Fox News Staffers Laugh at Calls for Tucker Carlson to Be Fired: Don’t Hold Your Breath!
Another week, another #TuckerMustGo social-media trend. But as Fox insiders told The Daily Beast, Carlson is “untouchable” and not going anywhere.
It’s a scenario that has become all too familiar for media watchers: Fox News star Tucker Carlson is once again under fire for his offensive and inflammatory comments, sparking widespread backlash and calls for advertisers to drop his show and for Fox to fire him.
And the expected outcome is also all too familiar, as current and former Fox News staffers told The Daily Beast this week: The network does not care and nothing will happen to Carlson.
Earlier last week, the far-right, proudly nationalist host once again drove an entire news cycle with his trollish remarks, this time by calling on his millions of viewers to publicly harass people wearing masks outside and to call child protective services on parents of mask-wearing kids. Naturally, due to the potentially violent consequences of his commentary, the clip immediately went viral on social media and the hashtag #TuckerMustGo began trending on Twitter.
Yet, as numerous Fox News staffers, insiders and former employees pointed out to The Daily Beast, “Tucker is invincible” and “untouchable.” The top-rated primetime host will never “suffer any repercussions” for his actions and comments, these sources emphasized. Fox News declined to comment on this story.
“He’s a good example of how much you can get away with at Fox if your ratings are high,” one current network staffer told The Daily Beast. “Aside from that, he just perpetuates the right’s catastrophe platform. They cannot win with their supposed limited government, fiscal conservatism, because not even they really believe in it. So all they do is fear monger.”
To this point, Carlson has seemingly delighted in his ability to see just how far he can push the envelope, bouncing from one controversy to the next only to see his status and influence grow at Fox News and among the right-wing mediaverse at large.
Beginning with his December 2018 declaration that immigration makes America “poorer and dirtier,” Carlson has seen nearly all major advertisers bail from his show, leaving the program to essentially rely on Fox News promos and MyPillow commercials.
Carlson has since courted further controversy and weathered calls for his ouster over his insistence that white supremacy is a “hoax,” warning his audience that the Black Lives Matter “mob” will “come for you,” and the revelation that his show’s head writer, who resigned, was posting openly racist and sexist commentary online for years.
In fact, just before this latest scandal over masks, the Anti-Defamation League had called on Carlson to be fired and for his remaining advertisers to drop the Fox host after he touted and endorsed the white-supremacist “Great Replacement” theory. Fox Corp CEO Lachlan Murdoch, however, publicly stood by his biggest star, insisting that Carlson’s commentary somehow simultaneously “rejected” the theory—which has been cited by several racist mass killers in recent years—while reframing the racist conspiracy theory as merely a “voting rights question.”
“He’s untouchable. He knows it, his staff knows it, everyone knows it,” one Fox News insider said of Carlson’s standing with Fox management.
“The Murdochs love him,” one former Fox News personality said. “Like them, he is a rich, prep school kid born with a silver spoon who traffics in populism while living in an expensive ivory tower and never meeting in real life the people he gins up for ratings.”
Former Fox News host Juliet Huddy, who reached a settlement agreement with the network after accusing ex-Fox star Bill O’Reilly of sexual harassment, was blunt in her assessment of the situation.
“Fox cares nothing about integrity, character, decency,” she said, specifically citing O’Reilly as an example of the network’s high tolerance for controversy from its ratings leaders.
“He’s the new Bill O’Reilly,” another ex-Fox News employee stated. “The dirty little secret is that FNC doesn’t care about losing advertisers. They make their money via cable conglomerates that pay them much money so that dumb fucks who worship FNC can continue being told what, in their heart of hearts, they want to believe. And that’s a lot of people.”
Former Fox News correspondent Carl Cameron, who left the network in 2017 over “partisan misinformation” after more than 20 years at the network, agreed that nothing would happen to Carlson so long as he keeps bringing in viewers.
“Ratings & revenue rule,” Cameron said in an interview with The Daily Beast, “Most media give people what they want to hear, that’s not news. It does however draw attention and clicking, watching and listening is monetizable. Lawsuits and public outcries are not abating so ultimately benching anyone else is probably up to the Murdochs. So far Tucker’s ratings are strong, he’s bringing in revenue.”
While much has been made about the ad boycotts targeting Carlson’s show, Fox News as a whole continues to rake in money not only via advertising revenue but due to the carriage fees it charges cable and satellite providers. Currently, the network brings in $1.8 billion a year just from being included in cable television bundle packages.
But just because there is resignation within the Fox universe that Carlson can get away with anything, it doesn’t mean that those inside the network aren’t disgruntled and frustrated with Carlson’s toxic far-right persona.
“It’s so stupid,” a Fox News employee said. “I’m at a point where I can’t even be outraged anymore for the sake of my mental health. He’s just a trash human being.”
Noting that Carlson is “invincible,” another current staffer sighed that “unless he physically assaults someone at work or there are cases of sexual assault that Fox deems credible, he won’t go anywhere.”
“If Tucker left, his fans would follow him wherever he went and would turn Fox off for scorning their leader,” the person added. “If Trump is the most dangerous person in the country, Tucker is a close second behind him.”
Still, while acknowledging Carlson can pretty much say or do whatever he wants, critics maintain a sense of concern and even dread that he could inspire his millions of loyal viewers to take him literally and seriously.
“People can have opinions but when they pretend to be a Dr. like #TuckerCarlson & his kids not wearing masks rhetoric, it's downright dangerous. People unfortunately listen to him like he actually knows what he's talking about,” former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, who settled with Fox News in 2016 over sexual harassment allegations against ex-CEO Roger Ailes, tweeted this week.
“He is not only incredibly out of touch, but this is dangerous on so many levels,” a Fox News insider said, adding: “We already know people are prone to believe lies—the Capitol riot and Q—so for someone with his platform, it’s highly irresponsible to encourage something like calling the police.”
Diana Falzone was an on-camera and digital reporter for FoxNews.com from 2012 to 2018. In May 2017, she filed a gender discrimination and disability lawsuit against the network and settled, and left the company in March 2018.