Tucker Carlson has launched a tirade against the lack of “honest” US political debate in a country that he claimed “looks very much like a one-party state”, just days after being fired as the top-rated anchor of Fox News.
Carlson was among the most-watched personalities on US television until Rupert Murdoch’s TV network announced his shock exit on Monday less than a week after the company agreed to settle a defamation suit over allegations it aired false theories about US election fraud.
In a short video posted on Twitter late on Wednesday, Carlson did not directly address his departure but said he was taking a “little time off”. The TV personality instead spent the majority of it railing against the state of mainstream US media and politics.
“The thing you notice when you take a little time off is how unbelievably stupid most of the debates you see on television are . . . They’re completely irrelevant. They mean nothing. In five years we won’t even remember we had them. Trust me, as somebody who participated,” he said.
The move to axe one of the most popular TV presenters in the US has raised questions about what is next for Murdoch’s highly lucrative right-leaning TV empire ahead of the next US election.
Carlson’s exit from Fox came after the network reached a $787.5mn settlement with vote-machine maker Dominion after broadcasting on-air statements falsely alleging that its devices were rigged to award votes to President Joe Biden in the 2020 election.
The network did not say why it ousted Carlson, but people familiar with the matter have told the Financial Times that it was in part down to private messages he had sent to colleagues. Carlson is being sued separately by former Fox staffer Abby Grossberg, who alleges widespread discrimination at the network.
Carlson has not responded publicly to the allegations made in the lawsuit, and Fox News said this week that the network would “continue to vigorously defend Fox”.
Carlson posted his latest video around the time his Fox show, which now has a rotating cast of presenters, aired. Media analysts have questioned where the anchor will move to next.
The former presenter said that “legitimate debate” was lacking in US media over important issues, criticising what “looks very much like a one-party state” where “both political parties and their donors have reached consensus on what benefits them and they actively collude to shut down any conversation about it”.
“Where can you still find Americans saying true things? There aren’t many places left but there are some and that’s enough. As long as you can hear the words, there is hope. See you soon.”
Fox News was not immediately available for comment.
Public legal filings connected to the Dominion case showed Carlson criticising Fox’s management for calling the state of Arizona for Biden on election night before rival networks.
According to the filings, Carlson texted his producer in early November 2020: “Do the executives understand how much credibility and trust we’ve lost with our audience? We’re playing with fire, for real . . . an alternative like Newsmax could be devastating to us.”
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