Why gagging Tucker Carlson won’t work
As has now been widely reported, Tucker Carlson wasn’t fired by Fox news; he was merely removed from its broadcast schedule while continuing to draw his salary (reported to be as much as $20 million a year). It is widely speculated that noncompete language in his contract, as well as possible Mandatory Arbitration requirements keeps him from having much public impact as a commentator, and potentially could silence him for a couple of years, until his contract runs its course.
In effect, Fox Corporation is paying $20 million to gag Tucker. Will this investment in silencing Carlson pay off in not just keeping him from influencing others, but in diminishing his popularity as memories of his presence fade?
The Washington Post, house organ of the Deep State, recently quoted Ken LaCorte, “a former digital-side executive for Fox News,” expressing what must be the hope of the Fox brass as well as the paper’s staff:
“Fame is a depreciating asset, and Tucker in nine months of relative radio silence would not be nearly as powerful as Tucker is now,” LaCorte said.
I beg to differ.
If Tucker Carlson were an ordinary TV talking head, Mr. LaCorte would be correct. But he is not an interchangeable part, easily equaled by another talking head with more-or-less the same views. Because he raised topics that were basically forbidden, he created a special bond with his audience, who know that they would never have heard the dissenting voices on the Ukraine War, or on the use of millions of illegal immigrants to alter the political balance, for instance, had another of Fox’s stable of hosts held his time slot.
Tucker was and is a new phenomenon: a rogue member of the de facto aristocracy (prep school, wealth and bow tie history are indicators) bravely turning against it, repenting his previous sins such as support for the Iraq War, and risking his career (as we now see) to tell the truth. The fact that over 80 million views quickly accumulated for his 2-minute first Twitter statement after disappearing from the Fox airwaves is evidence that he is something very special.
Good evening pic.twitter.com/SPrsYKWKCE— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) April 27, 2023
It may seem outlandish at first, but I think the proper comparison is with Elvis (another major cultural figure for whom no last name is necessary). When Elvis Pressley was drafted into the Army in late 1957, at the peak of his career, having just purchased Graceland. Despite the pleas of tens of thousands of his fans who wrote to the Army in protest, Elvis refused to do anything but dutifully comply and serve his country with honor for two years, during which his career was “on hiatus.”
Did that absence “depreciate” his popularity? On the contrary, it created admiration for him, even endearing him to some who previously denounced his hip-swinging style but now saw him as a good, patriotic young man. It also stoked a hunger for him to return to public performances.
I think it is fair to call Tucker Carlson “the Elvis of political commentators” because he dared to be new, different, heartfelt, and impactful, even if he took a lot of flak from critics, as Elvis did before he became “the king” – after his service in the Army.
Photo credit: Twitter video screengrab (cropped)