We’re now a few hours out from the first reports that Fox News had canned its top rated host Tucker Carlson. As best I can tell there’s still no clear explanation of why this happened. There are reports he’d been too critical of Fox management. There are reports pre-pretrial discovery unearthed revelations that could be damaging to Fox News in other lawsuits. Yet another report says it was Carlson’s peddling anti-semitism or perhaps the hostile harassment-saturated environment he created at his show, according to the suit by producer Abby Grossberg. Many of these reasons are reported as ‘contributing’ to the decision to oust Carlson. And there seem to have been a lot of them. Indeed, there appear to be so many ‘contributing’ factors – of various different sorts – it’s a wonder Carlson lasted as long as he did.
Well, I think that very improbable claim is a good reason to think all these explanations are BS. As we’re already seeing, Carlson’s virtual defenestration has kicked off a massive backlash on the right. That is no surprise. What that tells you is that this isn’t the kind of decision Fox would make in some kind of weighing the pros and cons performance review. There would need to be some big, fat near-existential reason behind it. Perhaps there was something super damning in pre-trial discovery or some sliver bullet revelation to come in Grossberg’s suit. But at least in their current ‘contributing’ form, none of these explanations come close.
Again, this is simply not going to be a decision that has a lot of contributing factors. There is going to be one thing that made it necessary and inevitable. We just haven’t heard it yet.