Will the former Fox News star join the billionaire CEO, who was one of his last big guests before his ousting?
The media universe and the business world are still in shock.
Tucker Carlson, the king of ratings, is no longer at Fox News, which he helped make a prime-time powerhouse since 2016.
The network announced, on Apr. 24, to everyone’s surprise the departure of its star anchor, just days after agreeing to pay $787.5 million to settle a defamation lawsuit brought by Dominion Voting Systems, which was wrongfully accused by hosts of Fox News for stealing the victory from then-President Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election. The software company sued the network for spreading false accusations that it was at the center of a vast conspiracy to cheat Trump of his victory in 2020.
For weeks, hosts of Fox News, including Carlson, had claimed that Dominion voting machines, used in some states, enabled widespread fraud in favor of the Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
But private messaging from those same hosts, uncovered during the discovery process, showed that privately Carlson and others knew those conspiracy theories were false, but that didn’t stop them from continuing to hammer on-air that Trump was robbed of his victory.
Musk Was One of Carlson’s Last Guests
Other proceedings are in progress, in particular a lawsuit similar to that of Dominion Voting Systems brought by Smartmatic, whose voting machines have also been questioned by Fox hosts. The network canceled the show hosted by Lou Dobbs, another star, who was also promoting conspiracy theories about election fraud.
While there was no trial, the Dominion case exposed in the public square the fact that Fox News’ hosts were willing to relay information that they knew full well was false.
“FOX News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways,” the network said in a statement. “We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor.”
FOX News did not give the reasons for this unexpected and express divorce. Carlson’s departure is immediate. His last show was last Friday, Apr. 21. Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla (TSLA) – Get Free Report and owner of Twitter, was one of Carlson’s last guest stars. His interview was broadcast on two special evenings on Apr. 18 and Apr. 19. During this interview, the two personalities who have become conservative icons, had discussed a host of subjects, including Musk’s takeover of Twitter, wokeism, Trump, Biden, free speech, birth rates etc.
It is against this backdrop that some Twitter users have called on Musk to hire Carlson to form a phenomenal duo revered by conservatives. The billionaire ruled out this scenario, but he did not close the door to the possibility that Carlson might use Twitter as a lectern for his next professional endeavors.
“Elon Musk should hire Tucker Carlson and start a video service to compete with YouTube,” a user tweeted at the billionaire.
“Or we don’t hire anyone, but simply enable content creators to prosper on this platform without applying censorship that goes beyond the law,” the billionaire responded.
Musk, who wants to make Twitter a super app or an everything app like Chinese apps, has been allowing influencers and content creators to monetize their content for a few weeks. He added a button on Twitter and has ensured that Twitter does not take a cut unlike YouTube, Meta Platforms, parent company of Instagram, Facebook and WhatsApp, and TikTok. The creators get most of the revenue, Musk has said.
“Content creators may wish to enable subscriptions on this platform. Just tap on Monetization in settings,” Musk posted on Apr. 24, with a guideline.
On Apr. 18, the tech tycoon said that: “Note: creator gets ~92% of subscription for web subscribers (Stripe & CC fees are ~8%), but only 70% on iOS/Android. Twitter keeps nothing. All funds we receive go to the content creator.”
By making Twitter the avenue of the creator economy, Musk hopes to make it the hip platform, which would surely bring back most advertisers, who have paused the promotion of their products and services on Twitter because of the tech mogul’s laissez-faire approach to content moderation.
If Carlson were to choose Twitter to produce content, it would be a big win for Musk in his ambition to compete with Big tech. The populist pundit had spectacular ratings: His show, “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” averaged more than 3 million viewers a night, making it the top-rated cable show on prime-time.