Odd timing at Non Sequitur (AMS) this morning, as Danae might well have watched the most popular cable news channel last night, but she’d have likely absorbed a less promising message about career paths.
For those not operating on long lead times, however, the firing of Tucker Carlson called forth a torrent of intentional commentary, which forced me to do more sorting and picking than I’m used to.
It also made the point that most editorial cartoonists can, when adequately motivated, break out of rigid schedules. They had half a day to react and I gathered about two dozen pieces before I started getting choosy. There were more.
This, then, is a “Best of” roundup, with a slant towards trying to represent a variety of views.
We’ll start off with Dave Whamond’s commentary, because he makes the point that Murdoch has more problems than just Tucker Carlson. Or, at least, he still has a full Dumpster full of flamers, whether he sees it as a problem or not.
It’s hard to know, but, if he is planning to clean house, he’s apparently trying to be quiet about it and start with the blockbuster before piling on the rest of the bad news.
I suspect that, whatever he has in mind, he hasn’t likely shared with anyone except maybe his son Lachlan and Fox CEO Suzanne Scott, the latter of whom may be like the on-air talent in David Rowe’s cartoon, quaking in anticipation of being next.
Mrs. Betty Bowers could certainly have added Maria Bartiromo to that list of at-risk talent, and, while I agree about the fear factor, I like Rowe’s larger line-up, especially the “Etc” at the end.
It’s possible that Carlson’s firing — and please don’t insult our intelligence with that balloon juice about a mutual agreement — was due not to his part in the Dominion lies, but to the reports of sexist and Anti-Semitic atmosphere in his offices, as seen in his emails and in the pending lawsuit from former producer Abby Grossman.
After all, Rowe rightly depicts the floating skull of Roger Ailes, who was fired for sexual misconduct, and that was also what brought Bill O’Reilly’s time on Fox to an abrupt end.
Still, if I worked at Fox, I’d start making, and taking home, backups of anything I wanted for my next job application and taking a mental inventory of how many of my personal items would fit in a banker’s box.
If they can lop off Carlson’s swelled head, they won’t have any trouble slicing through your skinny little neck.
Juxtaposition of the Day
Carlson’s abrupt departure somewhat obscured Don Lemon’s firing at CNN, but the pairing did not go unnoticed on either side of the aisle. You can’t get much farther apart on the political continuum that Telnaes and Ramirez, but they met up on this event.
It’s interesting that Telnaes depicts them still as rivals and opponents, while Ramirez hints at a little camaraderie, however temporary.
The more pointed distinction is that Telnaes notes the sexism issue in both cases, and my experience is that that particular ax falls fast: One warning, and then they’re handed the box.
Lisa Benson (Counterpoint) takes a less analytical view and simply observes that neither side seems to be mourning this pair of sudden falls.
There was a great deal of glee over the canning of Carlson, and I’ll let Chris Britt (Creators) represent that side of things, since he produced the example that made me smile.
Carlson spread so much hateful misinformation on serious topics that we sometimes forget how profoundly stupid, childish and petty many of his rants could be.
And, besides, Britt’s celebration is intentionally silly, while Bill Bramhall suggests a level of relief that hardly seems realistic. To start with, Carlson was more than a pain in the butt. The fear, paranoia and division he spread can, for example, readily be connected to an atmosphere in which people are shot for ringing the wrong doorbell and in which lunatics ransack the Capitol.
For another, he’s not lost, just momentarily misplaced.
I’m sorry I used the Faulkner quote in Sunday’s discussion of Fox, because it’s even more applicable here: “The past is not dead. It’s not even past.”
Upon hearing the news yesterday, I wiseassed “He’ll be alright. Sputnik and RT International are hiring.”
Almost simultaneously, one of those Russian sites echoed my prediction, with less sarcasm:
John Deering (Creators) may not be far off the mark: Putin’s favorite American commentator will land somewhere, and it’s unlikely that Russians will long be deprived of his insights.
To what extent non-MAGA Americans continue to see him is up in the air, but the best guess is that he’ll pop up somewhere his fans can find him, just as they’ve found Joe Rogan and Alex Jones in droves.
And so, Adam Zyglis says, Fox’s lead anchor has been cut loose, whether by “lead” he meant “first position” or “toxic metal.” Both seem to fit.
The question remains why Murdoch canned him, and what it portends for Fox.
John Cole suggests the difficulty of finding someone who can so effectively promote hateful division with so much audience appeal.
Nick Anderson takes a less dramatic view, instead suggesting that, whatever the specifics and whoever the personalities, the Fox mission will continue. The history of the Murdoch empire does not include a lot of changes in overall direction.
Historic Note about Media Moguls: When Nellie Bly returned from her breath-taking, history-making, circulation-exploding “Around the World in 72 Days” trip, she received no bonus nor, she later said, so much as a pat on the back from her editors. She resigned soon after. Biographer Brooke Kroeger suggests that it was likely because, shortly before leaving on her famous voyage, Bly had written an expose of a doctor who sued the paper over it. Joseph Pulitzer hated being sued.
Expecting gratitude from these tyros is naive; expecting loyalty can be fatal.
I wouldn’t expect a lot of loyalty from fellow workers, either. Alex has been running a story arc about Clive being fired, but this one dropped on a particularly good day.
You may have one or two people take you out and get you drunk, but, unless you really land on your feet, this is the usual response from your colleagues:
6 thoughts on “CSotD: All Tuckered Out”
Too little, too late. The damage is done and can never be undone.
Many people have said that many times throughout history. Thank god for the ones who didn’t.
The flowers and smiling sun in Britt’s cartoon are a nice touch.
Top Fox scientists have been training an AI on the statements of Mr Carlson. They think Rant-bot is ready. Hallucinations are a feature not a bug.
Speaking of lead times, this morning the secondary above-the-fold story on the front page of the Rochester (NY) /Democrat & Chronicle/* starts with “Days after Fox News agreed to pay $787 million to settle a lawsuit over its airing of 2020 election lies, you’d be hard-pressed to notice anything had changed there.”
No mention of Tucker’s defenestration. What time yesterday morning did that news break?
*a Gannett reprinter. (I hesitate to call it a newspaper these days.)
MSNBC’s Joy Reid pointed out that the firing of Don Lemon may have had less to do with his supposed “sexual bigotry” (the only overt “evidence” of which was his attempt to hit back at Nikki Haley’s agist suggestion that Biden should have to take a competency test because he’s 80 by using others’ contention that, at 51, Haley is also past the her peak) than it was Lemon’s refusal to take his morning-show demotion as a reason to not excoriate Republican guests that Licht wanted to become “part of the breakfast conversation,” in an attempt to lure Fox viewers to CNN’s “warm atmosphere.” She showed his interview with well-known Republican moron, Vivek Ramaswamy, in which he wouldn’t allow Ramaswamy’s ludicrous contentions about the NRA being the savior of all of the Black rights gained in post-Civil War America, certainly not making anybody feel comfortable by the “refreshing” conversation being advertised, Because of the conveniently leaked revelation in the recent Variety article about Lemon’s twenty-year list of earned grievances by co-workers, a lot of journalists have jumped to the conclusion that that was the basis for his demise at CNN. Having watched Lemon for several years prior to switching over to MSNBC, I certainly never heard Lemon promote any sexist beliefs against women, and I still haven’t heard any.
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