Ross: Tucker Carlson’s firing and a look inside the theater of Fox News

Apr 25, 2023, 7:57 AM | Updated: 9:08 am


FILE - Tucker Carlson attends the final round of the Bedminster Invitational LIV Golf tournament in Bedminster, N.J., Sunday, July 31, 2022. Fox News says it has agreed to part ways with Tucker Carlson, less than a week after settling a lawsuit over the network’s 2020 election reporting. The network said in a press release Monday that the popular and controversial prime-time host's last program aired on Friday. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

(AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

I have yet to see an authoritative explanation for why Fox News fired Tucker Carlson. It can’t have been over deliberately spreading a story he knew not to be true because we know from the evidence that if Fox had such a policy, he’d have been fired two years ago. 

I understand there were allegations of sexual harassment, but that’s also nothing new at Fox.

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Anyway, whatever the reason, Tucker did us all a favor — we got to see behind the curtain. We got to see the ultimate fusion of news and theater. Tucker had a role to play, and like any professional actor, he knows there is one cardinal rule when you’re on stage, Never Break Character.

I was actually a guest on his show once. I tried to get him to admit that using the Second Amendment to confront the government would mean shooting government officials. I failed. 

When you’re on stage, it’s okay to forget a line, but whatever you do, you never break character because one slip and the illusion is ruined.

Well, he did his job. He gave the audience what it wanted. A majority of the Fox audience wants a conservative pro-Trump world view, and the evidence shows Tucker unselfishly suppressed his own views to give it to them. Even though he hated Trump, even though he knew Trump had lost, he was not going to let his audience down.

And here’s what else I think, the audience was in on it! Just as when you go to a movie, you buy in even though you know it’s just acting – the Fox audience wasn’t stupid. They knew he was acting. They didn’t care! It made them feel good. For a lot of people, it doesn’t matter whether the President is a genius or a jerk – it’s not going to change their lives. They’re in it for the sport. It’s fun to choose a team and see it win. 

And if the home team loses, it’s even more fun to come up with evidence that the other team cheated.

So, I’m pretty sure Tucker has no regrets. He milked his role for all it was worth, and now, if he’s really smart, he’ll re-invent himself as a liberal, sit down behind a desk at MSNBC, and bury his old boss in the ratings.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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