"Fox News has gone woke": Knives out in TrumpWorld over Tucker Carlson's ouster

MAGA diehards claim Fox caved to the "woke mob" and "moving to become establishment media"

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Staff Writer

Published April 25, 2023 11:48AM (EDT)

Tucker Carlson (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images/Janos Kummer)
Tucker Carlson (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images/Janos Kummer)

Right-wingers on Monday lamented Tucker Carlson's abrupt departure from Fox News — and some are calling to boycott the network entirely.

Former President Donald Trump said he was "shocked" during an interview with Newmax's Greg Kelly immediately following the announcement.

"Well, I'm shocked. I'm surprised. He's a very good person and a very good man, and very talented as you know. And he had very high ratings," Trump said. "I don't know if it was voluntary, or was it, somebody fired? But I think Tucker's been terrific. He's been – especially over the last year or so – he's been terrific to me."

"There's a lot of turmoil over there, Fox," Kelly said. "I mean, [$787.5 million] they just paid. Why would they get rid of a guy who's performing – why would somebody do that to their business? Because they're losing money right now. Their stock has gone down."

Last month, a court filing as part of Dominion Voting Systems' history-making defamation lawsuit against Fox News revealed texts showing that Carlson was looking forward to the end of Trump's term in the days ahead of the Jan 6 Capitol riot.

"We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights. I truly can't wait," Carlson wrote to staffers. "I hate him passionately," he added.

Former Fox News host Eric Bolling ripped into the conservative network for dropping Carlson, arguing on his Newsmax show that Fox was "moving to the center" and "casting a wider net" to "catch more fish," including "liberals and leftists." He added  that Newsmax would "remain steadfast and true to what Americans care about" and would "not waver."

Bolling also argued that Carlson likely also held his view that Fox was falling "further and further away from the plot" and is "moving mainstream, CNN lite, as one of our Balance viewers called it."

Bill O'Reilly, who lost his spot as a primetime host for Fox in 2017 over numerous sexual misconduct lawsuits, suggested that the ouster would result in declining ratings for the network.

"Tucker Carlson took over from me. For the first three years his ratings were soft. He lost about a million, maybe a little bit more of my audience, and then in 2020 he took a hard right turn," O'Reilly said on radio station WABC on Monday. "Carlson basically programmed for a very hard right audience and his numbers came up."

Other MAGA allies called out Fox over the ouster.

Eric Trump lamented that Fox had also cut ties with his wife and longtime pundit Dan Bongino.

"What is happening to Fox?" he questioned.

Speaking to conservative radio talk show host Charlie Kirk, Donald Trump Jr. said Carlson's removal from the network  "changes things permanently," as he was "an actual thought-leader in conservatism."

"It's mind-blowing," Don Jr. added, claiming that Carlson as "a once-in-a-generation-type talent."

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Conservative author and staunch Islamophobe Brigitte Gabriel accused Fox News of going "woke."

"Fox News has gone woke. Now they must go broke," she tweeted. 

Donald Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington wrote on Twitter that "Fox News is controlled opposition."

Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, called Carlson the "most courageous person in America media," while Florida GOP lawmaker Matt Gaetz posted a video thanking Carlson for his support.

Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., accused Fox of caving "to the woke mob." 

"Americans no longer blindly watch the news like they did decades ago, they only watch the ones who have courage to tell the truth. Americans are about to quit watching," she tweeted.

Newsmax CEO Chris Ruddy alleged that "For a while Fox News has been moving to become establishment media and Tucker Carlson's removal is a big milestone in that effort."

He added, "Millions of viewers who liked the old Fox News have made the switch to Newsmax and Tucker's departure will only fuel that."

By Gabriella Ferrigine

Gabriella Ferrigine is a staff writer at Salon. Originally from the Jersey Shore, she moved to New York City in 2016 to attend Columbia University, where she received her B.A. in English and M.A. in American Studies. Formerly a staff writer at NowThis News, she has an M.A. in Magazine Journalism from NYU and was previously a news fellow at Salon.

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