Fox News abruptly ends relationship with fascistic demagogue Tucker Carlson

In an unexpected announcement Monday, the Fox News corporation announced that it was “parting ways” with its top-rated prime-time television host Tucker Carlson. In a terse three-sentence statement, Fox News wrote,“We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor.”

During Carlson’s last show on Friday, April 21, the far-right commentator gave no indication that he expected to be released, telling viewers he would be “back on Monday.”

Tucker Carlson in a Fox News Channel studio on March 2, 2017, in New York. [AP Photo/Richard Drew]

Citing anonymous sources, both the New York Times and Los Angeles Times said the decision to fire Carlson was made on Friday night by Lachlan Murdoch, son of Rupert and chief executive of Fox Corporation, and Suzanne Scott, chief executive of Fox News Media.

Carlson’s senior executive producer on Tucker Carlson Tonight, Justin Wells, was also fired, according to the same sources.

As of this writing, there has not been a definitive reason given for the abrupt departure of Carlson.

The former Fox News host has long been the target of advertiser boycotts due to the fascist content consistently churned out on his show. Carlson’s anti-immigrant and racist program was frequently the highest-rated show on Fox during the Trump presidency and following his failed coup, drawing upwards of 3 million viewers a night.

Trump expressed his dismay at Carlson’s departure, writing on his social media network, “The fact that Tucker Carlson will no longer be on Fox News is a big blow to Cable News, and to America. Tucker was insightful, interesting, and ratings gold. He will be greatly missed!”

Similarly, Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson wrote on Twitter that Carlson “has been engaging in the best journalism on TV uncovering and exposing the truth. This is a huge loss to Fox News.”

Disoriented middle-class and libertarian elements, such as journalists Glenn Greenwald, Max Blumenthal, Anya Parampil and Aaron Maté along with comedian Jimmy Dore and fascist Jackson Hinkle also took to social media to praise Carlson, primarily for his professed opposition to US involvement in the Ukraine war and the Syrian civil war.

Carlson, an early proponent of the Iraq war, is not a genuine opponent of US imperialism but, like Trump, seeks to capitalize on broad antiwar sentiment in the working class, and channel it to the advantage of the Republican Party.

While Fox News is the unofficial house organ of the Republican Party, Carlson was one of the more influential hosts on the network. Republican politicians not only watched his program, but frequently coordinated with Carlson on talking points and attack lines. If Republicans refused to go on the program to defend any perceived slight against him, Trump or the “MAGA” movement, Carlson would threaten them on air, causing not only political, but potentially real physical harm.

An example of Carlson’s sway was the decision early this year by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to provide Carlson with “exclusive” access to over 42,000 hours of security footage from the January 6, 2021 attack on the US Capitol. Using the footage, Carlson aired multiple programs attempting to portray Trump’s foot soldiers, such as the “QAnon shaman” Jacob Chansley, in a positive light.

While nearly every Fox host leans hard-right, following Trump’s failed coup, Carlson stood out among his peers for his avid promotion of the “Fedsurrection” conspiracy theory, which has also been voiced by Trump and his co-conspirators in Congress. The bogus narrative posits that gullible Trump supporters were entrapped by government agents to storm the Capitol in order to make Trump and the “MAGA” movement look bad.

The theory has been repeatedly advanced by former Trump speechwriter Darren Beattie of Revolver News on Carlson’s program. Beattie was fired from the Trump administration in 2018 after it was revealed he attended and spoke at a neo-Nazi conference in 2016.

Lamenting the departure of Carlson on the WarRoom podcast of former Trump White House advisor Stephen K. Bannon, Beattie said that “Tucker was kind of an anomaly ... a brave guy” someone who was not supposed to be “on primetime television in the globalist American empire,” and who had “the courage to platform and amplify our reporting. .. about January 6.”

Bannon concurred, saying that the firing of Carlson by the Murdoch family was “disrespectful” to “MAGA” and “Trump.”

“The Murdochs are foreigners and scumbags who hate our country,” Bannon hissed. “They are not even Americans. They hate you. They disrespect you.”

Carlson’s firing comes less than a week after Fox was ordered to pay over three-quarters of a billion dollars as part of the defamation lawsuit by Dominion Voting Systems. Had Fox not settled, Carlson was one of several Fox “personalities” who would have been compelled to take the stand. Prior to the settlement of the case, text messages from Carlson had emerged showing the commentator’s personal disdain for Trump, his lawyer Sidney Powell, as well as for other Fox employees who undercut Trump’s “stolen election” narrative.

In addition to the Dominion lawsuit, Carlson was named in a discrimination lawsuit by Abby Grossberg, a former producer on Tucker Carlson Tonight. Grossberg alleged that Carlson and others produced a hostile work environment while she was employed on the program. The lawsuit alleges that Grossberg was subject to sexist insults, antisemitic comments and passed over for promotion due to her sex.

While he pretends to be a champion of the working class on cable television, Carlson was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. After his mother and father divorced at an early age, Carlson’s father remarried Patricia Caroline Swanson, an heiress to the Swanson Enterprises family fortune.

Carlson grew up in San Diego and as a teenager he was kicked out of a Swiss boarding school. After graduating from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut, Carlson attempted to join the Central Intelligence Agency but was rejected. He quickly began a career in journalism working for the far-right think tank the Heritage Foundation and as an opinion writer for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. Carlson would go on to be published in The Weekly Standard, The New York Times Magazine, The Daily Beast, and the Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal.

In 2000 Carlson was hired on at CNN as the right-wing co-host on Crossfire. In 2003 Carlson also joined PBS where he hosted the program Tucker Carlson: Unfiltered. Neither his PBS or CNN programs gained much of an audience and he left both networks in 2005 to join MSNBC. After three years at the network Carlson was let go due to low ratings.

Upon joining Fox in 2009 as a paid contributor and throughout the Obama presidency, Carlson guest hosted various programs. He eventually took over the 8 p.m. prime-time slot from Bill O’ Reilly in November 2017, following O’Reilly’s ouster due to sexual harassment allegations.

While at Fox, Carlson refashioned himself from a bow tie-wearing George F. Will-style conservative into a populist demagogue. In the aftermath of Trump’s 2016 election victory, Carlson repositioned himself as a champion of the “populist right,” regurgitating Trump’s political line on his show, while infusing his program with his own brand of racist, xenophobic and outright fascist demagoguery.

Throughout Trump’s presidency, Carlson parroted the administration’s political line which meant embracing outright neo-Nazi talking points and a constant railing against immigrants, primarily through the promotion of the “Great Replacement” theory, which the New York Times found he promoted on his show over 400 times.