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May 10, 2023

Tucker Takes It to Twitter

By announcing plans to move his top-rated cable show to Elon Musk’s platform, Carlson is doubling down on free speech.

You knew he wouldn’t be gone long. And he wasn’t.

In a three-minute video he posted to his Twitter account late yesterday afternoon, Tucker Carlson told his audience that he’d found a new home for the top-rated show he’d done on Fox News for the past six and a half years: Twitter.

Yes, Twitter. Which makes perfect sense, since the man who owns that one-of-a-kind, Wild Wild West-ish social media platform, Elon Musk, is every bit as fierce a fighter for free speech as Carlson is.

As Carlson’s attorney, Bryan Freedman, told Axios on Sunday, “The idea that anyone is going to silence Tucker and prevent him from speaking to his audience is beyond preposterous.”

Preposterous indeed, even though the Murdoch boys and the rest of the weak-kneed, speech-suppressing poobahs at Fox News wish it were otherwise. Word is that they’d hoped to keep Carlson on the sidelines until after the 2024 presidential election by continuing to pay his $20 million annual salary.

Fat chance, Lachlan, m'boy. Fat chance. Cowardly is as cowardly does.

At this point, we have to wonder whether a bit of seller’s remorse is starting to settle in over there at Fox Corp. Anyone there who thought the network would be able to skip right along with a steady succession of able-bodied but ill-equipped non-Carlsons populating his primetime slot have been rudely awakened from that pipe dream. Get a load of this Not the Bee headline: “Fox News ratings after firing Tucker are getting EVEN WORSE! Fox trailed MSNBC in all evening time slots Friday among the key 25-54 demo.”

The reaction to the latest ratings data from conservative commentator Sean Davis was typical: “That seemed so crazy that I went and double-checked the ratings with my own eyes, and you’re right. Fox’s 8pm time slot went from #1 in demo ratings to #40, trailing even MSNBC’s 6am show.”

Slipping from #1 to, say, #3 or #4 can be considered a blip. Falling from first to fortieth, though, is stunning.

Just weeks ago, such a sorry showing from the cable news colossus would’ve beggared the imagination. Clearly, though, the network is now reaping what it sowed just over two weeks ago. As we wrote at the time, the freedom to say what we want to say and to hear what we want to hear is the defining issue of our time. Nothing is more fundamental or more important — which is why those five expressive freedoms are enshrined in our Constitution’s First Amendment and not tossed in thereafter, along with prohibitions against unlawful searches and seizures, excessive bail, cruel and unusual punishments, and compelled quartering of troops.

As for the plight of Fox News, well, ya hate to see it; just hate to see a once-proud and once-vigorous network lose its nerve and get punished by the people. On the other hand, maybe Fox Corp will realize the error of its ways and work hard to make amends to its remaining audience. Either that, or maybe it can go slumming for the handful of centrists at CNN.

As for what exactly happened between Carlson and Fox, who knows? And, when we get right down to it, who cares?

In addition to being a business boon for both Twitter and Tucker, the partnership should also quell the Woke Left’s incessant charges of reeeecism against Carlson, since Musk is, after all, African-American.

Carlson called Twitter the “last big [free speech platform] remaining in the world,” adding: “Twitter isn’t a partisan site. Everyone is allowed here.”

He’s right, of course, and Elon Musk gets the credit for it. Really: Think about the sorry state of free speech in this country in the weeks and months prior to Elon Musk having ponied up $42 billion for Twitter.

Musk, in reinforcing the appeal of his platform, also cautioned that a deal with Carlson hadn’t yet been done:

On this platform, unlike the one-way street of broadcast, people are able to interact, critique and refute whatever is said. And, of course, anything misleading will get Community Notes. I also want to be clear that we have not signed a deal of any kind whatsoever. Tucker is subject to the same rules & rewards of all content creators. Rewards means subscriptions and advertising revenue share (coming soon), which is a function of how many people subscribe and the advertising views associated with the content.

Then Musk added, “I hope that many others, particularly from the left, also choose to be content creators on this platform.”

Which is fine. Because in the marketplace of ideas, the best ideas win out. And the worst ideas get adopted by the Democrat Party.

As Carlson said in closing out his brief Twitter monologue: “Free speech is the main right that you have. Without it, you have no others. See you soon.”

UPDATE: It’s been a bit less than two days since Carlson’s tweet about moving to Twitter, and we thought we’d check back in to see what sort of response it’s gotten. At this moment, the tweet has been seen by more than 121 million viewers and liked by 857,000 of them. Anyone who thinks Carlson can’t possibly achieve the reach via Twitter that he enjoyed on Fox News might want to re-think their analysis.

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