Replaced and Canceled

The glee I felt when I found out that Tucker Carlson was let go by Fox was akin to what I felt when The Don lost the election to Joe Biden. Except of course, according to Carlson and his cronies, The Don didn’t really lose. Carlson’s lies and shameless spreading of disinformation about everything from the so called “friendly visit of the January 6th touring group” at the Capitol and his support of the “Big Lie,” have played a major role in stoking the flames of hate and grievance on the right. His misogyny and anti-LGBTQ and racist rhetoric was destructive and repugnant. And now the man who promulgated “Replacement Theory,” the conspiratorial hogwash that White America will be replaced by “those others” has been replaced. The man who continually attacked “cancel” culture was canceled. Guess, ultimately, what goes around comes around.

Of all his many egregious ramblings his tic-like obsession with “Replacement Theory” was the most insidious as it consistently served to gin up White grievance and paranoia. Nothing like a constant refrain of “They are coming for you so hold on to your AR 15s.” If you recall, during the infamous Charlottseville protest against removing confederate statues, people marched with Tiki lamps chanting “Jews will not replace us.” Witnessing this was chilling. Listening to a president claim that there were “good people on both sides” was terrifying. Carlson reinforcing it was despicable.

From his perch on top of the cable news world, Carlson’s harping on this was toxic and dangerous. And he did it all with that prep school boyish charm and ‘aw shucks’ demeanor that made him so easy to believe and digest. While The Don was foaming at the mouth, spreading lies and attacking anyone and everyone, the bow-tied Carlson shamelessly validated it all. The more he tied himself to The Don, the more his ratings soared. It was a demonic symbiosis that fostered polarization and tore at the fabric of our democracy.

Carlson loomed large, and his ego and stardom must have made him feel invincible. Like The Don, he probably felt he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and get away with it. Wouldn’t you like to have been a fly on the wall when he was told (in what must have been one cold phone call) that he was no longer an employee of Fox? In shock, I’m sure he probably thought it was a prank, a belated April Fools foil, that they were messing with him to create confusion before they rewarded him with even more money and power. After all, he was irreplaceable. He was the face of Fox News, its greatest asset. 

How easily the mighty can fall. From superstar to liability. It just takes one phone call. Don’t come to work on Monday. Your things have been gathered and will be delivered to you. Your computer has been erased. You’ve been canceled. 

In addition, Producer Abby Grossberg is suing Fox, and Carlson, alleging a hostile and discriminatory work environment. Big surprise there. Getting rid of Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes and having to pay settlements to women who were sexually harassed was just symbolic-the talk that Fox was going to change its culture was always a joke.

Rupert Murdoch knew what was going on behind closed doors: he just didn’t want to upset his money making machine by insisting that they do something about it. Most of all, without Murdoch, Carlson doesn’t exist. Murdoch sanctioned and encouraged the lies, the vitriol, the anti-democratic values and the White Supremacy. Why the sudden disenchantment? What was in those redacted Carlson communications? How vile did he have to get for it to become a bridge too far? Were their photos of Carlson and Putin?

Will Fox use this as an opportunity to reboot after having to pay out almost 800 million dollars to Dominion (and potentially more) to others who are suing them for defamation? Fat chance, as there is money to be made ginning up the anti-government, right wing they nurtured.

Will there be a backlash and decline in their viewership with Carlson’s dismissal?  What will Tucker do? Will he become Newsmax’s new star anchor? What new venue will he find to spread his poisonous and destructive rhetoric? Maybe he will run for president?

I have a thought. How about a reformation project? A chasten Tucker wants to make amends. How about a Sesame Street gig? Maybe they would create a character called Fibberpuss, who is always getting caught with his hand in Cookie Monster’s cookie jar, tries to lie about it, but eventually comes clean and has to “replace” the stolen cookie. Unfortunately, I fear these news monsters (Tucker and Fox News both) will continue their venal ways. This is America. If you can sell it to hell with the consequences.

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