Good riddance, Tucker Carlson


AP Photo/Seth Wenig

FILE – Tucker Carlson attends the final round of the Bedminster Invitational LIV Golf tournament in Bedminster, N.J., July 31, 2022. Carlson was abruptly bounced from his popular prime-time show earlier in the day without explanation from Fox. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)

By Lucy Atkinson, Opinion Columnist

Tucker Carlson – the conservative ex-talk show host of FOX news – was released from duty on April 24, and it feels ecstatic to see him go. 

Unaware it would be his last, Carlson gave his final sign-off on Friday, April 21, and the world caught news of his firing the next Monday.

Since he began the Tucker Carlson Tonight show in 2016, Carlson has been a lot. Well, a lot to handle, yes, but he’s played a lot of roles as well. 

He’s been a powerful conspiracy theorist, preaching that welcoming immigrants is a spooky liberal plan to gain votes and change American demographics. In other words, he’s been racist, and he’s highly-offended when called racist. 

He’s been a praiser of Vladmir Putin and the war on Ukraine, because at least Putin – as he once pointed out – isn’t calling him racist. 

He’s been a crier of misogynistic male tears, upset that his date – the green M&M – arrived in tennis shoes rather than sexy boots.

He’s been a climate change denier, insisting feminists, and all their evil, cannot be considered real scientists. 

He’s been a key component in the FOX v. Dominion case, which revealed texts suggesting he knew more than the 2020 election denialism he shared with viewers.

Most especially, Carlson has been the voice of a dangerously large, far-right echo chamber, where he is considered a trust-worthy news source.

But as NIU’s Media Studies Undergraduate Program Director Laura Vazquez expresses, the one thing Tucker Carlson has never been is a journalist. 

“Tucker Carlson is not a journalist, he’s not a trained journalist, he never was a journalist, he’s an entertainer, he’s a reader, and as an entertainer, he does not follow the rules of journalism,” Vazquez said. “There are specific guidelines that someone who is writing for, working for a news organization has to follow. So was he bound by those rules? No.”

Now Carlson’s gone, and his viewers aren’t happy. Compared to Carlson’s last Wednesday show, the segment has lost 56% of its viewers, the Nielsen company, a media data and analytics firm, told the Associated Press

It’s difficult to know how to react to this decrease. 

Should we laugh? It is rather funny to watch the news media team that fostered so many conspiracy theories lose its viewers so suddenly. Karma in action?

But then, maybe we should feel solemn. We should certainly, at least, be deeply disturbed that such an immense fraction of the FOX viewers – one of largest media companies in America – were watching only for one personality: one egregious, offensive performer pretending to be a journalist. 

Of course, no matter what, one emotion we must definitely feel as we continue to watch this fallout is satisfaction. Tucker Carlson, welcome to the hall of history’s worst. At least your spotlight has finally turned off.