Like him or hate him, agree with him or not, there is no denying Tucker Carlson's impact on the cultural and political landscape. From his iconoclastic coverage of our political ruling class to his fearlessness when it comes to focusing on the hot button issues of our day:
… there is no one in our divided - and divisive - media landscape who generates nearly as much attention, debate, and vitriol. Not by a long shot. His ratings, which are significantly more than all his cable news competitors combined, bear that out. As did the reaction he gets. For example:
Or did. Because Tucker has gone Broken Arrow from the media giant he's been carrying:
The speculation in the immediate aftermath is all over the map right now. But it mainly seems to focus on Carlson's supposed frustration with management meddling. Fox just paid out almost $800 million to settle a defamation lawsuit and is apparently making an effort to shift more toward the political middle. For instance, a few weeks ago Tucker Carlson Tonight was given literally tens of thousands of hours of never-before-seen footage of January 6th, and promised bombshell revelations. That Monday night show focused on the weirdo with the buffalo horns seeming to be helped around the building by Capitol police, which raised a ton of questions. The next night, he showed the same footage before moving on to another topic. Raising speculation that his bosses vetoed any attempt to show more.
Or, it might be much more simple than that. It could just be that basic cable is in a death spiral. And anyone who can command a huge audience is costing him- or herself money every time they show up to a network studio instead of going into business for themselves.
Regardless, this is a major change in the news landscape, just as country is getting out the starting gate of the 2024 elections. (God help us all.) It raises not only the question of where right wing dads and people in rural America are going to get their opinions and My Pillow ads from. But also whether we're still going to have competing viewpoints on cable news the way we do on outlets like YouTube and online news platforms.
But even more importantly than those matters is the fact prime time television just lost the only voice out there who was willing to talk about the most important issues of our times. Namely Dave Portnoy:
… and UFOs:
Obviously when you're as polarizing a figure as Tucker has been, millions will rejoice that they've finally gotten their wish to get him off the air. But I'll just caution them that in order to have a truly free democracy, you have to give voice to everyone, even the ones you most vehemently disagree with. So be careful what you wish for.