By Alec Hogg
I’ve been fascinated by reports accompanying news that the US’s most-watched TV host, Tucker Carlson, has been fired. On Monday, $20m a year Fox News anchor was given his marching orders, the first business day after his employers paid $787m to settle a defamation suit over the channel’s false claims about US election fraud.
Not being a Fox News viewer, the first time I came across the storied right-wing Carlson was during the pandemic when his producers were looking for contact details on local Covid-vaccine critics. He was back in my consciousness last year when Politicsweb defended Carlson’s perspectives on SA farm murders (click here).___STEADY_PAYWALL___
Reasons aired for the firing range from alleged sexual harrassment of staff to evidence that Fox’s 92 year-old owner Rupert Murdoch has lost his marbles. The latter backed by Murdoch’s headline-making marriage proposal to 66-year-old conservative columnist Lesley Ann Smith. Two weeks later, he called off the engagement.
The truth for the axing is probably a lot simpler. Carlson just cost Murdoch a lot of money. And for the court case to have progressed so far, would have insisted he had the story right. Media owners of any age hate having to pay up after being lied to. Their fallout was probably old fashioned breakdown in trust. Most divorces are.