by Frank Holmes, reporter
One week after Fox News cut ties with top-rated talk show host Tucker Carlson, the real reasons for the conservative’s silencing may be coming to light… along with its plot to destroy Carlson in the next few months.
Carlson’s strong audience, which numbered more than three million viewers each night, felt gut-punched when FNC announced it had cut loose its most successful host without even a chance to say goodbye on the air.
They’re even more confused by reports that Fox News is still paying Tucker Carlson, whose reported $20 million annual contract runs through December 2024.
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Why pay Carlson $20 million a year and get nothing in return?
Fox News hosts want to silence the uncontrollable Carlson through the 2024 election—and smear him between now and then, so no one else will watch him, experts say.
Joe Rogan told his vast podcast audience that if he wanted to censor Carlson, “I would make sure that we have him locked up for the entire term of some contract, some ‘no compete’ (clause), and pay him off.”
That kind of stipulation costs Fox more money—but it also forces Carlson to bite his tongue through the GOP primaries, as Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis go head-to-head against establishment Republicans like Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson and Nikki Haley.
“What they’re trying to do is take his platform away at least through 2024,” said Donald Trump’s White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon in his own “War Room” program last week. “They’ve taken it off through the 2024 election, which is, I’ve said from day one is what the Murdochs’ plan here is.”
There’s no doubt that Carlson “was primed as Fox News’ most important anchor to play a huge role” in the 2024 primaries, said Robby Soave of The Hill. “There are people in Trump World who are not happy” about his ouster.
If Carlson’s still under contract, that prevents him from going to Newsmax, One News Now, or any other network—or launching his own network.
“You’d be better off just giving him the same amount of money he made when he was on the air than you would have with him opposing you,” Rogan told listeners of his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience.
Bannon agreed that “you’re gonna see a huge fight with (Fox) trying to keep Tucker Carlson from starting his own network, from going to either the Newsmax or Real America’s Voice, starting his own podcast,” Bannon said. “Whatever it is to get his message out, they will fight tooth and nail to stop that.”
“He’s really designed for the internet,” said Rogan, the podcast king. Fox News is “not stupid,” Rogan said.
But why did the Murdochs decide Carlson has to go? A few details have come to light.
It’s no secret Carlson clashed with other hosts, on and off the air.
Footage has emerged of Carlson dissing the Fox Nation website, which he said could not attract any viewers because of the network’s refusal to make it user-friendly.
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Forcing him to produce long documentaries without letting people see them was a waste of time and disrespectful to his viewers, he said.
— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) May 1, 2023
Second, as long ago as 2020, he clashed with more orthodox Republican hosts like Sean Hannity, who slapped down Tucker on the air after Carlson did a segment on Jeff Bezos profiting off the pandemic lockdowns.
Tucker Carlson did a segment in 2020 about Jeff Bezos profiting off the pandemic
What happened next basically sums up why Tucker Carlson got fired but Hannity stays: pic.twitter.com/z1mko9jeux
— End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) April 30, 2023
Then there’s Tucker’s religion. Fox News owner Rupert Murdoch didn’t like Tucker Carlson’s speech last Friday night when he said the Left isn’t just politically wrong but destructive and evil—and asked Americans to pray for their country.
There’s an explosive revelation that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy was not a fan of Carlson’s — so much so that Zelenskyy held several phone calls with Fox brass.
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Zelenskyy called Executive Chair Rupert Murdoch just weeks before Carlson’s dismissal.
That call came just weeks after Ukraine’s president called Murdoch’s son, Fox Corporation CEO Lachlan Murdoch, on March 15. Zelenskyy mentioned the call with the younger Murdoch on Ukrainian state TV, Semafor reported.
“What the Murdochs have done is taken the populist voice, the anti-Ukraine voice, the anti-Uniparty voice,” out of his “platform in mainstream media and prime time — the only voice out there of populist nationalism,” Bannon said.
Whatever their reason, the decision has been disastrous for the network. Fox News’ ratings fell 56% last Monday, when substitute host Brian Kilmeade manned the desk. Fox News actually lost to MSNBC’s doughy host Chris Hayes.
Rival Newsmax TV gained 418,000 primetime viewers, likely including many Fox News refugees.
To stop the bleeding, “Fox News is trying to destroy Tucker,” said former Fox News host Megyn Kelly on Monday. Fox News is leaking unflattering clips of Carlson and behind-the-scenes snippets saying he was sexist and hard to work for, Kelly said.
She blasted their “truly disgusting behavior, most likely by their chief PR hack Irena Briganti,” which Kelly said had been authorized by Fox News’ “bosses.”
Fox News is trying to destroy Tucker (it’s drip drip drip every day with the hits). Truly disgusting behavior, most likely by their chief PR hack Irena Briganti but let’s face it – if her bosses wanted it to stop, it would. https://t.co/l8kDgjoL1I
— Megyn Kelly (@megynkelly) May 1, 2023
Carlson has kept mum about the reason for the break with Fox News and his future plans. But he broke the silence with an online video posted on Twitter—which gained more viewers than Fox News won in his old time slot without him.
“See you soon,” he promised.
Good evening pic.twitter.com/SPrsYKWKCE
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) April 27, 2023
Whatever reason Fox News canned Tucker Carlson, he’s not going away quietly.
Frank Holmes is a veteran journalist and an outspoken conservative that talks about the news that was in his weekly article, “On The Holmes Front.”