We are not sure what the Murdochs were smoking last Monday morning when they shot the immensely profitable Fox News Channel in the kneecaps, but we do know that Tucker Carlson was one of a kind among commentators in the vast journalistic wasteland otherwise known as television news.
Indeed, on issue after issue in recent years Tucker treaded forthrightly where his MSM competitors in both print and broadcast media feared to go. Perhaps that was because he was deeply informed, historically read and literate and possessed of an incisive, open, inquisitive mind that was not about to play passive stenographer to either the Deep State or the lobbies and corporate interests that suffuse the Washington beltway.
Accordingly, Tucker has been nearly alone in smoking out the big issues of our time with a unique breadth, edge and consistency that neither Republican shills like Sean Hannity nor DNC conduits like Anderson Cooper and Rachel Maddow could hope to approach.
Thus, unlike the GOP’s neocon war-lovers and their echo chamber at Fox News, Tucker Carlson exposed the futility, stupidity and danger of the Ukraine proxy war against Russia. And he did so thoroughly and aggressively, exposing serial Deep State war-promoters like Victoria Nuland, while giving learned and incisive refugees from the national security apparatus like Colonel Douglas Macgregor a forum to refute the official lies and delusions.
By the same token, he had gone after the Dem/left earlier on when he relentlessly debunked the RussiaGate hoax. His facts and truths about this latter-day outbreak of McCarthyism are now unassailable, but at the time their mere mention was strictly verboten on the Dem venues at CNN, MSNBC, the broadcast networks and the New York Times/Washington Post axis.
Similarly, he was on to the Covid Lockdown scam early on and did not hesitate to follow the facts and the truth as the Vaxx fiasco unfolded. So doing he gave a platform to the likes of Alex Berenson and Robert Kennedy Jr. at Fox News where they otherwise had no prayer of being heard. And he did so because they were right and worthy of the airtime he seconded to them.
Then there is the whole assault on free speech, civil liberties and an independent 4th estate by the Silicon Valley giants. Tucker didn’t hesitate to expose how the latter had been drafted into the cause of Washington ordered censorship, cancellation, deplatformings and propagation of official propaganda.
Of course, this terrain was the historical bailiwick of the liberal media ala the Pentagon Papers (NYT) and the Watergate expose (Washington Post). But they were nowhere to be seen when (the old) Twitter, Facebook and YouTube/Google signed-up for censorship duty on Covid, Ukraine, the Climate Change Hysteria, the Black Lives Matter scam, the LGBTQIA+ insanity, the January 6th insurrection baloney and sundry other tenets of politically correct opinion. So Tucker filled the news void with aplomb and sagacity.
He was especially on the mark about the January 6th insurrection narrative as peddled by the MSM and the Washington uniparty leadership. For crying out loud, it wasn’t an insurrection or anything that even smelled like a coup or a remote threat to American democracy.
Instead, it was a spontaneous riot and hurly-burly assemblage in the nation’s Capitol Building enabled by abysmally poor police work. The rioters were unarmed, unorganized and unprepared for anything except to eventually be shooed out of the building after they had unexpectedly been given entry by sympathetic Capitol Hill police officers. Tucker Carlson’s vivid video segments of Jacob Chansley (aka the QAnon Shaman) being escorted around the building by these officers put the lie to the whole January 6th narrative in one delicious fell swoop.
Even on a very specific matter like the shocking sabotage of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline it was Tucker Carlson who put America’s most capable and renown journalistic investigator, Seymour Hersh, back on the news platform. My god, the Russians didn’t blow up their own pipelines and neither did the other part owner in Germany.
So who had the means and the remit to do it without Washington’s blessing or participation? Tucker rightly pointed the finger where it belongs—straight at Joe Biden— when the rest of the media remained deaf and dumb about one of the most egregious act of war during recent times.
There was also the matter of Fox Corporation’s 15% shareholder. We are referring to Blackrock and its kindred asset-manager bullies, who have forced the wholesale politicization of financial decision-making upon the markets, led by the hideous scam called ESG and the implicit decarbonization-based industrial suicide on which it is predicated. Tucker Carlson took them on with elan, even as the natural venue for this issue—CNBC and Fox Business—remained largely mute.
