Fox News’s decision to “part ways” with prime-time host Tucker Carlson is practically a choose-your-own-ending sort of story: Compelling reasons to oust Carlson have been piling up for years. It’s about time Fox News finally deployed one, or 50.
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Yet the network trusted him for 14 years, a span in which Carlson, a veteran of CNN and MSNBC, littered the airwaves with conspiracy theories and racist rhetoric. So important was Carlson’s oeuvre that in 2021, Fox News inked a deal with him to do thrice-weekly interviews on streaming platform Fox Nation, plus documentaries under the title “Tucker Carlson Originals.” He was Fox News’s franchise personality, following a disjointed path to prominence. Carlson joined Fox as a contributor in 2009 and later moved up to a weekend co-host on the risible “Fox & Friends” franchise; he once fell asleep on air. When an evening slot opened up in 2016, Carlson grabbed the opportunity, breaking out as he hammered critics — including the Erik Wemple Blog — and left-leaning types in pugilistic segments that helped mold an audience.