Tucker Carlson announces his move

After sixteen days of uncertainty and rampant speculation in the MSM, the left and right media and blogosphere, and social media, Tucker Carlson let it be known yesterday how he plans to continue to communicate with his millions of fans.  In a brief video posted to Twitter titled "We're Back," his second since his top-rated show Tucker Carlson Tonight on FOX News was abruptly canceled on April 24, Carlson announced that Twitter will soon be his new media home.

As of 7 A.M. EDT Wednesday, 17 hours after it was uploaded, the video had 18 million views, and Carlsons tweet 78 million views.  Carlson also launched his new website with the heading "Tucker Is Back."

Screen shot from Tucker Carlson's Twitter video, May 9, 2023.

Carlson's announcement immediately moved to the top breaking news story on most of the mainstream media.  The New York Times, for example, reported from behind its paywall:

The former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, declaring, "We're back," said on Tuesday that he was starting a new show on Twitter. ...  Mr. Carlson's remarks on Tuesday, posted on Twitter — a platform run by Elon Musk, a provocateur in a similar mold as the combative, contrarian host — consisted of a three-minute monologue delivered directly to the camera….  In response to Mr. Carlson's tweet, Mr. Musk posted on Twitter that "we have not signed a deal of any kind whatsoever." He added that Mr. Carlson would be "subject to the same rules & rewards of all content creators."

Mr. Carlson started the monologue on Tuesday with a critique of the news industry, which he said was incapable of telling the truth. And he appeared to issue a veiled threat to disclose what he'd learned about the inner workings of the various media companies where he held various roles over the course of three decades.

"After more than 30 years in the middle of it, we could tell you stories," said Mr. Carlson, who eschewed his usual coat and tie for a button-up checkered shirt. He recorded the video from his studio in Maine, according to a person with knowledge of how it came together.

In the video, Mr. Carlson offered little in the way of explanation for what his new show might entail, saying only that it would resemble "the show we've been doing for the last six and a half years," a reference to his 8 p.m. Fox News program, "Tucker Carlson Tonight." Mr. Carlson said that "free speech" would be a major theme of the show, calling it "the main right you have."

"See you soon," Mr. Carlson said. He also launched a website, TuckerCarlson.com, promising subscribers "instant updates" on where and when they could watch the former Fox News host.

That wasn't the only news yesterday about Tucker Carlson.  In an equally compelling development, AXIOS reported in an exclusive "scoop": "Tucker Carlson accuses Fox of fraud, contract breach."

Since Carlson's show was ignominiously dropped by FOX News sixteen days ago, speculation has been rife about why and how his employer — the country's number-one cable news channel for more than two decades — made this decision and what kind of restrictions on Carlson's future media work exist, according to his contract with FOX News which reportedly runs for another year and a half, presumably with a non-compete clause.

AXIOS's report, by Mike Allen and Sara Fischer, appeared to shed light on all of these issues and more.

Tucker Carlson, two weeks after being ousted by Fox News, accused the network Tuesday of fraud and breach of contract — and made a host of document demands that could precede legal action.

Why it matters: The aggressive letter from his lawyers to Fox positions Carlson to argue that the noncompete provision in his contract is no longer valid — freeing him to launch his own competing show or media enterprise.

And that is exactly what Carlson did shortly after his attorneys, according to AXIOS, informed FOX News of their legal intentions.  "The Twitter move would seem to technically violate Carlson's contract with Fox, but his lawyers' letter effectively holds that Fox breached the contract first.  Sources told Axios that Carlson's lawyers sent their letter before he took to Twitter to announce his new show."

As Carlson said in his three-minute-long Twitter video yesterday:

Starting soon we'll be bringing a new version of the show we've been doing for the last six and a half years to Twitter. We bring some other things too, which we'll tell you about. But for now, we're just grateful to be here. Free speech is the main right that you have. Without it, you have no others.

To this point, representatives of FOX News have been quoted in a variety of media as denying accusations of bad faith that have been circulating, and referring questions to the terse statement that FOX issued in a press release on April 24:

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.

This is hardly the end of this story; rather, just the beginning.  It promises to open a new chapter in the fast-evolving nature of the news business, cable news, and the impact of alternative platforms including social media like Twitter.

Tucker Carlson at his new website, "Tucker Is Back," May 9, 2023.

It should also be noted that in a prescient article at American Thinker on April 30, Wolf Howling essentially predicted that Tucker Carlson might well wind up at Twitter as his next platform.

If Carlson can find a voice outside of Fox that is accessible to Americans, he will thrive. Moreover, thanks to the nation's most laudable free speech proponent, Elon Musk, the broadcast platform for Carlson to reach Americans already exists….  Carlson's [first post-FOX] video, released on Twitter a few days ago, has had tens of million views. That is reaching an audience that dwarfs anything on Fox News many times over. It dwarfs any news show, including on broadcast television. ... This shows that Carlson has viable options for broadcasting himself. And more, it means that Carlson might well be able to establish a consolidation of conservative media that has a much greater reach over Twitter than anything that appears on cable, broadcast media, or the internet today.

Peter Barry Chowka is a veteran journalist who has covered national politics and the politics and economics of health care, popular culture, and media for over five decades.  His web page with links to his work is http://peter.media.  Peter's extensive American Thinker archive: http://tinyurl.com/pcathinker.  Follow Peter on Twitter at @pchowka.

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