Still, amidst the daily Gong Show that passes for politics, finance and media news in America and the radio silence on all these crucial matters among the MSM, there was one reassuring fact: Tucker’s average nightly viewership at about 3.25 million during the first quarter of 2023 was more than 1.6X the combined 2.03 million of lobotomized lefties and/or liberal sheeples that tuned into Anderson Cooper (CNN) and The All In With Chris Hayes Show (MSNBC) during the 8PM slot.
Needless to say, Tucker’s audience isn’t going to vanish. And he will undoubtedly find a way to reconnect with it via one of the lesser conservative networks or thru some new streaming/podcast style gig worked-out with the likes of free speech patrons such as Elon Musk.
That is to say, the big spark of revolt against the mainstream establishment ignited by Tucker Carlson is gonna have legs, even as his shocking cancellation reminds that today’s rulers will stop at nothing when it comes to preserving their power and pelf.
And that includes economic asphyxiation by means of politics-based, not market-based, corporate actions. That is, Tucker Carlson should be an advertisers gold mine, but apparently the kind of woke deputy assistant marketing directors that savaged their own employers at Budweiser, Nike and Disney, among others, had been hard at work promoting boycotts of the Carlson brand long before the ballyhooed settlement with Dominion Voting Systems.
A commentator at American Thinker, for example, has suggested that Tucker’s massive viewership was not translating fully into ad dollars due to a de facto boycott by woke Corporate America.
According to the author, Seth Grossman, a particular heated Carlson diatribe on immigration which aired in December 2018 was actually the beginning of the end.
Within days, at least 26 mainstream corporate sponsors publicly announced that they would no longer sponsor the Tucker Carlson program.
Those sponsors included CareerBuilder, Takeda Pharmaceuticals (makers of Entyvio), TD Ameritrade, IHOP, the United Explorer credit card, Just For Men, Jaguar Land Rover, Ancestry.com, SCOTTeVEST, Zenni Optical, Voya Financial, Nautilus, Inc. for Bowflex, SmileDirectClub, NerdWallet, Minted, Pacific Life insurance, Indeed.com, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Red Lobster, Farmers Insurance, Lexus/Toyota, Mint Mobile, Graze snacks, Samsung, SodaStream, Pfizer’s Robitussin and SanDisk.
When these sponsors left, Tucker Carlson had only ‘second tier’ sponsors paying much lower rates. They included My Pillow, Relief Factor, and Granite Stone pots and pans. The Tucker Carlson program may have had a superstar, prime-time audience. But it had the income of something like a 1970s late-night TV show sponsored by Veg-O-Matic and Ginsu Knives.
Money from ‘second tier’ advertisers alone cannot sustain a prime-time TV program on a major network very long. Although Tucker Carlson was on the air until last week, it was doomed since December of 2018.
It is true that even we were getting pretty tired of the Pillow Man. But when you peruse the commentary of the corporate brands which apparently joined the boycott, it’s pretty evident that the woke capture of the top echelons of Corporate America has now reached alarming proportions.
A spokesperson for TD Ameritrade said: ‘Once news broke about this issue, we instructed our media buying team to avoid the show in the future. This is a decision that we believe is in-line with the strong values of our organization — one of which is People Matter.’
‘At our core, we stand for welcoming folks from all backgrounds and beliefs into our restaurants and continually evaluate ad placements to ensure they align with our values,” a spokesperson for IHOP told THR on Tuesday afternoon. “In this case, we will no longer be advertising on this show.’
‘Our purpose at CareerBuilder is to help people build a life that works. Not some people. All people……Which is why, last Friday, we permanently suspended advertising on some Fox programming, including Tucker Carlson Tonight. We will continue to advertise on programs that align with who we are and what we value.’
Nautilus Inc. has pulled advertising from the show. ‘We can confirm that Nautilus, Inc., parent company for Bowflex, has pulled its ads from the Tucker Carlson Tonight show,’ the company said. ‘We buy media broadly across many news networks, and do not target ads based on specific programs or hosts. However, we have requested that Fox News remove our ads from airing in conjunction with Tucker Carlson Tonight in the future.
