Twenty-four hours later Fox News ousted its top-rated host, the network has yet to explain one of the most shocking defenestrations in cable news history. “I’m not going beyond publication,” a Fox News spokesperson emailed yesterday when asked for comment. In this vacuum of information, multiple theories about why Fox fired Carlson circulated in the media. It was the fallout from $787.5 million Dominion settlement; punishment for vulgar text messages published in Dominion court records; or a consequence of the former Fox producer Abby GrossbergIt is trial, which alleged that Carlson oversaw a hostile work environment. (Fox News has pledged to “vigorously defend” the company against “Grossberg’s unsubstantiated legal claims.”)
But none of these potential reasons fully add up. Fox News anchor Maria Bartiromo excited Dominion plots far more than Carlson, and yet she stays on the air. Fox had access to Carlson’s text messages and emails in the Dominion lawsuit for months and did not punish him for it. Fox hosts sued for sexual harassment in the past have been publicly fired for cause, but Carlson has not. According to a source, Carlson wasn’t even fired and remains on Fox News’ payroll.
So the mystery remains: why did Fox News pull its biggest star from the airwaves?
A new theory has emerged. According to the source, the chairman of Fox Corp. Rupert Murdoch pulled Carlson following remarks Carlson made during a speech at the Heritage Foundation’s 50th anniversary gala on Friday night. Carlson laced his speech with religious overtones that even Murdoch found too extreme, said the source, who was briefed on Murdoch’s decision-making. carlson said Heritage audience that national politics has become a Manichean battle between “good” and “evil”. Carlson said people who advocate for transgender rights and DEI programs want to destroy America and they can’t be convinced by facts. “We should say that and stop engaging in these totally fraudulent debates…I tried. It doesn’t work,” he said. The answer, Carlson suggested, was prayer. “I’ve concluded that it might be helpful to take just 10 minutes out of your busy schedule to say a prayer for the future, and I hope you do,” he said. “This stuff freaks Rupert out. He doesn’t like all the witty talk,” the source said.
Carlson declined to comment. A spokesperson for Fox Corp. declined to comment.
It is been reported this CEO of Fox Corp. Lachlan Murdoch and CEO of Fox News Suzanne Scott made the decision to fire Carlson on Friday night. Another source, someone close to Murdoch, told me something similar. Scott informed Carlson of the decision Monday morning.
Rupert Murdoch may have been pissed off at Carlson’s messianism because it echoed Murdoch’s ex-fiancée’s end-times worldview Ann Lesley Smith, the source said. In my Can cover the story, I reported that Murdoch and Smith called off their two-week engagement because Smith told people Carlson was “a messenger from God.” Murdoch had seen Carlson and Smith discuss religion firsthand. In late March, Carlson dined at Murdoch’s Bel Air Vineyard with Murdoch and Smith, according to the source. During dinner, Smith pulled out a Bible and began reading passages from the Book of Exodus, the source said. “Rupert just sat there and watched,” the source said. A few days after dinner, Murdoch and Smith called off the wedding. By taking Carlson off the air, Murdoch was also taking his ex’s favorite show off the air.
Smith did not respond to a request for comment.
The 92-year-old tycoon’s broken engagement is part of a series of erratic decisions he’s made recently that raise questions about Murdoch’s leadership of his media empire. Sources say Fox executives are concerned about Murdoch’s unsteady hand at the wheel of the company. “It’s like the king is senile but nobody wants to say anything,” the source said. According to two sources, Fox settled with Dominion moments before the trial began because Fox’s attorneys did not want Murdoch to testify in public. “They had been hoping and praying to settle down for months, but they wouldn’t pay,” the second source said. Once the trial began, attorneys told Fox executives that Murdoch would be “disgraced on the stand, expelled from the boardroom, and his testimony would expose him as a madman sliding into senility.” (The person close to Murdoch disputed this. “Rupert was very well prepared to testify.”)