How Tucker Carlson found his way into the alternative spotlight after Fox’s exit

How Tucker Carlson found his way into the alternative spotlight after Fox’s exit

Tucker Carlson experiences a second media spring. After the relationship with Fox News, the former quota guarantor continues on X where he left off. He makes opinions – and millions hang on his every word.

“I think getting rid of you was a terrible decision.” Apparently, this is what affection sounds like coming from Donald Trump. That addressee Tucker Carlson didn’t blush is all.

The right-wing agitator once demonstrably declared that he hated Trump “passionately”. But apparently nothing unites them as much as a scorned love. Both the ex-president and the ex-star host have been dropped by Fox News. One on trial, the other probably forever. They stole the show from Fox with their conversation, which Carlson published on X (formerly Twitter) this week alongside the Republican TV debate. The message: As you us, so we you.

Live on Fox News, while Trump’s “chasers” fought for the pitiful remaining percentage of voters’ favor, Trump and Carlson chatted in front of a fireplace about stolen elections, bad incumbents, vengeful traitors and the looming civil war. Not old-fashioned on cable TV. But on X. 46 minutes and 12 seconds went spook. In the end they both won – and Fox lost.

With their Twitter talk, they would probably get better ratings than the competing event, Trump predicted to his counterpart. He should be right. The pre-recorded snap has reportedly been viewed more than 15 million times among friends again. The TV debate on Fox saw just 12.8 million people.

With the metaphorical renewal of his vows of convenience with Trump, Carlson has undoubtedly scored a coup. Anyone who believed that America’s most successful right-wing agitator would disappear into oblivion after being sacked from Fox News was terribly mistaken. Tucker Carlson is still there. And he’s unleashed.

Last on “Tucker & Fox”

When Fox News surprisingly gave up his ratings guarantor at the end of April after seven years of relationship, it was the last consequence of a radical inventory. It was the end of a successful partnership that had made the anchorman rich and the network wider. After the legal debacle with voting machine manufacturer Dominion, which the media group swept under the carpet for $787.5 million, the Fox leadership apparently saw Carlson’s departure as an indispensable part of the healing process. Dominion had demanded damages because the broadcaster had spread reports of alleged manipulation of the voting computers. The figurehead himself claimed in his biography, published in early August, that his head was actually part of the deal with Dominion. There is no evidence of this.

It’s hard to say how deep Carlson’s frustration really is. He cannot let the past rest. For financial reasons alone. In fact, he wasn’t actually fired at all. He is still under contract until the end of 2024, US media reports. Until then, the 54-year-old should continue to receive his lavish salary, most recently he allegedly collected more than 20 million dollars a year. However, the money tap only remains open on the condition that Carlson does not breach his contract. From Fox’s point of view, however, he is doing exactly that with his competing show on X. Carlson has allegedly already received a warning for this, and even an injunction can be read. Apparently, that doesn’t deter Carlson.

Instead, he celebrated the breakup as a kind of reawakening. He realized “how incredibly stupid most of the TV debates are, they’re completely irrelevant, they mean nothing,” he said a day after he left.

Professional Swearing: “Tucker on X”

With a crisp “We’re back”, Carlson reported back on May 9th. Carlson thanked Elon Musk for his successful emergency landing on X. As if he had granted him media asylum. The eccentric tech billionaire had just taken over the platform himself at the time. According to their own statement, also to put an end to the supposed censorship. He found a discourse ally in Tucker Carlson. In the podcast by the British comedian Russel Brand, Carlson later asserted that he did not work directly for Elon, as he calls Musk in a friendly way. He also didn’t pay him to broadcast his interviews exclusively on X. “I don’t think I ever want to work for anyone again,” Carlson said. The only big, yes the only platform in the world where you can still express yourself freely, but that’s Twitter. No more shackles for the unchained! And so the second media spring began for the chased propaganda prophet.

In his TV talk show, the agitator served his viewers an evening potpourri of half-truths, lies and conspiracy theories. The limit of what could be said was a narrow strip on the horizon – if at all. “Tucker on Twitter” (later “Tucker on X”) unsurprisingly turned out to be the exact replica of his primetime show. In the first editions he limited himself to his typical monologues, in which he mostly gets excited. Preferably through President Joe Biden. “Wouldn’t Be Dictator” is the title of Episode Four.