Voya Financial, which advertised most recently on Carlson’s Dec. 7 show, said on Twitter that it has no scheduled advertising placements on the show: ‘We’re committed to diversity, inclusion and equality – and respect for all individuals.’
Pacific Life Insurance Company was the first to suspend advertising on Carlson’s show in response to his comment. ‘As a company, we strongly disagree with Mr. Carlson’s statements,’ it said Friday. ‘Our customer base and our workforce reflect the diversity of our great nation, something we take great pride in.
‘Just For Men has no further plans to advertise on Tucker Carlson’s show,’ a company spokesperson said earlier on Tuesday afternoon. ‘The brand is always considering ways to remain responsible, and this includes aligning with partners who share our brand value.’
There is not an iota of business rationale for these advertiser cancellations. After all, Tucker Carlson’s viewers were self-selected at the prime 8Pm hour because they overwhelmingly agree with him and some even get off on his brilliant polemics. So how in the world would an ad for IHOP tarnish its brand among Tucker’s loyal millions?
Yes, CNN spends an ungodly amount of air time replaying Tucker’s monologues and interviews to ridicule them. But even they are not about to waste air time exposing his advertisers.
The irony here, of course, is that the Carlson diatribe against immigrants, which triggered this advertiser boycott, was way off the mark as we see it. On this issue he has been just plain wrong, and has erroneously conflated a whole series of separate issues that have different answers. That is to say, get rid of the drug war and prohibitions, put a stern legal wall around non-citizen access to welfare, and enact a large-scale guest worker program to serve the shortage-afflicted domestic labor market that desperately needs more workers.
That would clear the borders and solve Tucker’s misguided immigrant preoccupation in a heartbeat, but would also underscore the larger point. To wit, how to handle immigrants and so-called border security is a classic two-sided debate subject to a broad range of facts, interpretations and values. It is intended for the halls of Congress, therefore, not the decision calculus of deputy assistant marketing directors in corporate America.
At the end of the day, it is no mystery as to how the likes of Dylan Mulvaney knocked what is now 21% off Bud Light’s sales with such alacrity when Coors and Miller have failed for years to nibble away even a fraction of that plunge; or why national advertisers have been taking a pass on the best rated news show on cable prime time.
To wit, decision-makers in corporate America are so deep in Fed-enabled stock option riches that they are not resolutely attending to business and are allowing the ideological and political infatuations of their younger, wokish staffs to stand in the way of profit maximization. In a word, a corporation desperate for higher profits in order to earn a higher share price the old fashioned way through earnings expansion rather than PE inflation would have never put the hideous face of Dylan Mulvaney on a can of their beer. Nor would it be confronted with this kind of news story:
During the week ended April 22 — the most recent industry data available — Bud Light sales plunged 21% vs. a year ago, accelerating from a 17% slide a week earlier and an initial weekly drop of 6% when the controversy kicked off during the first week of April, according to Nielsen IQ and Bump Williams Consulting.
So what we need is a good old-fashioned stock market crash. In one fell swoop that would wake-up the corporate C-suites and trigger a massive purge of the woke staffs, operations and costs which are now eating away at profits and undermining corporate brands and assets.
Regardless of how long that reckoning takes to materialize, and it will happen, it is certain that Tucker Carlson will soon have a new and better platform. And when the stock options of the Fortune 500 C-suites go to zero, they will stampede their ad dollars to Tucker’s new venue.
After all, capitalists not bamboozled by vastly inflated stock prices historically put their advertising dollars where the audiences were. And they soon will again.
That’s the real meaning of the current Cable Guy Gone episode. The monetary floozies in the Eccles Building have temporarily enabled the woke occupation of the corporate C-suites.
Fortunately, however, they have swaddled themselves in a viscous stagflation, meaning they have performed their last “easy” money trick for a long time to come.
Reprinted with permission from David Stockman’s Contra Corner.