to start. Major FOX advertisers had for some time been reluctant to have their products featured on Carlson’s program. There comes a time when even companies willing to sell their souls on FOX are unable to stomach Carlson’s particular brand of hate-spewing, lie-ridden ‘journalism’. So regardless of his hefty audience share (about 3,000,000 people nightly, and often the most watched cable show), if he wasn’t bringing in the dollars, he had to go.

FOX is still facing a lawsuit by Smartmatic, another voting machine company that found itself in FOX News’ crosshairs when Trump lost to Biden. Dominion Voting was only asking for a mere $1 billion (getting an out-of-court settlement for three-quarters that amount is not a bad day’s work), while Smartmatic is demanding more than twice that amount. Murdoch may not want to have Carlson anywhere near a courthouse where that trial will be held, although firing him can only be seen as an admission of guilt. But this was a lose-lose situation for FOX anyway.

We don’t know, of course, all the details of the settlement with Dominion Voting Systems; it’s possible that Dominion’s lawyers demanded not only $787,000,000.00, but also Carlson’s head on a silver platter (well, based on the size of the settlement, the platter was probably solid gold and diamond encrusted; but this writer digresses). He was certainly the FOX face of voting falsehoods, so a settlement against FOX in general that penalized Carlson in particular may have been an exceptionally sweet outcome for Dominion.

One wonders what FOX News’ loyal fans will think of this development. How, one wonders, will they accept the fact that their darlings have stated under oath that they never believed the lies of voter fraud and a stolen election, lies they vocally vomited nightly for months on end?

It would be naïve, at best, to think many of them will simply walk away from FOX News; no, they are too heavily invested in the myth, and believing the lies gives them credibility in their ‘group’, which sociologists tell us is of great importance to everyone: we all need a group with which to identify, and while someone may be able to move easily from a devotee of CNN to MSNBC (this writer must hasten to say that the ‘news’ they report may be of greater credibility than that of FOX News, but they still parrot what the government wants said, and have their own agendas, generally based on government talking points), there are few places for a disaffected FOX News viewer to turn. Newsmax?  Possibly, and there are rumours that their hero of heroes, Carlson, may find a home there.

But will they be able to ever forgive him for saying in texts now made public that he hates their god, the one and only Donald Trump? Here are some of his texts, courtesy of NBC:

“In private text messages Jan. 4, 2021, Carlson said he was done with Trump and his unfounded claims of a rigged election.  ‘We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights. I truly can’t wait,’ he texted an unidentified person. ‘I hate him passionately. … I can’t handle much more of this,’ he added.”[i]

“‘We’re all pretending we’ve got a lot to show for it, because admitting what a disaster it’s been is too tough to digest,’ he wrote in another text message, referring to the ‘last four years.’ ‘But come on. There isn’t really an upside to Trump.’”[ii]

Blasphemy, if ever this writer has heard it.

And as long as this writer has quoted NBC News, he will go to the other end of the spectrum, and mention a report from Newsmax:

“Fox News, which is still facing several upcoming lawsuits, saw Tucker Carlson as a ‘lightning rod,’ that had to be let go, Bill O’Reilly, who for years was the network’s nighttime star before parting ways with the company in 2017, said Monday night.”[iii]

O’Reilly, it must be remembered, was forced out of his role at FOX News when news of the company paying off his sexual harassment victims became public.

A reasonable question to ask now, in addition to the one about the direction in which loyal FOX News viewers will go, is if FOX News itself will change. Yes, yes, this writer did have a broad grin on his face when he wrote those words. FOX News’ response to the settlement was a masterpiece in bizarre nonsense: “We are pleased to have reached a settlement in our dispute with Dominion Voting Systems. We acknowledge the court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false. The settlement reflects FOX’s continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards. We are hopeful that our decision to resolve this dispute with Dominion amicably instead of the acrimony of a divisive trial allows the country to move forward from these issues.”[iv]

Since this writer knows that reading that statement shoved many readers down the rabbit hole, he will attempt to pull you out by explaining it. It is quite simple, really. FOX News recognizes that it shouted lies repeatedly about Dominion Voting Systems (“We acknowledge the court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false.” This refers to FOX News’s claims about Dominion), and only admitted to those lies when faced with a $1 billion lawsuit. But, fear not! Those lies were part of FOX News’ “commitment to the highest journalistic standards.” The rabbit hole is, unfortunately, a long dark tunnel into mental oblivion.

So there you are. FOX News, that bastion of ‘the highest journalist standards’ admitted to months of lies that shook what passes for democracy in the United States, and then made their darling, Carlson, walk the plank. Will all now be forgotten? For dedicated FOX News viewers, probably, at least until the Smartmatic trial begins, or another massive out-of-court settlement is reached with them.

This writer reads a variety of so-called news channels each day, FOX News among them (it is important, he feels, to know all the nonsense, from both the left and the right), including some independent news channels. He would like to recommend to FOX News’ devoted followers that they, too, check out some other sources. Their anger at the government may be just as strong, but for entirely different reasons (perhaps due to real issues, such as racism, voter suppression, police crime impunity, discrimination against the LGBTQ community, violations of human rights at home and around the world, erosion of women’s rights – the list is really almost endless). But he despairs of such a thing happening. Too many politicians are too busy banning books, controlling school curriculums to assure that no one feels ‘uncomfortable’ (talk about the U.S. history of slavery can be so annoying, don’t you think?), and using social issues as a cudgel to get votes.

This is the United States in 2023; there is little reason for optimism.


[i] https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/donald-trump/tucker-carlson-backtracks-private-texts-saying-hates-trump-love-trump-rcna76056

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] https://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/bill-oreilly-tucker-carlson-fox-news/2023/04/25/id/1117403/

[iv] https://www.cnn.com/videos/politics/2023/04/18/jake-tapper-dominion-lawsuit-settlement-fox-news-statement-lead-vpx.cnn

Robert Fantina’s latest book is Propaganda, Lies and False Flags: How the U.S. Justifies its Wars.