After Tucker Carlson was unceremoniously fired from Fox News two weeks ago, speculation swirled about where he would land. Many on the right thought he would be snatched up by a competitor like Newsmax, while detractors on the left fantasized about him going to a Russian-state media outlet. But on Tuesday, Carlson announced that he struck a deal with Twitter owner Elon Musk to bring the show to the free speech platform. This all comes as Carlson alleged fraud and contract violation by Fox News.
Tucker began his video announcement by declaring what many know to be true: “the news is full of lies” and notation that “you are being manipulated” by the news media. His example was perhaps the cornerstone of media bias in bias by omission:
How does that work? Let’s see. If I tell you that a man has been unjustly arrested for armed robbery, that is not, strictly speaking, a lie. He may have been framed. At this point, there has been no trial so no one can really say. But if I don’t mention the fact that the same man has been arrested for the same crime six times before, am I really informing you? No, I’m not. I’m misleading you.
He then seemed to hint at experiencing said pressures. “What’s it like to work in a system like that? After more than 30 years in the middle of it, we could tell you stories,” he teased.
Next came a more narrow focus that could lead many to believe concerned Fox News. He warned that “there are always limits” to the truth you can tell “and you know that if you bump up against those limits often enough, you will be fired for it. That’s not a guess. It’s guaranteed.” He called it “the rule of what you can’t say” and added that it “defines everything.”
We’re back. pic.twitter.com/sG5t9gr60O— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) May 9, 2023
This is where the behind-the-scenes legal drama spilled out.
According to reporting by Axios around the time the video went up, co-founder Mike Allen and media reporter Sara Fischer reported that, shortly before announcing his show on Twitter, Carlson’s lawyers delivered an “aggressive letter” to Fox News alleging fraud and contract breaches stemming from their recent $787.5 million defamation settlement with Dominion Voting Systems.
“Notably, the letter alleges Fox broke an agreement with Carlson not to leak his private communications to the media and not to use Carlson's private messages ‘to take any adverse employment action against him,’” Allen and Fischer wrote.
The letter also argued, as per Axios, that since Fox News initiated the breach of contract, the non-compete clause could not be considered legally valid. And, apparently, continuing to pay Carlson was a way to keep the non-compete provision going.
So that brings us to Carlson’s new show. He praised Twitter as “the last big [platform] remaining in the world, the only one” that still respected free speech and announced it would be the new home of his show:
Starting soon, we’ll be bringing a new version of the show we’ve been doing for the last six and half years to Twitter. We’ll be bringing some other things too which we’ll tell you about. But for now, we’re just grateful to be here.
“Free speech is the main right that you have. Without it, you have no others,” he concluded.