Twenty-four hours after Fox News ousted its highest-rated host, the network has yet to explain one of the most shocking defenestrations in cable news history. “I’m not going beyond the release,” a Fox News spokeswoman texted yesterday when I asked her for comment. In this information void, multiple theories about why Fox fired Carlson circulated in the media.
It was fallout from the $787.5 million Dominion settlement; punishment for vulgar text messages published in Dominion court filings; or a consequence of former Fox producer Abby Grossberg’s lawsuit, which alleged Carlson oversaw a hostile work environment. (Fox News has vowed to “vigorously defend” the company against “Grossberg’s unmeritorious legal claims.”)
But none of these potential reasons fully add up. Fox News anchor Maria Bartiromo hyped Dominion conspiracies far more than Carlson did, and yet she remains on the air. Fox had access to Carlson’s texts and emails in the Dominion lawsuit for months, and didn’t punish him for it. Fox hosts sued for sexual harassment in the past were fired publicly for cause, but Carlson wasn’t. According to a source, Carlson wasn’t even fired and remains on the Fox News payroll.
So the mystery remains: Why did Fox News take its biggest star off the air?