Fox News Channel announced it cut ties with the top-rated host in cable news, Tucker Carlson, on Monday, just days after he gave a widely praised speech imploring leaders to pray that God will preserve America from the progressive movement’s “evil” agenda.
Promoting transgender surgeries for minors and describing abortion as a good thing are “manifestations of some larger force” exerting its nefarious influence over us, he said over the weekend. Fox’s announcement, which removed Carlson’s reliably populist-conservative voice from the increasingly moderate network’s schedule, caused the corporation’s stock to tank by more than half-a-billion dollars.
“FOX News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways. We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor,” said a press release from Fox News Channel. Neither the network nor Carlson disclosed the reason for the abrupt contract cancellation. The host did not get to give his audience a farewell broadcast. “Mr. Carlson’s last program was Friday April 21st,” said the release. Carlson’s Friday episode discussed the Nashville shooter’s still-unreleased manifesto, the longstanding Obama-Biden plan to establish permanent Democratic power by moving low-income people into suburbia, America’s uncontrolled border with Mexico, and the mysterious meaning of the “plus” in “LGBTQIA+.” Carlson closed the show by eating pizza with local hero Tyler Morrell, a delivery man who tripped a criminal suspect eluding police.
“Tucker Carlson Tonight” ended its six-and-a-half-year run as the highest-rated show in all cable news with an average of 3.39 million viewers. Even in his departure, Carlson outperformed his competitors, as his exit from Fox News drew far more headlines than CNN’s decision to fire low-rated 17-year host Don Lemon the same day.
Carlson’s eponymous primetime show has featured exclusive footage of the January 6 Capitol riot, reports from a Chinese whistleblower that COVID-19 originated inside China’s Wuhan Institute of Virology, and proof that prisons released hundreds of violent criminals thanks to the First Step Act. He also invited guests who did not agree with his conservative views to discuss the transgender movement’s grooming of children, oppose current or potential wars, and expose Deep State censorship.
Carlson and frequent guest Jason Whitlock increasingly analyzed political problems through a spiritual lens. Earlier this month, Carlson said, “Transgenderism is this country’s fastest growing religion.” Transgender ideologues “believe that they themselves are God with the power to control nature” by changing their gender by taking careful thought.
Tucker Carlson’s analysis turned especially prophetic shortly after his last show Friday night, when he gave the keynote address at the Heritage Foundation’s 50th anniversary gala. The political debate had shifted radically since 1991, when he got his first job as the copy editor of Heritage’s quarterly publication, Policy Review, for $14,000 a year. At that time, think tanks engaged in fact-based debates over mutually shared goals: for instance, whether Keynesian or Austrian economics created maximum prosperity. “I don’t think we’re watching a debate over how to get to the best outcome,” he said.
Today, the progressive political movement promotes laws allowing surgeons to “sexually mutilate children … I don’t think anyone could defend that as a positive outcome, but the weight of the government and a lot of corporate interests are behind that,” he said.
Similarly, in the Clinton era, Democrats portrayed abortion as a necessary evil. “But if you’re telling me abortion is a positive good, what are you saying? Well, you’re arguing for child sacrifice, obviously,” he said. “That’s like an Aztec principle.”
“None of this makes sense in conventional political terms,” he said. When political leaders embrace “destruction for its own sake … what you’re watching is not a political movement; it’s evil.”
“Those ideas won’t produce outcomes that any rational person would want under any circumstances. Those are manifestations of some larger force acting upon us,” Carlson said.
Carlson noted his spiritual insight is hampered by his background in the liberal Episcopal Church USA. “I’m an Episcopalian, so don’t take any theological advice from me, because I don’t have any. I grew up in the shallowest faith tradition ever invented,” Carlson said. “It’s not even a Christian religion at this point, I say with shame.” Yet his views derive equally from the Christian tradition and classical Athenian notions of the good, the true, and the beautiful. “Good is characterized by order, calmness, tranquility, peace … lack of conflict, cleanliness.” Evil “is characterized by their opposites: violence, hate, disorder, division, disorganization, and filth.”
“If you are all in on the things that produce the latter basket of outcomes, what you’re really advocating for is evil,” Carlson said. “I’m not calling for a religious war, far from it. I’m merely calling for an acknowledgement of what we’re watching.”
Carlson described the spiritual power that emanates from following God’s commandments. “The truth is contagious,” and “the second you decide to tell the truth about something, you are filled with this power from somewhere else,” he said. “The more you tell the truth, the stronger you become.” Entertaining lies, and “Drug and alcohol use are the same way: They make you weak and afraid.”
Carlson then hailed those who would not engage in the pageantry of sharing their pronouns for faith-based reasons. “I’m not doing that. It’s a betrayal of what I think is true. It’s a betrayal of my conscience, of my faith, of my sense of myself, of my dignity as a human being, of my autonomy.”
