Tucker Carlson Firing Raises Questions About Future of Journalism

Zoë Kim, Staff Writer

It has been a long week for Tucker Carlson. Fox News Media and the host agreed to part ways this past Monday, a move that comes after Fox paid $787.5 million in the largest media settlement in history with Dominion. 

In a statement, the news outlet thanked him for his service as a host and contributor. Carlson was the network’s highest-rated primetime show, with more than three million viewers. His departure has put Fox in the hot seat with the Republican Party, and it has faced a plunge in ratings.

The big question is— why? There is buzz and debate over what pushed Fox to fire Carlson, who is seen as one of the leading figures in American media and politics for the right wing. 

It has been said that Fox owner Rupert Murdoch fired Carlson for his vulgar language towards female executives, and a lawsuit filed by his former producer alleging Carlson’s “misogyny” only sealed the deal. Videos have surfaced in the past week, backing these claims of misogyny. 

In one video, the right-wing host was heard-off camera asking whether his “postmenopausal fans” would like how he looks. In another one, he calls a woman “yummy.” 

Carlson’s vulgar language and behavior towards female producers and viewers are disturbing and troubling but not too surprising. Well, to everyone but Carlson.

In a Twitter video, he threw his past employer under the bus, ranting that television debates are “stupid” and that you can see who is “nice” when “you step away from the noise for a few days.” 

The news anchor went so far as to say that liars are silencing those who speak the truth and are honest. By the end of his rant, the “agreed upon” break-up that Fox had announced was looking less and less “agreed upon” from Carlson’s point of view.

Carlson was Fox’s superstar because of his love of controversy. Carlson never stepped back in his debates, which garnered him a reputation as a liar and a bully. 

For 14 years, Carlson has used inflammatory language towards immigrants, healthcare workers, civil rights activists, liberal women and anyone in America who disagreed with him. This worked for right-wing mainstream audiences, but to anyone outside the network and its viewers, Carlson represents the downfall of American media and news.

Last week, his three-part documentary surrounding the January 6th insurrection began airing. The documentary peddles falsehoods and inflammatory claims of the insurrection being a “false flag” and “honey pot.” 

The public was outraged by this, calling for action to be taken. Faced with lawsuit after lawsuit and now this scandal, Fox finally fired Carlson. The question is why it took Fox 14 years.

Power, greed and hubris are the short answers. When it came to it, Fox acted less like a news network and more like a business. Carlson was the network’s biggest star, not because of his prowess as a journalist but because of the high ratings and yearly revenue he would bring to Fox. 

Since his departure, Fox has reported a loss of $800 million in market value and a 50% drop in daily views. 

His heated, conspiracy-driven (and falsehood-driven) rants were profitable for the network competing for viewership in a world with hundreds of media outlets. Carlson gave Fox an edge that other right-winged networks did not have.

However, Carlson’s career shows no journalistic responsibility or accountability. As a staff writer for a student-run newspaper, I am held to a higher standard of truth-seeking and reporting than Carlson was at Fox News, a $15.89 billion television and news channel. 

With news being more readily available, media consumers should not have to doubt or fact-check what they hear or read. We often take for granted the credibility we give these big media conglomerates and assume that debates on air are articulated with statistics and facts. 

This can easily be the turning point and end of false news. The question that remains is: “What is next for American media coverage and journalism?”