Puckered Carlson and the Lemon are Both Squeezed out!
Arrogance and duplicity on both sides of the political divide just got a big kick in the butt.
This editorial isn’t about being conservative or liberal, it is about how disingenuous and arrogant two media personalities on both sides of that divide are who were both fired yesterday. I’m clearly not picking on Carlson because he’s conservative because you’ll see I am just as harsh on Don Lemon. In fact, my argument leans toward Carlson being a lot less conservative than his audience and Lemon being not quite fully loyal to progressives either. I’m criticizing them both for being smug and frauds who sold out for popularity – i.e., for ratings.
Carlson stated in his emails that he hated Donald Trump “passionately,” even describing him as “a demonic force, a destroyer.” You can’t unsee that. What Trump is good at, Carlson said “is destroying things. He’s the undisputed world champion of that. He could easily destroy us if we play it wrong.” On-screen Carlson fed his viewers only what they wanted to hear, but off-screen he said, “I hate him passionately. We’re all pretending we’ve got a lot to show for it, because admitting what a disaster it’s been is too tough to digest. But come on. There really isn’t an upside to Trump.”
Carlson also stated Sidney Powell, whom he described with the C-word, was wrong in her claims about Dominion's vote-switching, saying: “The software sh** is absurd.” None of that stopped him from pushing a narrative he believed was a lie at any cost to America in order to build ratings for his show. As a result of sucking up to his audience by promoting lead stories he fully believed to be categorically untrue, his show became Fox’s most popular at 3.3-million viewers per night, about half a million more than Fox’s Sean Hannity, which is Fox’s second-highest show.
If promoting stories you passionately believe are false is what it takes to be popular, I will always choose to remain unpopular. The Daily Doom highlighted those stories as they broke weeks ago, which I did knowing full well my audience leans conservative, many of them strongly conservative.
Carlson is also now being sued for sexual harassment and a hostile workplace by his former producer and top booker for his show, Abby Grossberg. Grossberg claimed yesterday his departure is good news for “FoxNews viewers who’ve been manipulated and lied to for years all in an attempt to boost the channel’s ratings and revenue.” Grossberg had claimed a few weeks ago, also reported in The Daily Doom, that she was “'coerced, intimidated, and misinformed” when she was being prepped by Fox lawyers to witness in the Dominion case, which Fox lost “bigly.”
“This [the firing of Carlson] is a step towards accountability for the election lies and baseless conspiracy theories spread by Fox News,” Grossberg said. “Something I witnessed firsthand at the network, as well as for the abuse and harassment I endured while Head of Booking and Senior Producer for Tucker Carlson Tonight.” In her various claims, Grossberg details Carlson’s alleged acts of contempt for women.
Some say the more recent Grossberg suit has more to do with Carlson’s sudden termination than the loss of the Dominion suit. Grossberg’s attorney responded to Fox’s surprise termination of Carlson by saying, Carlson's exit “indicates an unexpected … expression of contrition towards Ms. Grossberg that we welcome and put in the category of 'institutional change' that we require to move us closer towards an amicable resolution of Ms. Grossberg's lawsuits…. We have duly noted that movement and thank Fox News for it.”
Stories in today’s headlines recount claims of Carlson’s repeated denigration over the years of women and of people of other nationalities than his own. I don’t know if Dominion’s lawsuit will manage to shame the shameless. I doubt it. Arrogant people are rarely shamed by revelations about their attitudes toward others.
I have always loathed Carlson because of how smug he is and more recently because of how duplicitous he is, pretending to believe in things he actually believes are lies and then promoting those lies just to make money. After all, that is what ratings are all about. The smarmy Carlson’s pores and his puppy-dog eyes reek of being born the child of privilege that he is. His father, Richard Warner Carlson, was the director of Voice of America, president of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the U.S. ambassador to the Seychelles. His siblings have equally snobby names like “Buckley Peck Carlson.” His step-mother, Patricia Caroline Swanson, is an heiress to Swanson Enterprises and the niece of Senator J. William Fulbright. I have no issue with people being born rich, but sometimes pedigree breeds contempt, and Tucker McNear Carlson is full of contempt.
Carlson’s attitude was so snotty it actually got him kicked out of a high-brow Swiss boarding school, by his own admission, as a young man. He was fired by MSNBC in 2008 to go on to join Fox in 2009 to end up being fired by Fox, in spite of being their best performer, and “performer” is the choice word here because most of what he aired was a performance for ratings over truth in that he disbelieved the very things he promoted the most because they were popular, which is never what news or commentary about news should be. One would hope people become news opinion writers and commentators because they either seek truth or, at least, have beliefs and stand by them.
Prior to MSNBC, Carlson flamed out at CNN. Always, there seemed to be people who could not stand to keep Carlson around because of is arrogant attitude. As a result, he has achieved a trifecta of major network firings. Even where he was most popular, they chose to ditch him unceremoniously and take whatever losses came from that, which could be significant.
This man who chases popularity with a particular group over truth needs to (and will) find a network that cares even less about truth than Fox. Carlson, at the end of the day was solely about chasing ratings at any cost -- even worsening the divisions in America over stories he fully believed were false. The truth could be damned as far as the frequently cussing Carlson was concerned. Now there is a price to pay for that: his ratings will probably diminish wherever he goes. While he’ll find another position with a more extreme network, most of those who believed they were the sole reasons for their own success at Fox and who left Fox or were fired by Fox went on to have significantly smaller audiences, becoming falling stars in terms of their influence. Megan Kelly, Bill O’Reilly, and Glenn Beck are examples. They survive, but with nothing near the audience they once had.
