The feud between Fox News and their former top host, Tucker Carlson, has been growing rapidly more intense and bitter. It’s been seven weeks since Carlson was unceremoniously banished without notice from his Fox News perch. In the interim both have suffered significant declines in audience, as well as reputation, which was already in the gutter.
Carlson has sought to resurface by posting poorly produced, ten minute tirades on Twitter. They have been nothing more than the sort of factless, right-wing monologues, riddled with conspiracy theories, that he used to open his program on Fox News with. Shortly after his first Twitter episode, Fox News advised him that he was in breach of his contract’s non-compete clause. Although it’s a stretch to regard what Carlson is putting out now as “competition,” given its sub-standard production values and tedious content.
Fox News has now taken the next step to send Carlson a “cease and desist“ letter. Since Carlson is still being paid by Fox, this notice is an official signal that they will file a lawsuit to get Carlson to either stop posting his videos, or lose the millions of dollars that remain in his contract, as well as additional compensatory and punitive damages. In response Carlson has apparently dismissed Fox’s warning and continued to post new material on Twitter. His attorney issued the following statement…
“Fox News continues to ignore the interests of its viewers, not to mention its shareholder obligations. Doubling down on the most catastrophic programming decision in the history of the cable news industry, Fox is now demanding that Tucker Carlson be silent until after the 2024 election. Tucker will not be silenced by anyone — whether it be Media Matters, the ADL or Fox News.”
It’s awfully thoughtful of Carlson to be concerned with the interests of Fox’s viewers and shareholders. However, that isn’t a rational legal argument for him to continue breaching his contract. It’s also cute that he regards his cancelation as “the most catastrophic programming decision in the history of the cable news.” Considering the fact that Carlson’s irresponsible lies contributed to Fox News having to shell out nearly a billion dollars to Dominion Voting Systems for defamation, canceling Carlson was a prudent decision that that should have made years sooner.
Carlson believes that his Twitter show is outperforming his old program on Fox. He boasts about the number of “views” his video has racked up. However, like pretty much everything else that he says, he is deliberately misleading his fans and the media. Views on Twitter are not comparable to viewers on television. Aidan McLaughlin, the Editor in Chief of Mediaite, provided an enlightening analysis of how those metrics are starkly different…
“According to Twitter, if you watch a video for two seconds, with only half the video player in-view, you count as one video view. The tweet view metric is even less valuable. It merely counts how many people viewed the tweet, so if you scrolled past Carlson’s video on Twitter, you counted as one of the 114 million. […] If you scrolled past the tweet multiple times, you counted more than once.”
So Carlson contends that nobody, not even Fox News, will be able to silence him. Which sounds more like a threat than a boast. But his public exposure has severely declined since becoming just another Tweeter with attitude. The only consolation for him is that his absence from Fox has hurt them just as much as it has hurt him. Fox’s primetime ratings have been cut in half since Tuckers termination. The good news is that America benefits from the decline and fall of both of them. So let the war continue, and best of luck to both sides.
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