Tucker Carlson out at Fox News
Ian Bremmer's Quick Take: Hey everybody. Ian Bremmer here, a Quick Take to kick off your week and well, you know what the hell? I'll respond to the Tucker Carlson news since it's pretty significant. He's out all of a sudden, a very sudden and very terse statement being made by Fox. They have agreed to part ways. Kind of statement that usually makes you think that there is more news that is going to be coming out relatively soon that they wanted to get ahead of. But let's leave that aside. This is the guy that was driving an extraordinary amount of revenue, most popular show on cable, and also now is driving a lot of losses because of the Dominion settlement, which Tucker Carlson played a significant role in being responsible for promoting a lot of fake news while also being caught in text messages saying that the election grievances and being stolen, "Stop the Steal" was all a lot of BS.
So what do we think about that? Well, I mean, first Fox going forward is likely to set some pretty clear limits so they don't get themselves vulnerable to these kinds of lawsuits going forward. They settled, but that settlement is expensive. It's about 20% of the cash on hand that Fox actually had, and nobody wants to be cutting those sorts of checks. And to the extent that Tucker is an relatively uncontrolled and uncontrollable actor on Fox, getting rid of him no matter how much advertising revenue and eyeballs he drives, as well as Dan Bongino, much smaller, but same sort of actor is a pretty sensible move for Fox to make. It's kind of funny because I remember when the Murdochs wanted to have Tucker in that position, and he was seen at the time as actually very intelligent, very credible, and a bomb thrower and a polemicist, but not about fake news.
Someone who actually was going to be great for Fox, for the Fox family. And of course, when Carlson started seeing just how much he could drive algorithmically by giving the base exactly what it wants and not mattering whether it was provable or not, and playing to some of the worst instincts of fear and anger that his population and the Trump population has, then he was willing to go with it 100%. And some of that has been deeply damaging. He's been the guy that's most clearly publicly aligned with Putin, for example, after the Russian invasion of Ukraine with Viktor Orbán, a clear authoritarian inside the EU, and also the idea that that Canada is increasingly becoming an authoritarian regime and needs support from the US. That's going to be a fun special that a lot of people will be forced to watch.
I will say that I never would go on Tucker Carlson. I refuse. In my view, it's not real information. I make a point when there's major international news on screen, I want to make sure that I appear on CNN, on MSNBC and on Fox. And that is not hard to do, even though very few people do it, if you stick to trying to help people understand what's happening in the world. But you can't do it on a show like Tucker. There's no problem doing it during the day at Fox. The morning show, the midday, afternoon. I mean, whether it's Bret Baier or Dana Perino or a whole bunch of other... I mean, I can think of 10 anchors that I've been on. They're all fine. They may be quite conservative. They may be pro-Trump, even some of them, though very few actually, certainly privately, but they're happy to have you talk about what you think.
Just as most of the vast majority of anchors I work with on CNN and MSNBC are, but Tucker is not. And in that regard, I'm glad he's gone, but I don't think it matters. I don't think it matters for two reasons. First, because his brand is going to go with him. He is a business. He will get that advertising revenue. He will continue to drive massive amounts of support, including through social media. In that regard he'll be one of the most effective in the United States, and I think he'll play a very significant role in 2024. In some ways, he may be more effective in doing that than he is at Fox. Certainly, I don't believe Trump gets elected if it isn't for Facebook and Instagram and Twitter. I don't think that Bolsonaro is elected without those mechanisms and many others populous on the right and on the left anti-establishment voices and forces that we see in Democratic elections around the world.
By the way, I also saw that Don Lemon was just ousted from CNN this morning, very different kind of ouster. I have appeared with Don Lemon a bunch on his show, and then more recently, I think a week or two ago on the morning show, but they clearly wanted to shake that up. It wasn't working internally in terms of bookings and rebookings and the orientation of the different anchors there being very different. And also the blowback he got when he was talking in an insensitive manner about age, which is something that you can get away with if you're Tucker, but you can't get away with if you're Don. And well, we'll see where he ends up next. But having said that, the funny thing is Chris Cuomo, who of course was canceled from CNN because of the inappropriateness of his links to his brother, the former governor who has done lots of bad things.
I actually think Chris Cuomo's a very strong newsman, and I enjoy going on his show and on his podcast. Think he asks tough questions across the political spectrum. And I'm glad he's back and I'm glad he's still there and doing it. I don't know how many people actually watch it, but I'll tell you that if he calls and I'm around, I'll certainly give him the time. So that's how I think about this stuff. And of course on my own GZERO show, which I hope a lot of you watch, I do my damnedest to reach out to everybody, whether it's Dem, Republican, or Independent in the US and there's increasingly a large number of those as well as around the world.
That's it for me. I'll talk to you all real soon.