Like knowing where you were when JFK got shot, or when you first heard Cardi B’s “WAP,” recalling what you were doing when you heard that Tucker Carlson left Fox News will soon become personal historical lore, along being, you know, a relief from barely-cloistered racism. Then there is the fact that CNN’s longtime on-air reporter< New Year’s Eve celebrant and recent early morning host, Don Lemon – as popular to the Left as Carlson is to the Right- was terminated by the network after 17 years.
These reports are paradigm shifting events in American news, the sort of stuff where you could see Logan Roy rising from his still-unmade grave over.
“Fox News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways,” the Fox company said in a statement on Monday afternoon “We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor.”
As for Don Lemon, the Warner Bros/Discovery network’s most known face, announced on social media Monday that he had been was gone from CNN after its chairman, Chris Licht wrote “CNN and Don have parted ways. Don will forever be a part of the CNN family, and we thank him for his contributions over the past 17 years. We wish him well and will be cheering him on in his future endeavors.”
In response, Lemon wrote, “I was informed this morning by my agent that I have been terminated by CNN. I am stunned. After 17 years at CNN, I would have thought that someone in management would have had the decency to tell me directly. At no time was I ever given any indication that I would not be able to continue to do the work I have loved at the network. It is clear that there are some larger issues at play,” Lemon said. “With that said, I want to thank my colleagues and the many teams I have worked with for an incredible run. They are the most talented journalists in the business, and I wish them all the best.”
Tucker, the Fox News Channel’s most-watched primetime host is leaving the network abruptly, as it deals with its $787 million settlement that Fox and Rupert Murdoch Inc. must pay out to Dominion Voting Systems for misreporting its facts and figures, and defaming the ballot-technology company by spreading wrongheaded conspiracy theories about its role in the 2020 presidential election.
No one knows, as yet, if Carlson jumped or Fox News pushed – something the news network seems to be doing as of late, with the best example being the non-renewal of ultra-conservative weekend host Dan Bongino’s contract – and I hate seeing anyone lose a job. What I did always hope for, however, is that Tucker Carlson found the truth, rather than the fiction of which he has been most capable.
Whether it was his denial that an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2020 ever really happened to wondering why Black Lives truly Matter, the things that Tucker Carlson said seemed like improvisational comedy without any possible punchlines – as if he was making it all up on the spot, and seeing who might buy the jokes.
Charlotte Alter of Time Magazine once wrote that Carlson is capable of telling “outright falsehoods”, but generally “avoids assertions that are factually disprovable, instead sticking to innuendo” so to get away with his tricks.
Don Lemon’s better angels and worse demons seem to hover around ideas of agism, sexism and misogyny, as, in February, CNN’s morning claimed that one-day Republican presidential hopeful Nikki Haley “isn’t in her prime.”
“Sorry, when a woman is considered to be in her prime [is] in her 20s and 30s and maybe 40s,” Lemon protested before telling CNN’s home audience to confirm his statement by conducting a search on Google. Lemon also famously stated that white supremacist Americans, “most of them radicalized to the right”, were a bigger threat to the safety of America than any foreign agents.
To both anchors, Lemon and Carlson, I have but one word: Dag.
For all of our collective griping with, toward and against Don Lemon and Tucker Carlson, one thing that will be missed – with not having these gentlemen in the anchor seat – is truly knowing where a news man stood on the issue. The more legendarily historic of our news faces – from Walter Cronkite and Frank Reynolds to Barbara Walters and Ed Bradley – we assumed that their affiliations were on the left due to how they conducted themselves when not at the office or at work or away from their desks. They came across as liberals. With Don Lemon (an Out and proud gay Black man) and Tucker Carlson (boldly conservative, and thank God he stopped wearing those bow ties), each anchor made their news reporting and reading based on their personal agendas and socio-political rhetoric. Unlike, say, Alisyn Camerota, a morning host and news representor who worked once for Fox News, and then – and now – for CNN – the allegiances of Lemon and Tucker are not blurred, and could not be misconstrued with each other’s news gigs. And when you are too loudly liberal for CNN or too wrongly right for Fox, that’s saying something.