Moments after Fox’s announcement that surprised even Carlson, shock upon shock, the liberally biased CNN, which has said it wants to steer more centrist, did the same thing. It fired one of its most biased hosts -- an equally smug and smarmy (toward his own audience) prima donna, Don Lemon. Lemon, as out of step personally with the audience he catered to as Carlson, was also a misogynist who said that women over fifty had no business criticizing the nation’s geriatric president who can barely walk, talk or think because they are past their prime. Lemon was referring particularly to South Carolina Nikki Haley, age 51, who had said there should be mental competency test for any president over 75, which would include Donald Trump.
There is a major difference between being in your fifties and bright and being eighty going on a hundred, and clearly showing signs of dementia as you shake hands with ghosts. Lemon said a woman is "considered to be in her prime in her 20s and 30s and maybe 40s," which raised the ire of his female cohosts. He had also claimed that male soccer players are more interesting to watch, even though the US fielded an amazing women’s soccer team for the Olympics that took the whole world by storm. CNN’s female audience started walking away from the show, just like Fox’s had begun walking away from Fox when the network was not viewed as solidly pro-Trump, and that was why Carlson, according to his own emails, constantly pitched for someone he personally loathed and believed to be a “destructive devil.”
Lemon also treated his female cohost Kaitlan Collins deplorably, talking over the top of her incessantly in one show to keep himself in the limelight, according her not even the least of professional courtesy. He was rude to his own staff behind the scenes because he acted like everything should be about him. Lemon once argued with Collins that he couldn’t be sexist because he had grown up as the only male in a family of all women.
While he didn’t start quite as well-healed as Carlson, Lemon did start out privileged in life, too, as the son of a prominent attorney in Louisiana. He loves, however, to talk as if, because of his color, he has known what it is to struggle for everything as a Black man. In fact, however, Lemon began as a Reagan Republican in a reasonably wealthy family. Ironically, perhaps, he also began his career with Fox.
While Carlson was a political suck-up to Trump on camera, whom he personally reviled as the devil, Lemon excoriated Trump on camera at every turn and promoted every story against Trump at face value, including the Russian conspiracies for which investigator Robert Mueller could produce no evidence. So, he had no more commitment to truth than Carlson. I don’t think he was just sucking up to CNNs audience as Carlson was; rather, he was too quick to believe anything wrong about Trump just because it did suit his own beliefs and his own audience, rather than to seek truth, even when truth is unpopular … as it usually is with some crowd.
Lemon also brought race into any issue he could to make himself into the Black champion. "When you are in black skin and then you live in this country...then you can disagree with me," said the incredibly smug Lemon to a candidate of color, but the wrong color and wrong party, Vivek Ramaswamy. Again, it was about pursuing popularity with a particular group. Also gay, Lemon aimed for identity politics with that group as well, taking a one-sided stand on any LGBTQ issue. Queerty named him one of the Pride50 "trailblazing individuals who actively ensure society remains moving towards equality, acceptance and dignity for all queer people"
In the end, Lemon’s popularity declined, and he began to perform down to his sour name for CNN. I think that was partly because of his arrogance. According to The New York Times, CNN had experienced difficulty in booking guests willing to appear on-air with him, and polls had shown his popularity among viewers had declined. I doubt it was his liberal political views that got him in trouble with CNN, although he was not liberal enough with women, so that could be.
His arrogance as someone who wanted to make himself into a champion for particular identity groups made him, in my view, the liberal counterpart to Carlson, except I think the always smug Lemon believed in what he presented, including his misogyny. Carlson did his utmost to tap into right-wing rage and Lemon into Left-wing lunacy (and rage). Lemon became so divisive, like Carlson, on some issues that mattered to him that his final morning show run was considered “disasterous.” CNN even forced him to take sensitivity training, not the usual requirement for people of color or LGBTQ+ people at a liberal network.
However, it was not just the hosts that catered to ratings over truth. Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott made sure everyone at Fox knew that they had to “respect” the audience, which meant, tell them what they want to hear because the audience was fleeing Fox for other further-right news outlets. I think one of the major problems with our divided nation now is that most people on both sides shut out and disparage anything they don’t like to hear. Media often seeks to intensify those divisions, play into rage, in order to solidify an audience for itself. It used to be called “pandering to the audience.” As the liberal publication, The Hill, says, “Never surprise them with inconvenient facts. Give them red meat so they’ll come back for more.”
That, of course, applies as much to liberal CNN as to conservative Fox, which found it was no longer conservative enough, so it tried harder to cater to its escaping crowd. CNN, on the other hand, has lost audience by being too liberal. It now looks like both media outlets may be steering a little more toward the center. Going too far toward either extreme has bit them in the budget where it counts, especially now that Fox had to make the biggest payout in media history over a lawsuit by Dominion because its hosts said they knew what they were advocating was not true.
One fan of Carlson told me Carlson should be lauded for airing views that went against his bias. There is, however, a huge difference between someone who covers stories without judgment that are simply against his bias and someone who promotes views he believes are utter lies. Apparently truth matters less to some viewers than hearing what they want to believe. So, they will praise someone for frequently promoting things he fully believes are lies.
I’ve always avoided that, which has often lost me good parts of my audience. I write today knowing it may do the same again; but my commitment is truth. I don’t claim I always find it or discern it, but I try; and I will NEVER promote views I believe are false just to assuage my audience. I’d rather stop writing than do that.
(The stories that tell about these major firings on both sides of America’s political divide are highlighted in boldface among the headlines that follow.)
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