Why Won’t Fox News Fire Tucker Carlson? Their Deplorable Viewers Will Watch Whoever Replaces Him

Following a week where Jane Mayer’s exhaustive New Yorker essay exposing how Fox News has transformed from a Republican mouthpiece into the propaganda arm of Donald Trump’s White House, the network is undergoing additional hardship due to its own embrace of doctrinaire hate speech.

Fox News, Tucker Carlson, Donald Trump

The primetime White Nationalist Hour of Tucker Carlson has long been a haven for bigotry dispensed by the most smugly arrogant blowhard on television. Carlson has the distinction of having been fired from three TV networks (PBS, CNN, and MSNBC). However, when he landed at Fox News (despite his previous bad blood with the network), he had truly found his TV soul mate, where he could blather incessantly about “dirty” immigrants and loving all Americans, even the Klan members.

Now Media Matters has unearthed some recordings of Carlson when he was a guest on a rather profane radio show hosted by Bubba, the Love Sponge. His rantings were among the most repulsively misogynistic tirades ever made in a public forum by a well known pundit. In the video compilation Carlson can heard blatantly defending a convicted sexual abuser and justifying child rape:

Subsequently, there has been an outcry for advertisers to boycott Fox News (which many are already doing), and for Fox to fire Tucker Carlson. For the moment, that doesn’t appear to a likely consequence of Carlson’s disgusting behavior. His response to the controversy was a brazenly unapologetic tweet that dismissed any acknowledgement of his grotesque commentaries:

“Media Matters caught me saying something naughty on a radio show more than a decade ago. Rather than express the usual ritual contrition, how about this: I’m on television every weeknight live for an hour. If you want to know what I think, you can watch. Anyone who disagrees with my views is welcome to come on and explain why.”

First of all, what Carlson said wasn’t “naughty.” It was obscene, hostile, and utterly contemptible. It was degrading and dangerous. There is no excuse for the nauseating views he disgorged over and over again. Secondly, his attempt to dismiss it as having occurred a decade ago are laughably hypocritical. He surely doesn’t have the same forgiveness for the North Carolina governor’s blackface photos in a thirty year old college yearbook. Or for the decades old philandering of Bill Clinton. Or for the forty year old remarks by Joe Biden that Carlson featured on last Friday’s show.

Finally, his suggestion that the solution to this problem is for his critics to come on his show and help boost his floundering ratings is grossly self-serving. Plus, it’s a lie that he’ll let “anyone” come on his show to confront him. His modus operandi is to entrap his guests with contrived questions of the “Have you stopped beating your wife” variety. And if they manage to get the upper hand, he interrupts them and cuts them off.

So Fox News is once again being faced with a public backlash caused by one of their noxious hosts. They are simultaneously dealing with comments by Jeanine Pirro, who delivered one of her patented teeth-gnashing, spittle-inflected assaults on Rep. Ilhan Omar that asserted she was anti-America and anti-Constitution because she’s a practicing Muslim. Fox News actually released a statement “strongly condemning” Pirro, but will likely do nothing else.

What’s funny is that they could easily fire Carlson and suffer little or no repercussions outside of the PR hit. The core Fox News audience has demonstrated through the years that they will watch whatever is on Fox, no matter what or who it is. It appears that one obnoxious, lying hate monger is the same as another. So Fox could jettison Carlson and replace him with Jason Chaffetz or Brian Kilmeade and no one would flinch. So why won’t Fox fire Tucker Carlson?

First and foremost, Fox News agrees with Carlson. The network’s mission has always been in alignment with just the sort of repellant verbal abuse that Carlson unleashed in the video above. What’s more, Rupert Murdoch has been a notoriously stubborn purveyor of right-wing media. He will hang on to failing properties for years with the expectation that sheer persistence will bring success. And he has a physical aversion to conceding that he’s ever wrong about anything.

That blind faith in always being right is something Murdoch shares with Donald Trump. And something else they share is the belief that – as Trump put it – he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose any of his supporters. That appears to be the working thesis at Fox News where the carnage produced by Carlson, Pirro, and others won’t have any cost in ratings. So even though it would be easier to let Carlson go and plug in another wingnut bot, Fox will cling to his revolting personage and try to weather the storm.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Unfortunately for Fox News, that old method of doing business may not hold up in the future. The network has been bleeding audience, advertisers, and revenue for several months. Rachel Maddow is kicking Sean Hannity’s fat arse. And the more that Fox clutches tightly to Trump, the worse their prospects have been. So time will tell if enabling jerkwads like Carlson will pay off in the long run.

