Tucker Carlson is responsible for the vile rhetoric he spews to the Fox News audience every night. But it is Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan, the billionaires who pay his salary, who decided to make him the unaccountable face of their right-wing propaganda network.
Carlson turned his show into a clearinghouse for white nationalist talking points, denouncing the immigrant “invasion” he claimed was ushering in the systematic “demographic replacement” of Americans and making the country “poorer, and dirtier,” because that’s what the Murdochs wanted.
After the Fox host spent 2020 pushing lies about the novel coronavirus that endangered the lives of his viewers, spreading bigoted invective about Black activists seeking an end to police violence, and encouraging violent right-wing vigilantism, the Murdochs promoted him.
So when he denigrates pregnant active duty U.S. service members, then lies about the massive backlash he received from rank-and-file members of the military, veterans, the brass, and the Pentagon in order to paint himself as a victim, he does so knowing the Murdochs will have his back.
Carlson is now Fox’s lodestar. He has its highest-rated show, his commentary is regularly injected into the rest of the network’s coverage, and his work is the lynchpin of Fox’s new push to generate sign-ups for its Fox Nation streaming platform. Like his colleague Sean Hannity during the Trump administration, Fox treats Carlson as too big to fail, too important to restrain.
The Murdochs made Carlson the face of Fox even as advertisers have abandoned his program. Its commercial blocks now effectively consist of spots for a right-wing pillow company; ads the network is purchasing from itself; and tumbleweeds. Thursday night’s show featured a single ad break with a total of six commercials, one of which was a Fox promo.
Changing the calculus for the Murdochs means ensuring that Carlson’s brand is no longer an asset to their other revenue stream.
That means encouraging corporations that don’t want their own brands tarnished with his bile to remove their advertising from the entire Fox network. And it means that people who don’t want to be inadvertently supporting Carlson should push their cable carriers to stop financing his bigotry.
The Murdochs care about money. The best way to reduce Carlson’s malignant influence is to make him less profitable for them.