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Tucker Theories & CNN’s Trump Revival

Undoubtedly, everything in the Times report is true enough, but it nevertheless still felt like window dressing on the real motivation for Tucker’s termination.
Undoubtedly, everything in the Times report is true enough, but it nevertheless still felt like window dressing on the real motivation for Tucker’s termination. Photo: Jason Koerner/Getty Images
Dylan Byers
May 3, 2023

In the nine days since Tucker Carlson’s expulsion from Fox, there have been a litany of rationales and hypotheses put forth to explain why Rupert Murdoch abruptly cut ties with his most powerful and highly rated host, exposing the business to MAGA-world blowback, tanking the Fox News primetime ratings, blowing up the Fox Nation streaming service, and leaving himself on the hook for about $20 million in salary payments in the process. To date, however, none of the explanations have been wholly satisfying.

One early prevailing theory posited that Carlson was fired because of a misogynistic and insubordinate text in which he used the c-word to describe a Fox executive (longtime Fox P.R. chief Irena Briganti, I’m reliably told). Another posited that Tucker’s texts and emails convinced the Murdochs and the Fox board that he had become too conspiratorial, or too bigoted, or merely too loopy in his on- and off-air worldview. There were also some differences of opinion regarding the war in Ukraine, apparently. None of these quite pass muster, however, partly because few have viewed Fox News as the paragon of organizational management or corporate enlightenment.