Fox Corporation has cut ties with Tucker Carlson. And once again, we see that Fox Corporation “did the right thing” for all the wrong reasons. Recall when Fox fired Bill O'Reilly and Bob Ailes, not because they did awful things to women, but because people found out. Fox had no problem with sexual harassment when it was going on. They only cared when it became a liability—when it went public that they had made the victims of sexual harassment sign severance agreements with non-disparagement clauses and escorted the women out the back door with hush money (while allowing O'Reilly and Ailes to continue doing what they did). Only when the public found out did they go back and actually punish the perpetrators.
In Tucker Carlson's case, Fox Corp. had no problem with his spewing lies and bigotry and fanning the flames of conspiracy theorists for years. They knew that a lot of what he was putting out there was complete claptrap that not even he believed. They knew exactly what he thought about his colleagues and Donald Trump. They probably thought those same things. They liked how he was playing in a gray area where the lines of news, opinion, hate speech, and entertainment are blurry. Though his rhetoric grew more inflammatory as his ego ballooned, that's not what made Fox reach a breaking point, as if they were just tolerating him because of the ratings and one day he went too far. They knew about the toxic and hostile work environment he created and the kind of misogynistic language he used off air, which they could have used as a basis for firing him for cause and not have to buy out his contract. And they didn’t decide that he needed to be let go because he was the primary cause of the Dominion suit, which became a major distraction for Fox and resulted in a costly settlement. No. What got Tucker fired was that all of this came out in public. And what pushed it over the edge was that he was talking trash about his bosses and the company's business decisions behind their backs, and then it was laid out, text after text, for all of us to see and make fun of. Had it not been for Tucker's private chatter about Fox Corporation itself, he'd be on Fox News tonight running his mouth about everything (except Fox) in public. Attention, All Fox Corporation (and NewsCorp) Employees: Say and do whatever you want to any person dead or alive, but don’t bite the fox that feeds you.
Like Trump, Tucker Carlson will resurface somewhere else, albeit with a smaller platform. His loyal fans will follow, but it won't be as easy for him to expand his audience as it was on America’s most watched cable news network. Tucker had been a journeyman in the TV news industry for a long time at a broad range of networks, including CNN, MSNBC, and PBS. But he never gained big time ratings, not even at Fox News, until they promoted him to fill O’Reilly’s time slot. Fox created Tucker. They will find or create their next Tucker, just like they found their next O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, et al. It's what Fox does.