Now, few people entertain themselves as well as Carlson. But it’s better to be outraged in pairs. He invited guests – or friends. The borders blur at times. In the 19 episodes so far, super scumbag Robert Francis Kennedy Jr. revealed to him who murdered his uncle (spoiler: the CIA, of course), he gave the sexist influencer Andrew Tate two and a half hours of verbal legroom, he let the spanking rhetoric and presidential candidate Vivek Ramaswamy question him with questions answered and courted Hungary’s right-wing populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban personally.

Those who are supposedly not allowed to say anything say a lot at Carlson. “Tucker on X” becomes an open house format. Open to everything that is right and supposedly misunderstood.

Drop in ratings and pain of separation: Carlson reaches the millions that Fox News loses

On Fox, Carlson reached an average of 3.5 million prime-time viewers – the absolute top in American cable television. It’s hard to say how many people are listening to his chirping today. Meticulously measured TV ratings cannot be compared with what X rates as “viewed”. The news site “Mashable”, which specializes in social media, assumes that only about six percent of what the platform indicates as an “ad” corresponds to a real viewer.

But even taking this formula into account, Carlson initially made a dream start on X. Millions were loyal to him – or at least were curious. After that, his numbers dropped at times, but shot up to unimagined heights depending on the guest.

In any case, Carlson showed that it can also be done without station bosses breathing down your neck. At Fox, this realization should cause unsightly mental cinema. What if other moderators follow Carlson’s lead? What if the station is no longer the goal, but just a stepping stone? In the first few months without Carlson, ratings plummeted. The presenters from the substitutes’ bench initially reached far less than half the audience that Carlson had regularly captured. But not only the most important slot at 8 p.m., but the ratings for the entire prime time fell by almost 40 percent at times.

At the same time, the competition increased. The even more right-wing colleagues from Newsmax were able to more than double their average viewership during prime time. Only with the introduction of a new program and the final clarification of the successor question did the numbers recover. Fox News’ leadership position was never in jeopardy,” said Lachlan Murdoch, CEO of the parent company, according to the Washington Post. But the truth is: Carlson left a deep, a very deep hole in the moderator’s chair. With his successor, Jesse Watters, they are Channel bosses “satisfied”, but he’s not a Tucker Carlson.

The question arises: What makes Carlson so special anyway?

The man on the right at the counter – what does Carlson do better than the rest?

Viewers feel taken seriously by the man who likes to wear a Hogwarts-style tie on a plaid shirt. Probably no other right-wing TV rabble-rouser uses this “one-of-us-mentality” so skilfully. If he starts to rant, he seems like a mixture of a regulars’ buddy and a university professor. A guy you want to agree with because he has the right, the finds simple words and at the same time is the smartest guy at the counter.

Carlson likes to speak as a we, including the audience, without being asked but not intrusively. As if he were putting his arm around the viewer’s shoulders in the middle of an intimate conversation. He rarely exudes real joy. When he laughs, it almost bursts out of him. The shrill crackling sounds more like the absurd imitation of a laugh.

Tucker Carlson is undoubtedly a gifted public speaker with a natural sense of the perfect pause. Once he has picked up speed, he is a steamroller that crushes his counterpart.

But probably the most important thing: He fills a gap. He’s not as “crazy” as alternative rabble-rousers à la Steve Bannon, but he can serve the same audience – and more. Carlson is doable. Where the bulk of the Fox moderator pool consists of interchangeable marketers, Carlson is polished unpolished. He turns conspiracy theories into theories. Absurdities sound logical out of his mouth.

Who knows. Perhaps in the not-too-distant future, Carlson will tire of talking and try some action? Should he one day glance in the direction of the Oval Office himself, his chances would probably not be bad at all. He can sell anger. Why not yourself too? Just wondering who a presidential candidate Carlson would give an interview to. Fox News probably not.

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Source: Stern

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