‘Misinformer of the year’ Tucker Carlson leaves Fox – that much is true

Tucker Carlson, Fox News’ most popular and controversial host, has had a shock departure from the network after 14 years.

The news was announced on Tuesday morning, Australian time, just days after Fox settled a lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems.

Carlson, known for his far-right views, started working for Fox News as a contributor in 2009, before getting his own show, Tucker Carlson Tonight in 2016.

During his time at Fox, he amplified misinformation and blatant conspiracy theories, regarding, but not limited to, COVID-19, the 2020 election and the Capitol insurrection.

Last year, Media Matters for America, an advocacy group, crowned him the “Misinformer of the Year”.

“Tucker Carlson is a dangerous misinformer,” said the group’s president Angelo Carusone, according to AFP.

There are rumours that Rupert Murdoch gave the order to let Carlson go.

Carlson is yet to comment publicly about his departure; it’s also not clear what he intends on doing next.

However, he has been publicly offered a job by a Kremlin propagandist.

To mark the end of Carlson’s tenure at Fox, here are a few of the scandals in which he has found himself, along with some of his controversial remarks.

Carlson hated Trump

When Fox News settled with Dominion last week for $1.2 billion, the network acknowledged some of its reporting after the 2020 election, including Donald Trump’s allies amplifying lies about the results, was false.

The reporting was mainly in other shows on Fox, and while he did try to sow doubt and promote the idea that votes were “stolen” Carlson’s show was not in the spotlight, but his name was dragged into the lawsuit.

Perhaps the most explosive elements were the text messages he sent, which revealed his personal thoughts of Trump didn’t always align with what he said on air.

He and other Fox hosts said they doubted the network’s allegations about Dominion’s role in the supposed election fraud.

In other text messages, Carlson said he couldn’t wait to “ignore” Mr Trump, who he hated “passionately”. However, just weeks ago he interviewed Mr Trump on Fox.

He has also been named in another lawsuit, filed by former Fox producer Abby Grossberg, who was fired after she alleged Fox pressured her into giving misleading testimony in the Dominion lawsuit.

Ms Grossberg alleges Carlson and other male producers made crude comments about women and told anti-Semitic jokes.

Pictured is Donald Trump and Tucker Carlson

Tucker Carlson said he hated Trump “passionately” in private text messages. Photo: Getty

Carlson ‘not stating actual facts’

Even Carlson’s lawyers acknowledged he wasn’t dealing in facts on Fox News.

In 2018, Carlson accused Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels of extorting Mr Trump. Ms McDougal then sued Carlson, saying he slandered her.

Fox’s own legal team argued that Carlson’s comments on his show “cannot reasonably be interpreted as facts“.

Fox also argued that any “reasonable” viewer would tune in with an “appropriate amount of scepticism”, given Carlson’s “reputation”.

The court dismissed the case and concluded the statements made were “rhetorical hyperbole and opinion commentary intended to frame a political debate”.

Putin remarks

Carlson repeatedly questioned the US’s allegiance to Ukraine, even before Russia’s invasion in 2022.

“Why shouldn’t I root for Russia? Because I am,” he proclaimed in 2019, but then backtracked and said he was “joking”.

However, in 2022, he argued that the Democrats had told Americans it was their “patriotic duty to hate Vladimir Putin”.

“It might be worth asking yourself since it is getting pretty serious: What is this really about?” Carlson queried.

“Why do I hate Putin so much? Has Putin ever called me a racist? Has he threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him? Has he shipped every middle-class job in my town to Russia?”

Following the news of Carlson’s departure from Fox, Russian propagandist Vladimir Solovyov offered him a job and suggested he run for president or start his own media company.

Thoughts on immigration

The man who claims to be a Christian said in 2018 there was pressure from leaders to accept immigrants “even if it makes our own country poorer and dirtier and more divided”.

He later said he would never “describe people as inherently dirty”, because he was “pro-people”, which is why he is “against abortions”.

Several companies pulled their ads from Carlson’s show in light of his comments.

COVID denial

In the early days of the pandemic, Carlson wanted COVID to be taken seriously, even saying he felt it was his “moral obligation” to meet then-president Trump in March 2020 to discuss the severity of the illness.

However, he quickly changed his tune. Just two months later he was questioning the severity of COVID-19 in the same month the US tallied over 100,000 COVID-related deaths.

He criticised stay-at-home orders, repeatedly tried to sow doubt about the COVID vaccines, and misrepresented data surrounding vaccine-related deaths.

One of his especially bizarre claims was that the point of vaccine mandates was to identify “sincere Christians”, “free thinkers”, “men with high testosterone levels”, and anyone who doesn’t “love” Joe Biden and “make them leave immediately”.

He also took aim at Australia and New Zealand over COVID restrictions brought in to stop the spread of the virus.

January 6 and conspiracy theories

Carlson made baseless allegations that the January 6 insurrection was organised by the FBI and later he accused Democrats of searching for “a smoking gun that would prove some sort of pre-planned conspiracy to storm the Capitol”.

He described the rioters as “mostly passionately patriotic Americans”, who loved America. Carlson downplayed the role white supremacists played in the insurrection.

Several people charged in connection with the US Capitol riot have ties to right-wing extremist groups,” Politifact noted.

“Some of those groups are explicitly white supremacist. Others, like the Proud Boys, have members who have expressed white supremacist views.”

Politifact also noted that there is a lot of evidence that shows white supremacist symbols were on display at the Capitol.

‘Descent’ into white supremacy

Media Matters has a timeline of Carlson’s “descent into white supremacy” and it dates back to 2004.

In 2018, he questioned whether California was turning into a “third world” due to Latin American immigrants.

In light of NFL player Colin Kaepernick’s protests against police brutality, Carlson questioned “when did rich people become victims?” And later said NFL players “hate” America for refusing to stand for the national anthem.

George Floyd was frequently the target of Carlson’s attacks; he even claimed Mr Floyd died from a drug overdose, not police brutality.

Not only did he promote the “Great Replacement” conspiracy theory, he frequently downplayed white supremacy in America.

Bye Bye Bow Tie’

Only time will tell if Fox will suffer without its most popular host.

Many people are not optimistic that Carlson’s departure will change anything at Fox News.

Hours after the news broke, Mr Trump said Carlson’s departure took him by surprise and described him as a “very good person”.

Carlson’s supporters are not happy about the axing, some are hoping he will be Mr Trump’s running mate in 2024.

Others are rejoicing, one man even wrote an explicit song, Bye Bye Bow Tie, a nod to a fashion choice Carlson made early on in his career.

Meanwhile, The Lincoln Project shared an In Memoriam of Carlson and Fox’s partnership.

Topics: Fox News
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