As of Monday morning, Fox News Channel was still advertising Tucker Carlson Tonight. A few hours later, the network released a statement announcing Carlson’s sudden ouster.
One former star at Fox News has something to say about the sudden turnaround… and he’s citing firsthand experience.
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Bill O’Reilly was fired by Fox News in 2017, with the network citing allegations of sexual harassment. In fact, O’Reilly used to host the timeslot later occupied by Carlson.
“The decision was made Sunday evening,” O’Reilly alleged, rejecting theories about an earlier timeline. “And there are two reasons why.”
“Fox News did not want to remove Tucker Carlson, because — as you pointed out — he was the second-highest rated program on the network, next to The Five, and he was the most well-known individual host. So, they didn’t want to move him out, but there are lawsuits coming on the wake of Dominion,” O’Reilly said Monday on NewsNation, referring to Fox’s $785.5 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems.
“They lost $800+ million on the wake of Dominion, and now you have Smartmatic coming up. And you have two individual lawsuits, actually: one filed and one that may be filed. And that was the key.”
O’Reilly then explained the second reason.
“Second thing was last night on 60 Minutes,” O’Reilly continued.
“[Capitol rioter Ray Epps] said to the audience, ‘Tucker Carlson ruined my life and my family’s life by accusing me of having some kind of provocative role in the Jan. 6 riots at the Capitol.’ That was setting Epps up for a massive lawsuit against Fox News and Tucker Carlson. So, that’s three lawsuits we know about. And there will be more by shareholders, who are angry about the $800 million settlement.”
Then O’Reilly connected the dots. “Faced with that, the board of directors said, ‘We’ve got to start cleaning this up.’ So, Dan Bongino was the first domino to fall, even though he wasn’t involved in the Dominion thing. They couldn’t get to a contract settlement with him. He’s gone, and Carlson — because of the impending litigation — was harpooned,” O’Reilly said. “Same thing with Lemon at CNN.”
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O’Reilly made the remarks to NewsNation’s Chris Cuomo.
Cuomo disputed some of O’Reilly’s remarks about television news at large. “I believe that the timing of the CNN move and the Fox move are purely coincidental. I don’t think they had anything to do with one another,” Cuomo said. Cuomo himself was fired from CNN in 2021 for moonlighting as a P.R. representative for his brother, the disgraced former Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
O’Reilly hit back.
“That’s the nature of television news, the most wicked industry in the United States of America,” O’Reilly said. “It’s all about money at Fox News, as it is for every other corporate media organization. There was just a purge at ABC News. They whacked about five of their executives. There will be a purge at CBS News soon, I’m told. It’s all about money.”
O’Reilly made similar remarks on his own program, No Spin News.
“Tammy Wynette is not part of television news,” O’Reilly joked. “None of those operations are going to stand by their man. When the going gets rough you’re going to get thrown right overboard, no matter who you are. That’s the way American corporations work.”
However, O’Reilly also acknowledged Carlson’s responsibility. He described Carlson as a loose cannon, a liability for his employer.
“Destructive Tucker Carlson is the lightning rod,” O’Reilly reportedly said, calling Carlson’s remarks “conspiratorial.”
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Take a look —
Bill O'Reilly on Tucker Carlson and Fox parting ways pic.twitter.com/UHBSRnRrTS
— Mario Nawfal (@MarioNawfal) April 25, 2023
The Horn editorial team