Friday, April 28, 2023

It’s Never Been About Tucker, Trump, or Fox News

By Will Alexander |

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

When Harris Faulkner blurted, Monday, that Fox News Media and Tucker Carlson “have mutually decided to part ways” on The Faulkner Focus – “effective immediately” – jaws dropped everywhere.

“Tucker’s last show was this past Friday,” Faulkner said, meaning the same Friday that Carlson told some 3 million viewers, “We’ll be back on Monday … see you then.”  

And poof! – that was it.   

In 30 seconds, cable’s highest-rated news host was gone from Fox for good. It was like the Chicago Bulls dumping Michael Jordan mid-contract, at the peak of his game, on the way to the warmup session before a big playoff game.  That would never happen.

So naturally, the Tucker news created a sinkhole of unanswered questions from millions of viewers, rightly shocked, who’d developed a muscle memory for tuning in to the show each day around dinner time.   

But with viewers still frozen in shock, Faulkner quickly shifted to the next story: Two Democrat states passed bills that help children sign up for gender surgery without telling their parents. 

“OK fine, Harris,” I said, “but what happened to Tucker?!” Faulkner moved on but missed the irony in the gender story.   

“And don’t tell their parents!” Faulkner said shockingly, aghast at withholding information from the people who gave birth to these children. “Don’t even acknowledge their existence!  Get this (surgery) done with the children, and don’t tell their parents!”

That’s exactly what Fox was doing to Tucker’s audience, the viewers who breathed life into his record ratings. 

“Cut the show. Do the surgery now! Don’t tell the viewers what’s going on. Don’t acknowledge their existence. Just get this done, keep it quiet, and move on.”

Faulkner, a bold, talented, truth-teller, was bound by her employer to be a party to what, effectively, was a lie (mutually decided?). 

Given Tucker’s massive influence, the moment screamed for the truth about what was really happening.  But television’s boldest and chattiest on-screen personalities just went mum on one of the biggest stories of this wickedly backward Biden era.  It killed Fox’s credibility.  

And poof! – that was it.  I “parted ways” with Fox News – “effective immediately.” 

And just as quickly, knee-jerk Fox-haters were happy to dump dirt into the Tucker sinkhole.  

LA Times: “Tucker Carlson – the race-baiting, immigrant-hating, election-denying, Putin-promoting, two-faced ringmaster of right-wing sophistry – was unceremoniously dumped by his corporate sponsor, Fox News.  Let the joyous news be spread!” wrote Mark Z. Barabak in an opinion piece.

CNN: “Fox News and Tucker Carlson, the right-wing extremist who used his prime time perch … to exert a firm grip over the Republican Party, have severed ties. …” wrote Oliver Darcy and Marshall Cohen in CNN Business online. “Carlson propelled himself to stardom in recent years by being a top promoter of conspiracy theories and radical rhetoric.  Not only did he repeatedly sow doubt about the legitimacy of the 2020 election, but he also promoted conspiracy theories about the COVID-19 vaccines and elevated white nationalist talking points.”

AOC: “… de-platforming works, and it is important, … “ she tweeted.

The View, singing in unison: “Na-na-na-na!  Na-na-na-na!  Hey, hey, hey, goodbye!”

In Tucker’s first video post-Fox, as usual, he was dead right about these people: “The other thing you notice when you take a little time off is how unbelievably stupid most of the debates you see on television are,” he said.  “They’re completely irrelevant. They mean nothing. … And yet at the same time, the undeniably big topics – the ones that will define our future – get virtually no discussion at all …”

That’s the truth.  Simmering beneath the chaos, the “undeniably big topics” are being ignored.

Listen. America is going to hell in a handbasket. Not in the surreal world created by TV and social media, but in the real world. A civilizational inferno has engulfed America and the people we’ve elected to fight it have done nothing of substance to contain it. 

We’re not dealing with people who merely disagree on how to put the fire out. We’re dealing with political pyromaniacs who set the fires, watch them burn, and work to stop anyone who tries to put them out.  

They’re facilitating illegal immigration, weaponizing government, redefining crime and punishment, changing the definition of inflation to spend more, corrupting our election system, cheering and funding a tyrannical gender revolution, and butchering history to institutionalize a cultish gospel of black victimhood. 

This stuff is happening. We see it. And when a public figure like Tucker Carlson says aloud what we’re seeing, we tune in. Simple. That’s what was behind his record ratings. That’s what solidifies Trump’s base. And that is what gave birth to Fox News’ “Most-Watched” branding since the early Trump days. 

But by dumping Tucker in the way it did, Fox is signaling that it wants to position the company back toward a mushy, moderate conservatism. Political psychopaths have made the slightest whiff of pro-Trump sentiment very costly. By amputating its “Trump propaganda arm” reputation and shedding viewers that Joe Biden has demonized as the “MAGA crowd,” Fox News can, among other things, keep its head low enough to avoid the artillery of lawfare that drives up the cost of putting principles above business.

Fine, it’s a free country. I recommend Harris Faulkner for Tucker’s slot. But since it’s now clear that even she would be on a short leash, goodbye Fox. 

We’re in dire need of leaders, but we’re not looking for cult leaders. This stuff has never been about Tucker, Trump, Fox, or whomever. It’s about the inferno, stupid. We just want the truth, and this is an emergency.

Common sense Americans who clearly see what’s happening to their country are still seething. And while you can always take down the great people who are bold enough to stick their necks out, the tens of millions of Americans whose existence is never acknowledged – or respected – are not going anywhere.