Apparently, impolite text messages can get you fired at Fox News, at least if you’re Tucker Carlson. That’s especially true if the messages are deemed to be sexist in nature.
If you’ve been following the slow-leak narrative in the wake of Carlson’s summary dismissal last week, you’ve no doubt heard the theory that it was not Tucker’s role in the Fox programming that resulted in the network agreeing to pay nearly $800 million to Dominion Voting Systems that got him canned, but rather that his text messages — redacted in court — showed that he used rude language to refer to his co-workers at Fox, including describing one female executive by — gasp! — what we can only refer to as “the c-word.”
Apparently, George Carlin would have never made it at Fox News, which is a polite network where misogynist language is never tolerated. Unless it’s used on a woman its executive want to fire, of course.
You may remember Melissa Francis. In October of 2020, the co-host of “Outnumbered” was summarily fired due to what the network called “program changes.” On Friday, according to Mediaite, Francis told former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly that she found out about her firing via teleprompter just before her show was about to begin.
This is roughly the amount of notice that Carlson was given when he was fired last week before it was announced — and that wasn’t the only pattern that you could espy in how Francis was dismissed in 2020.
The firing occurred while a gender-pay discrimination case against Fox News that Francis had filed was rumored to be in arbitration. She subsequently got $15 million out of the network, which The Washington Post called “an unusually large settlement” in July of 2022.
Last week, she joined Megyn Kelly again, this time to call out the “laughable” claim that it was misogynistic language that got Carlson fired.
“When I worked at Fox News, there was a manager of mine who sent an email calling me a misogynistic, sexist name and talking about, demeaning my behavior,” she told Kelly.
“He sent it around to all of the managers and accidentally included me — we’ve all done that, to be honest, when you’re gossiping about someone and you add them to the [email],” she continued. “I went directly to [Fox News CEO] Suzanne Scott’s office, because she was also copied on the email, and I said, ‘What the f***?’”
“And she shrugged it off,” Francis said. Not only that, but “that man who sent that email demeaning me in a sexist and misogynistic way still works there.”
“In fact, he was the author of many of the things you read in the Dominion case,” she continued. “I checked yesterday and he’s still there.
“So this idea that something in a text would be so awful that — they’re on the side of women, they don’t want to subject Fox women to an environment where you have someone like Tucker saying those words, that is a bald-faced lie.
“And I can tell you for sure — I received the email myself about myself, and so did all the other managers, and that was something that was said company-wide to undermine me and undermine my position at the network.”
WARNING: The following video contains graphic language that some viewers will find offensive.
Now, of course, the network or its proxies are shifting to a different tack when it comes to defending Carlson’s dismissal via leaks: It wasn’t the “c-word” text, it was instead another text the day after the Capitol incursion, on Jan. 7, 2021, which described a video of “Trump guys” surrounding an “Antifa kid” and “pounding the living s*** out of him” as “not how white men fight.”
When that text was revealed as part of discovery for the Dominion trial, The New York Times dutifully reported, it “set off a panic at the highest levels of Fox.”
No, it didn’t. If it had, we would have heard this stuff right off the bat, not a week and a half after Tucker was dismissed. The network would have attempted to have him fired for cause, not let him remain on the Fox payroll, if that were the case.
The reason it’s coming up now is that nobody was buying that Carlson was dismissed over sexism — so what about allegations of racism? Let’s try that! That’s the ticket. You all really hate racism, right, America?
In reality, the actual reason was succinctly reported in a single paragraph in an April 26 article on Carlson’s firing by The Wall Street Journal, back when Fox was still peddling the “c-word theory.”
“Within Fox’s management, reservations had been mounting about risks Mr. Carlson presented for the network, people familiar with the matter said. Some of the people pointed to concerns that the populist firebrand had come to believe himself bigger than the network — a cardinal sin in Fox Corp. Chair Rupert Murdoch’s empire — and was increasingly operating as his own island,” the article read. [Emphasis ours.]
It’s a good thing there were three names in the byline of that Journal article. Murdoch, of course, is chairman of News Corp., which owns the Journal. Firing three people that accurate about the motivations behind Tucker’s ouster would seem a little bit fishy.
There’s a difference between “conservative” media and Murdochian media. The media baron believes the two are one and the same — after all, he owns Fox News, The Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, the three leading organs of conservative-leaning reportage in the United States. So, when anyone strays too far from the Murdoch line, they’re cut out and sent down to what Rupert no doubt sees as the minor leagues.
The problem is that not only has the process become too transparent, viewers and readers have caught on. They didn’t buy the “c-word” story — and Melissa Francis became an all-too-obvious object lesson in why. They’re not going to believe whatever reason gets cited next, either.
With Carlson’s firing, Murdoch, to conservatives, has become the 92-year-old boy who’s cried wolf — or “women” or “racism” — once too often.
And no amount of leaking — text messages, video, whatever — is going to change that.
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