Media Matters' Andrew Lawrence and Kat Abughazaleh join Crooked Media's Jon Favreau to discuss the future of Fox News
From the May 21, 2023, edition of Crooked Media's Offline with Jon Favreau
JON FAVREAU (HOST): So how much changes with Tucker's departure? What percentage of the show's influence was the host? And what percentage was the 8:00 P.M. time slot? What would you say?
KAT ABUGHAZALEH (GUEST): Oh, I mean, Andrew and I have said this over and over again. Tucker needed Fox way more than Fox News needed Tucker. I mean, he was the face of the network and they were willing to let him go. I mean, it's the same thing as O'Reilly, who had so much influence over media outside of the right. And now, unless you're really far right, you don't really know what he's up to. You don't hear about Bill O'Reilly.
Tucker just used that time slot, that super powerful time slot that people are used to turning their TV on and watching. And he used that to spread some extremely dangerous rhetoric and ideas. And that's what it was. It was the fact that he was put in a position to push whatever he wanted to and he had a ridiculous amount of freedom.
So I think having Tucker there is incredibly dangerous. But Fox in every hour is doing stuff like this. Tucker was just really good at pinpointing that far-right stuff and bringing it on and letting it trickle down to like the rest of Fox. You'd see it, you know, on Fox & Friends the next morning, if he talked about how the IRS is going to audit you at gunpoint.
FAVREAU: See, yeah. Clearly, the 8:00 P.M. time slot is the best piece of real estate in all of cable, particularly for Fox since it's the number one rated cable network. But I'm sort of wondering -- like so Drudge is reporting now that Hannity's getting 8:00 P.M., that Greg Gutfeld and Jesse Watters are heading to primetime. They're going to be part of the prime-time lineup. Fox is saying, "This is just one of many scenarios, we haven't decided anything yet," -- but, you know, who knows? How do you think that lineup will be different than the era of Tucker at 8:00 and Hannity and Ingraham?
ANDREW LAWRENCE (GUEST): First of all, I'm not believing any of these reports until it's actually set in stone, you know? I think over the last month, we've seen that Tucker Carlson was fired for loving Jesus too much, for the Dominion lawsuit, for the racist text, for the sexist text, you know? So these people are all backstabbers, man. They're all very type A. And you read this story and there's a lot of people at Fox News, including executives who might benefit from this, you know? So I just want to make that point first of all.
But let's say that it does go Hannity, Watters, Gutfeld. It's the same crap, man. It's the exact same crap that they've been pushing. You know, Tucker Carlson had a very online audience that was a little bit younger, I think, you know? And so I think that'll be the difference. But I also think that again, you know, the way that Tucker found these weird conspiracy theories and elevated them, to be honest with you, I think it requires more work than Jesse Watters or Greg Gutfeld are willing to put in to try to find that type of stuff.
Tucker was very much the assignment editor for Fox News and really for all of conservative media. And what he said, it was the talking points of conservative media and Fox News for the next day, couple of days, whatever you have. So that is missing. But again, the tone and the tenor and the rhetoric, it's exactly the same. Exactly the same.