Top 10 Reasons the DNC Was Right to Refuse a Fox News Hosted Democratic Primary Debate

A few weeks ago the chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), Tom Perez, was asked by Fox News anchor Bret Baier whether he would consider scheduling a Democratic Party primary debate on Fox News. Perez responded saying “Absolutely, we’re having discussions with Fox and others.” That reply was widely criticized by Democrats appalled at the notion of rewarding the propaganda arm of the Trump White House with that kind of opportunity to continue their campaign of political sabotage.

Fox News Sad

However, after the publication of Jane Mayer’s article in the New Yorker that detailed the all-consuming embrace between Donald Trump and Fox News, it appears that Perez has had a wise and welcome change of heart. He now says that:

“I believe that a key pathway to victory is to continue to expand our electorate and reach all voters. That is why I have made it a priority to talk to a broad array of potential media partners, including Fox News. Recent reporting in the New Yorker on the inappropriate relationship between President Trump, his administration and Fox News has led me to conclude that the network is not in a position to host a fair and neutral debate for our candidates. Therefore, Fox News will not serve as a media partner for the 2020 Democratic primary debates.”

That decision should have been an easy one from the start. Fox News has not made a secret of it’s prejudices. They spend twenty-four hours a day promoting Trump as the savior of America, shielding him from any and all criticism, and viciously maligning Democrats and others who dare to challenge Trump’s divine right to absolute power.

It’s tempting to invoke analogies about putting foxes in charge of hen houses, but that’s way too easy. It would have to also include hiring Colonel Sanders to run the operation. And if anyone isn’t convinced that Fox News is unfit to produce an impartial and nonpartisan debate program, here are some recent segments that Fox has aired that reveal the extremities of their bias:

  1. Fox News accuses Democrats of advocating infanticide.
  2. Fox News brazenly lies to smear Democrats on a mission of mercy to reduce global poverty.
  3. Sean Hannity of Fox News thinks Americans shouldn’t ever see the Mueller report on Trump.
  4. Trump confirms that Fox News shills are his chief influencers.
  5. Fox News refused to run an ad for an Oscar-nominated anti-Nazi documentary.
  6. Tucker Carlson of Fox News insists that there was ‘no collusion’ between Trump and Russia because there just wasn’t any.
  7. Fox News Fails to see any Russian collusion in Roger Stone’s indictment.
  8. Fox News compares Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Hitler and Stalin in unhinged rant.
  9. Fox News airs Ruth Bader Ginsburg obituary graphic.
  10. Fox News hosts blatantly push him to declare a national emergency over his border wall funding.

Can anyone make a credible case for the network that spews those lies and slander to host a debate by the party they have been unambiguously trying to destroy? Well, Fox News senior vice president Bill Sammon can. He said that:

“We hope the DNC will reconsider its decision to bar Chris Wallace, Bret Baier and Martha MacCallum, all of whom embody the ultimate journalistic integrity and professionalism, from moderating a Democratic presidential debate. They’re the best debate team in the business and they offer candidates an important opportunity to make their case to the largest TV news audience in America, which includes many persuadable voters.”

There is so much in there that is just plain nonsense. To begin with, it’s already been established that “journalistic integrity and professionalism” is nonexistent on Fox News. They do not have “the largest TV news audience in America.” In fact, Rachel Maddow of MSNBC has beaten her competition, Sean Hannity, nearly every night for four straight months. And Fox’s audience is the least persuadable bunch of right-wing cult worshipers in TV land. They are more reliably Republican voters than even members of the GOP. There simply isn’t a significant number of Fox News viewers who will ever vote for a Democrat.

Nevertheless, Fox News still believes that they should get a chance to host a Democratic debate. Despite being a network whose hosts and contributors have universally banded together to disparage special counsel Robert Mueller – an American hero who has devoted his entire life to public service – as a corrupt, conflicted, Stalinist, traitor to America. They remain silent when Trump calls the media “the enemy of the people.” creating an environment that encourages censorship and violence. They have advised Trump to act illegally by ignoring judicial rulings and issuing executive orders that violate the Constitution. And no one on Fox said a word when Trump declared that he knows – and could name – Democrats in Congress who hate America.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

Does that sound like a network that should be allowed to host a debate by members of the party that they are railing against in the most despicable terms? Obviously Perez came to his senses by nixing Fox as a debate host. And if anyone thinks that it’s discriminatory, just remember that Trump has already nixed the networks that he doesn’t like. While he has give more than forty interviews to Fox News, he has given zero to CNN and MSNBC. And he is supposed to be the president of all the people, not just the GOP/Trump-friendly ones he finds at Fox News. The Democratic Party has no such obligation. And they certainly have no obligation to present themselves to their sworn enemies for an orchestrated political assault.

