Watch Fox News Slide As Tucker Carlson Rises

By Wolf Howling, AM THINKER

Image: Wrecking ball generated by DALL-E.

With their decision to take Tucker Carlson’s show off the air, Fox News’s Rupert and Lachlan Murdoch have failed to account for media and political dynamics that have, over a period of years, shifted under their feet. The Murdochs’ decision will inevitably prove catastrophic for Fox News and will likely be an inflection point that marks a wholesale change to a media landscape that, to paraphrase Matt Taibbi, has calcified in progressive concrete.

The philosopher George Santayana famously opined that “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” That is not quite true—just ask the French, who, circa 1940, were fully prepared to refight World War I. The real lesson of history is that anyone who ignores history in context is doomed to failure. Such is the situation with Fox News.

Rupert Murdoch launched Fox News in 1996. The late Charles Krauthammer, often a guest on Fox News, once quipped that Murdoch saw a “niche” market opportunity in the U.S. for conservative news, with the niche amounting to “half the country.” Over the past 27 years, Fox News lucratively occupied that niche as the only viable broadcast media source for center-right news and opinion. It grew to be the dominant news source in the cable market.

The world has changed dramatically since 1996, though, and no more so than in the last seven years. Trump’s election in 2016 tore off the last vestiges of moderate camouflage shielding the progressive cancer that infects America.

John Adams said that “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.” That implies good faith as the glue holding the republic together. Today, there is not a scintilla of morality or good faith among our progressives, a narcissistic and historically illiterate group of people who have far more in common with Karl Marx than George Washington.

Today’s progressives are intent on manipulating our systems to take power, whatever the cost. These progressives used Covid-19 to war on religion, aberrant sexualization of children to war on families, post-modernism to war on objective truth, and politicized education to teach children corrupted history that identifies America as an evil nation.

Progressives have criminalized ideological opponents, making conservatives out to be domestic terrorists. Progressives have silenced speech to a degree never before seen in our country. They have denied conservatives the most fundamental protection of due process and equal protection. And progressives are fundamentally altering our nation through hard-left regulations issuing from an unconstitutional bureaucracy operating outside of the ballot box. This is truly evil, and our nation has not been in such dire straits since 1861.

Lastly, progressives have been openly advocating for a de facto coup since 2019. Progressives are within two votes in the Senate—and now a few votes in the House—to enable vote fraud throughout America. They would create new, reliably progressive states to give Democrats permanent power in Congress. They would get rid of the electoral college, turning our nation from a republic into a democracy of the type our Founders feared, and they would pack the Supreme Court to allow a progressive judiciary, unconstitutionally and unilaterally, simply to declare amendments to our Constitution. The world of 2023 is cosmically different from 2016, let alone 1996. We teeter on the precipice of disaster no one could possibly have imagined on New Year’s Day 2016.

Technologically, the world has changed as well. In 1996, broadcast and cable were the only real means of mass news communication. That changed with the internet and then the growth of social media sites—sites that years ago grew to be the nation’s dominant means of news access. Since about 2018, every single one of these social media sites—with the recent exception of Elon Musk’s Twitter—criminally conspired with the government to censor conservative speech on a scale never before seen in history.

Thus, the world Fox News now inhabits is very different from everything that came before. It is beyond dispute that Fox News built a very loyal viewing audience over the years because it was the only significant media site that gave conservatives a voice. As noted at Wikipedia, “[i]n 2019, it was the top-rated cable network, averaging 2.5 million viewers in prime time.”

And it is also true that Fox has fired or parted ways with numerous employees and guests over the years with, at most, a bare speed bump in its ratings. Some, such Megan Kelly, left on their own only to find that they were both replaceable at Fox and not viable in mainstream media. Others were fired when they seemed to stray too far from the mainstream, such as Glenn Beck. Fox’s boldest move came in 2016 when it fired Bill O’Reilly, then host of the top-rated opinion show on Fox and in cable overall. Fox justified its decision—and the public accepted it—because it became public that O’Reilly had a history of sexual harassment. All three of these people have faded onto the fringes of the media.

Fox’s decision to silence Tucker Carlson, though, is fundamentally different. Tucker did not commit malfeasance. There was no contract dispute. Tucker was averaging over 3 million viewers per night for Fox, and he was the single most popular primetime show on cable news. The speculations about why Fox canceled Tucker’s show have been ludicrous. Moreover, it appears that Fox is trying to use its position to keep Tucker from broadcasting any shows through 2024. Reports Breitbart:

Carlson’s current contract runs through December 2024, and as of now three sources familiar with the matter told Breitbart News that executives at the network are trying to keep Carlson on contract and not release him until after the 2024 election.

The only reasonable explanation for Fox News’s decision is ideological. Tucker is the most popular conservative voice in the U.S. and a cash cow for Fox. Nevertheless, the Murdochs felt they could silence Carlson on a whim, expecting Fox News viewers to just accept their decision.

Could there be a more fundamental act of disloyalty to Fox’s viewers? Could it have come at a worse time, when conservatives rightly feel that they face an existential threat from progressives set upon a coup?

Fox is feeling the backlash for this incredible high-handedness. Its ratings are tanking. As Breitbart reports,

What’s truly interesting is just how much blowback Fox is getting from its audience for canceling Carlson’s and Bongino’s shows—something that the brass, including the Murdochs, seem to not have calculated clearly ahead of time. In fact, the ratings crashed in primetime this week and Carlson’s own video released on Twitter on Wednesday evening in its first hour post-publication got more views online than the network’s 8:00 p.m. hour—his old time slot—got in total ratings. For now, the Murdochs think they are above it all and that this too shall pass.

That is true arrogance. The Murdochs are living in a bubble worthy of a 1940 French general. Unlike the situation in 2016, conservatives realize that, today, the progressive threat to our Republic is both imminent and existential. To remove the most popular voice for conservatives at just this moment and without any reasonable business motive is something that I cannot see any conservative ever forgiving. This is Fox’s Bud Light moment on steroids.

If Carlson can find a voice outside of Fox that is accessible to Americans, he will thrive. Moreover, thanks to the nation’s most laudable free speech proponent, Elon Musk, the broadcast platform for Carlson to reach Americans already exists:

Good evening

— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) April 27, 2023

Carlson’s video, released on Twitter a few days ago, has had tens of million views. That is reaching an audience that dwarfs anything on Fox News many times over. It dwarfs any news show, including on broadcast television:

Bill Maher asks about @TuckerCarlson‘s tweet that got 22 million views and 76 million impressions:@elonmusk: “Twitter has a tremendous audience. There are 250 million people that spend an average of half an hour a day on Twitter. So, it’s about 120 to 130 million user hours per…

— KanekoaTheGreat (@KanekoaTheGreat) April 29, 2023

This shows that Carlson has viable options for broadcasting himself. And more, it means that Carlson might well be able to establish a consolidation of conservative media that has a much greater reach over Twitter than anything that appears on cable, broadcast media, or the internet today. In any event, the Murdochs, like the French of 1940, are about to learn a hard lesson about knowing history in context.

Wolf Howling is a pseudonym. A former infantry officer and lawyer, he blogs at Bookworm Room.

April 30, 2023 | Comments »

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