Media Matters' Madeline Peltz joins Democracy Now! to discuss how Tucker Carlson’s exit from Fox News “creates a major vacuum in the right-wing media ecosystem”

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Citation From the April 25, 2023 edition of Democracy Now!

MADELINE PELTZ: Tucker Carlson was a kingmaker at Fox News, in the Republican Party and the Murdochs stood behind every single outrage cycle that happened as a result of his on-air racism and so if we know one thing, it wasn't his on-air commentary and I think we learn more in the coming days about what exactly happened behind the scenes.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ (HOST): And could you expound a little bit about his influence on the Republican Party?

PELTZ: Absolutely. I think you can see it in how some of the Senate nominees shook out in the 2022 midterms. He was a singular force in driving the candidacy of J.D. Vance, that he has been a rallying point for the Republican Party’s opposition agenda under the Biden administration. But under the Trump administration, he had this unique ability to speak to what was going on in the White House and influence it via his prime time show.

There were times where segments not only led to Trump tweeting in direct response in real time, but also issuing directives for his administration via Twitter. And as you mentioned with the segment on Greg Abbott’s pardon and also Abbott sending National Guard troops to the border, both of those were driven by Tucker Carlson. And there is simply no one who has a loud — who, in the past six, seven years, has been able to exert that type of influence over the Republican Party, and it creates a major vacuum in the right-wing media ecosystem.


AMY GOODMAN (HOST): And, Madeline Peltz, if you can talk about — I mean, before this was O’Reilly, who went down over sexual harassment, and then you have Tucker Carlson. If you can talk about the other people? Now there’s going to be rotating hosts. But it seems anyone in that position increases the visibility of Fox News, that this isn’t a singular issue of one man, however white nationalist, racist, anti-immigrant, xenophobic he was.

PELTZ: Yeah, I mean, in terms of -- this alleged culture of sexual harassment, this is an issue that extends back to the founding of Fox News, set from the very top. Roger Ailes was forced out after it was revealed that he — what some women who worked under him described as a reign of terror via sexual blackmailing, hiring of private investigators to quash their complaints. So, it’s part of a larger culture at Fox News.

In terms of the future of the 8 p.m. hour, in many ways, Tucker Carlson got lucky. The 8 p.m. hour at Fox News is an institution in and of itself, largely because of the legacy of Bill O’Reilly. And Tucker just stepped into those shoes, and so he sort of had a built-in floor of an audience. And that will continue with the — that will continue with whoever takes over the 8 p.m. hour.