On Wednesday evening, Tucker Carlson broke his silence on his surprise firing from Fox News.
After saying he’d taken a moment to step back, Carlson lamented that both political parties had cohered around a set ideology endorsed by cable news. But now, after his dismissal, he foretold an end. “This moment is too inherently ridiculous to continue,” Carlson said in a video he posted on Twitter. “The people in charge know this. That’s why they’re hysterical and aggressive…but it won’t work when honest people say what’s true.”
That is funny to hear because I’ve spent the last few days poring over hours of Tucker Carlson videos from the archives, listening to what he has previously considered “true.” And, as you can see in five very clear chapters of footage, his truth has often involved promoting Nazi conspiracy theories; broadcasting racist and self-serving propaganda; spewing hate about trans people and children; and pushing the Big Lie. (You can read more about that last part here from our DC Bureau Chief David Corn.)
It’s unclear what will happen next for Carlson. On Monday, when Fox News announced they would be parting ways with the host of Tucker Carlson Tonight—one of cable’s most popular programs—the reasons were unclear. Rumors swirled as speculation about the split began. One theory focused on the legal trouble: Fox News had settled to pay Dominion Voting Systems over $785 million in their defamation trial against the news network following their network-wide promotion of Trump’s false claims that the 2020 election was stolen. One of the most popular perpetrators of promoting those pretenses was, of course, Tucker. Had he been ousted for hurting the bottom line? Or was it the content of his text messages, many redacted, that pushed Fox to act?
Tucker’s announcement implied he would continue broadcasting in some form. “The undeniably big topics, the ones that will define our future, get virtually no discussion at all. War, civil liberties, emerging science, demographic change,” Carlson said in his Wednesday night rejoinder, in what looks like the studio he built in Maine, which residents voted to approve. “When was the last time you heard a legitimate debate about any of those issues?”
And on that I can agree: There’s not much “legitimate debate” here at all.