UPDATE: Naturally Trump weighed in on this via Twitter:

Which is funny, because he actually boycotted a Fox News debate himself. It was because he didn’t like Megyn Kelly who was one of the moderators. Now he’s all verklempt because Democrats don’t want to legitimize a network that does nothing but insult them.

Also, Trump has already done the same thing. He’s given 40+ interviews to Fox and zero to CNN and MSNBC. What’s more, most Americans would love it if he boycotted debates not on Fox. The less of him, the better.

FINALLY! Jane Mayer’s New Yorker Story Asks if Fox News has Become Trump Propaganda

Twenty-three years ago Rupert Murdoch (an international, ultra-conservative newspaper baron) and Roger Ailes (a Republican media consultant) joined forces to launch Fox News, an avowedly right-wing cable news network. It’s mission was to advance the agenda of the far-right and to malign Democrats and other liberals. Any objective observer recognized their intentions. They were spelled out openly in the slogan, “fair and balanced,” which implied that all the other news outlets were not. It’s a tactic they borrowed from cult marketing.

Donald Trump Fox News

Over time Fox News transformed into a mouthpiece specifically dedicated to Donald Trump. While it still promoted Republican policies, it was through a filter that first took into consideration the best interests of Trump. The evidence of this bias was everywhere. And now Jane Mayer of the New Yorker has compiled an exhaustive collection of it that seals the case. She may be two years late, but the historical value of her documentation is still worthwhile. Some of the key observations included this description of the place that Fox News came to occupy in American media:

“It has evolved into something that hasn’t existed before in the United States. Nicole Hemmer, an assistant professor of Presidential studies at the University of Virginia’s Miller Center and the author of ‘Messengers of the Right,’ a history of the conservative media’s impact on American politics, says of Fox, ‘It’s the closest we’ve come to having state TV.’ […] ‘Fox is not just taking the temperature of the base—it’s raising the temperature,” she says. ‘It’s a radicalization model.'”

Indeed. Fox News set out to stir up the Trump Deplorables into a army of angry misfits who have literally threatened to start a civil war over what they regard as the mistreatment of their Dear Leader. And Trump has helped to inflame those sentiments by declaring that the media (which doesn’t include Fox News) is “the enemy of the American people.” He persists in that calculated characterization even after several domestic terrorists have targeted the media for assassination.

Mayer also noted that the intertwining of of the White House and Fox News turned it into a hybrid creature that interacted “so seamlessly that it can be hard to determine, during a particular news cycle, which one is following the other’s lead.” Actually, it isn’t that hard. Trump is too ignorant to come up with an original idea. It is clearly Fox News that is running the President’s show. Numerous examples of him live-tweeting what he sees on Fox have been documented.

This bizarre embrace is further evident in the revolving door relationship between Fox and the Trump administration, wherein his staff was littered with former Foxies, while former staffers often ended up on the network’s payroll. Perhaps the most egregious example of that was when Trump hired Bill Shine as his Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications. Shine was the former Fox News president who was fired for his role in enabling the sexual misconduct of Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly. He was also Sean Hannity’s producer before moving into the executive suites.

Mayer’s article covered a broad array of Fox News history. She wrote about Trump’s long personal relationship with Rupert Murdoch. She revealed that Fox had the Stormy Daniels story before other media, but declined to publish it because “Rupert wanted Trump to win.” She detailed how Trump sought to intervene in the AT&T/TimeWarner merger in order to punish CNN.

How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.

The whole article is worth the read for anyone interested in how Fox News became Trump’s propaganda division. But most of it is a just a very compelling retelling of the incestuous political/media affair that raged between Trump and Fox News. It’s useful to have this much information all in one place. And hopefully it will persuade some of the laggards who have been willfully blind to this conjoining of wingnuttery that allowing a criminal government to merge with an unethically biased media enterprise is both un-American and dangerous.