“I am not a slave. I am a free citizen, and I’m not doing that,” Carlson said, likening their steadfast obedience to the Apostle “Paul on trial.”
In a heartfelt moment, Carlson shared how he “was overcome a little bit with emotion” during a prayer offered by Fr. Paul Scalia, the son of late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, which convicted him of an oversight in his patriotic duties. “I don’t pray enough for the country, and I should,” Carlson said. “We all should be.”
He closed his speech by exhorting his audience to set aside a substantial block of time to pray for the United States. “Maybe we should all take like 10 minutes a day to say a prayer about” America’s future. “I’m saying that to you not as some kind of an evangelist. I’m literally saying that to you as an Episcopalian. … and even I have concluded it might be worth taking just 10 minutes out of your busy schedule to say a prayer for the future, and I hope you will,” he concluded.
Before the news of Carlson’s departure from Fox broke, Christians hailed the spiritual content of Carlson’s Heritage speech. “He is so spot on! God bless him for his clarity and his courage,” said Christian talk show host Janet Parshall. “He understood we are in a war between good and evil — and dared to say so,” noted evangelical Christian author and talk show host Eric Metaxas.
During a question-and-answer session immediately after the speech, Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts told Carlson, “If things go South at Fox News, there’s always a job for you at Heritage.”
It is not known whether Carlson’s call to spiritual warfare preceded or followed his departure from the network, or whether it influenced the Monday morning announcement. FNC renamed Carlson’s show “Fox News Tonight,” which will be filled by a rotating series of guest hosts until the network names a permanent anchor — a decision that drew international condemnation.
“Tucker Carlson is irreplaceable. This will hurt Fox News,” predicted UK politician and Brexit leader Nigel Farage.
The stock market soon confirmed his words. Within hours of the announcement, Fox Corp. stock tumbled by 5.4%, trimming approximately $1 billion from the company’s value, before leveling out to 2.9%, for a $507 million loss. The plunge reportedly reduced 92-year-old executive chairman Rupert Murdoch’s net worth by $182 million.
But it cheered the hearts of Carlson’s more implacable foes, including numerous Democratic elected officials who had called for the network, or the government, to suppress Carlson. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said “our democracy depends on” Murdoch deciding to “stop Tucker Carlson from going on” his network. Over the weekend his colleague, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), called for harsher “federal regulation in terms of what’s allowed on air and what isn’t,” accusing “Tucker Carlson and some of these other folks on Fox” of unspecified “incitement of violence.”
Fox News’s rift with Tucker Carlson came four days after the network announced it had also parted ways with Dan Bongino — the latest in a number of lurches the network has made to the left since the ascension of Rupert Murdoch’s son, Lachlan Murdoch, and especially after former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (who once voted for the anti-conscience Employment Non-Discrimination Act) joined Fox News’s board of directors in 2019. The network has since platformed such social liberals as former Democratic campaign strategist Donna Brazile, UK presenter Piers Morgan, and former men’s Olympic decathlon gold medalist Bruce Jenner, who now identifies as female and changed his name to Caitlin Jenner.
The drift evidenced itself in Fox’s news coverage, as well. As part of Fox News’s celebration of Pride Month last June, “America’s Newsroom” anchor Dana Perino introduced a story on celebrating parents who began presenting their five-year-old daughter in public as a boy. The Whittington family showed “extraordinary courage” in transitioning their preschooler based on their “conservative faith,” said reporter Bryan Llenas, adding, “People are afraid of what they do not understand.” Fox News has also parroted pro-abortion rhetoric in its news coverage of late-term abortion.
“For a while Fox News has been moving to become establishment media, and Tucker Carlson’s removal is a big milestone in that effort,” said rival Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy.
Senators and members of Congress weighed in on the latest programming shake-up. “Could a new network emerge featuring (among others) @TuckerCarlson & @dbongino?” asked Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) on his personal Twitter account. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) praised both men as “true trailblazers amid a period where American corporate media controls speech.”
Carlson has yet to speak publicly on the matter or announce his next steps. Glenn Beck, himself a former Fox News host, offered to pay Carlson “a bucketful of money” to take a job at The Blaze. “You won’t miss a beat, and together, the two of us will tear it up,” he promised.
Carlson recently shared his increasingly critical view of the mainstream news media, which he said intentionally denied Americans access to the information necessary to become effective citizens.
“The media are part of the control apparatus,” Carlson told the “Full Send” podcast. “Their job is not to inform you. They are working for the small group of people who actually run the world. They’re their servants and their Pretorian Guard, and we should treat them with maximum contempt, because they have earned it.”
Carlson’s supporters hope he will return to another platform soon — and that Americans will take up his charge to pray for our country in the meantime. “We need to turn to God as a nation, in every way that we can, with everything in us,” Metaxas added. “It is genuinely our only hope.”
Jonathan Cahn, the author of “The Return of the Gods,” did not immediately return this reporter’s request for comment.
Ben Johnson is senior reporter and editor at The Washington Stand.
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