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Thank you, Tucker
He spoke truth to the powerless
Back in 2007, Christopher Hitchens said he wished Tucker Carlson “wouldn’t give up writing for TV.” Were he alive today, Hitchens might offer a different piece of advice: “Tucker cannot give up TV.”
But has TV given up on Tucker?
Like you, I was shocked to learn that Tucker was essentially fired from Fox. I didn’t believe the reports at first. He had the second-largest total audience on cable news and consistently dominated his 8pm time slot. He was both entertaining and enlightening on a nightly basis (not easy for someone on cable news) - a feat achieved through his natural gifts and supported by his talented producers. For culturally and politically significant moments, Tucker was and is essential.
After the shock dissipated, a stronger feeling emerged: one of sadness. The loss of Tucker from Fox News isn’t an extinction-level event; rather, it’s like the death of the last of an endangered species. It’s depressing because you know there’s no replacement.
Who else will argue for the poor and middle class from the right, voice such astute skepticism of the intelligence community and the war party, critique elites and politicians on all sides, promote the public good over corporate profits, fight the censors and disinformation experts, show contempt for Anthony Fauci, and joyfully attack liberal conservatives like David French (who has since celebrated Tucker’s removal) and neo-conservatives like Bill Kristol and Max Boot?
What other host on the right will so effectively condemn and ridicule Republican governors for failing to protect minors from chemical castration?
Who else at Fox News would have been so vocal against the COVID-19 vaccine rollout and the accompanying social media censorship – way back in December 2020?
Who at Fox will continue to advocate for the pardoning of Julian Assange?
As of today, there are somewhat conflicting reports concerning the reasons for Tucker’s removal. The LA Times reports “the decision to fire Carlson came straight from Fox Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch with input from board members and other Fox Corp. executives,” citing three main justifications: (1) The discrimination suit by former producer Abby Grossberg; (2) Tucker’s statements about Fox News management; and (3) Tucker’s January 6 coverage.
There might, however, be a simpler and more obvious reason: Tucker’s brand of conservatism conflicted with the vision of Fox News’ leadership. Ideology, that is, liberalism, trumps ratings and corporate profits.
Paul Ryan, who sits on the Fox Corp board of directors, agreed with false attacks on Tucker from some of the most dishonest pundits in America and blamed Tucker “for pushing negative content on Fox News.” Certainly Paul Ryan would have loved to see Tucker go. Did Murdoch consult with Paul Ryan in making his final decision? And is this Fox News distancing itself from Trump and moving closer to Ryan’s corporate-friendly and lukewarm version of conservatism? (Think of Fox not coming to terms with our friend Dan Bongino, despite his strong performance on Saturday nights.)
In the end, Tucker made all the right enemies: Dr. Fauci and the CDC and Big Pharma, The New York Times, Washington Post, the uniparty war machine and the neo-conservatives, the American disinformation complex, and the establishment Republicans and establishment Democrats, to name a few. He was judged controversial and racist and transphobic by those who celebrate evil and deceive without remorse.
But Tucker also made the right friends – those who are victims of corrupt governance, those subjected to vaccine mandates, those who are despised by their own leaders. While he spoke truth to power, he served a greater role: he spoke truth to the powerless on matters that took courage and required principle. And while he may not return to TV, his story isn’t over and we’re optimistic for his next move.