The MAGA world was rocked early Monday with the news that its loudest mouthpiece was being silenced. Tucker Carlson and Fox News “parted ways,” the network announced, in what was reportedly not at all a voluntary move on one side. “He was totally surprised,” an insider at Fox told Mediaite. “It was a firing.” But why?
One explanation that is sure to make MAGA devotees even more inflamed over losing their best TV buddy is that Fox Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch wanted him out because of his ongoing coverage of Jan. 6, and one of the specific lies he continued to push. Really? Two years and four months later, after countless hours of Carlson pushing every conspiracy theory about the election being stolen from Trump? About how Jan. 6 was nothing more than a bunch of “patriots” blowing off steam at the Capitol? Now Murdoch has some scruples when it comes to lying about the insurrection?
No, of course not—although the $787 million sucked out of Fox Corp. coffers to pay the settlement with Dominion Voting Systems might have had just a little bit to do with it. Specifically, people with inside knowledge of the firing say Murdoch was concerned about one constant lie, “in which the host has promoted the conspiracy theory that it was provoked by government agents.”
Ah, now that is one explanation that’s feasible, and could potentially explain the abrupt timing of the firing.
On Sunday night, CBS’s “60 Minutes” featured a segment with Ray Epps, the MAGA insurrectionist from Arizona who was at the Capitol on Jan. 6. The guy Tucker Carlson has spent the past two years insisting was an FBI plant for the past two years. He has done so “more than 20 times on his top-rated show … a half-dozen times so far this year.”
“He's obsessed with me,” Epps told CBS’s Bill Whitaker. “He's going to any means possible to destroy my life and our lives.”
When you become Tucker Carlson’s No. 1 Jan. 6 villain, death threats follow. So many threats that Epps and his wife Robyn are on the run. They sold their property in Arizona and are now “living in this 300-square foot recreational vehicle, somewhere in the Rocky Mountains,” CBS reported.
“I have a hard time, being a man, being on the–bein' a Marine, being on the run,” Epps said. “I had to do the necessary things to keep my family safe.”
In March, Epps called on Carlson to issue an on- air retraction of his “false and defamatory statements” about Epps. That request was sent in the form of a letter to Carlson and Fox News general counsel Bernard Gugar from Epps’ attorney Michael Teter, in which the lawyer noted that “Recent revelations from the Dominion Voting lawsuit make clear that Fox News has zero qualms about lying to its viewers.”
It could be that one very expensive settlement as a result of Carlson’s lies about the 2020 election was enough for Murdoch, and maybe he wants to limit exposure to another lawsuit stemming from Jan. 6.
If that’s the case, it would make sense for Murdoch to make sure Carlson doesn’t have access to all that Jan. 6 footage House Republicans handed over to Fox News and Carlson. He could do a hell of a lot more damage with that.