The 8-year-saga at FOX News, the Ides of March, and the rise of the American Empire
History’s crystal ball into our future…
Dateline April 25, in the Year of our Lord 2023
Tucker Carlson's departure at FOX News reflects a much bigger story, regardless of what you think of FOX News or Carlson. It seems that the sweeping narrative of the story is lost in the 24-hour news cycle and our moment-by-moment mentality. The story here is less about FOX News and more about echoes of a lesson learned long ago.
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In 2016, after 8 years of Progressive government in America under Barack Obama, the left thought it had the numbers to, once and for all, impose the Progressive vision in America. In 2016, Donald Trump won the election. Friend or foe? That is beside the point, except that the Progressive left thought Trump to be America’s greatest foe. My story here is about the direction of America, not Trump. The left publicly laid the blame for Trump’s election at the feet of Russian collusion. But, internally they understood that, given the influence of FOX News, the real danger was a mainstream news outlet that was not under their influence and was threatening the Progressive cause. Yes, FOX, by its numbers and namesake, is mainstream. Progressives knew FOX was beginning to reach their voters. By February of 2022, Tucker Carlson was the number one watched cable host across all networks among Democrats in the key demographic of 25-54. The danger posed by Carlson to the Progressive vision was clear and present.
In 2017, before the dust had settled from Trump's election, two sex "scandals," which later dissipated, ousted two key figures at FOX — Roger Ailes, the executive who led FOX News to its success, and Bill O'Reilly, the most popular host on the network. A second popular FOX host in prime time, Megyn Kelly, was hired away by NBC with an unprecedented contract at nearly the same time. This required at least a handful of insider women at FOX to accuse Ailes and O'Reilly simultaneously, and NBC executives to spend $69 Million on a three-year contract for Kelly. True or not, the timing of the sexual accusations should cause a discerning observer to question how all of these things came about at that moment. And, given the time that's passed since 2017, why haven't we heard more about those sexual accusations? Shortly into Kelly's NBC contract, she was fired on the usual trumped up charge of racism (or insensitivity). The offense was so minimal, even by leftist standards, that it was clear NBC had no real interest in Kelly. Was this turn of events a very unlikely coincidence?
FOX bounced back with Tucker Carlson as a singular force de jour. By 2021, Carlson had eclipsed O'Reilly's average 3.3 Million viewers and could command his own destiny at FOX. In response, Progressives pressured advertising agencies not to place ads on Carlson's show. Regular viewers would notice that My Pillow and vitamin supplements were far more common than automotive or pharmaceutical ads on Carlson. This financial boycott by big corporations drove FOX to look for new ways to pay for Carlson's show, given that it was the most popular show on Cable TV. FOX gave Carlson a prominent show anchoring FOX Nation, the paid streaming service of FOX News. As I understand it, Carlson insisted on journalistic independence and he largely got it. As Covid wound down, Carlson became more dangerous to the left with his reporting on Covid and January 6th. Early this year, he received exclusive access to the January 6th footage, released to him by Kevin McCarthy.
On Monday, March 6th, Carlson started to release the January 6th footage. By the 7th, power players from both parties were crying foul. On the 8th, Carlson went silent, despite his earlier promises of a full week of releases from the tapes. This did not go unnoticed. Dinesh D'Sousa tweeted around the 9th that someone must have silenced Carlson. Within a week, discerning viewers may note that Carlson, who normally broadcasts from Florida, was in the New York studio for the week — at FOX headquarters — right around the 15th of March. The press in the past few days has been focused on Carlson's role in the Dominion lawsuit, but I believe that the problems might have begun when FOX News, under threats or pressure, called Carlson to headquarters to discuss censoring him. FOX News, it seems, silenced Tucker's release of January 6th footage — possibly under threat, or by the timing of the Dominion lawsuit.
Which brings us to another strand in this story. On April 18th, a Jury in New York was seated for the FOX Dominion Voting Machine civil suit against FOX. Commentators on FOX had called the integrity of Dominion machines into question. This type of commentary has long been protected by the 1st Amendment and is done routinely by news commentators across networks. The number of inaccuracies that are printed every day by the media are countless — and this assumes the worst case with FOX — that the claims were untrue. But, a civil suit can be brought anytime by anybody, and this one was brought in a New York Court. No sooner had the jury been seated than FOX settled, with the largest settlement of its kind in history - about $780 million.
To understand this turn of events, we need to look back to the lawsuit brought by New York State's leftist Attorney General Latitia James against the National Rifle Association in August of 2020. Like FOX News, the NRA had been headquartered in New York and was therefore subject to a lawsuit over paperwork and financial technicalities regarding Wayne LaPierre, the outspoken president of the NRA. The suit was supposedly about financial integrity. Everyone with integrity who looked at the complaint could see it was politically motivated to silence the NRA. The NRA, which famously had led the 2nd Amendment fight through the 1990s and 2000s, has been effectively silenced nationwide by the state of New York as it battles this frivolous suit. A similar situation seems to be in play with a criminal investigation of Donald Trump over, once again, paperwork technicalities, selectively prosecuted. New York State and City have become powerful allies of the Progressives as they control national political outcomes.
New York is so densely packed with Progressives that any jury there can be counted upon to vote according to its religion — Progressivism. FOX News, once they saw who was seated in the jury, made a business decision that is telling. The legal process of Voir Dire in jury selection would have given FOX attorneys a close look at who they had to convince. FOX obviously saw the handwriting on the wall and accepted the largest settlement ever leveled against a journalistic organization for libel.
Note the timing this time: We are about 18 months from a presidential election and Joe Biden just announced he is running.
I write this piece not as a defense of FOX News or Carlson (well, maybe Carlson, given his Heritage Speech). Rather, I think we should look at the power that is wielded by the forces of the Progressives. Just this week, video of Biden claiming the government’s ownership of America's children surfaced. The power-structure is my point, not the particulars.
Carlson's timing is ironic, as the January 6th catalyst unfolded in mid March. History, as classical educators often note, can be a looking glass into the future. On the 15th of March, 44 BC, around 70 Roman senators, numerous military officers and civilians conspired to kill Julius Caesar because, by popular accounts, he was seeking his ascension to Rex (king). With the promise of ending a threat to the Roman Republic, the powers of the mob assassinated him. He was assassinated by the nameless bureaucratic powers of civilians, politicians, and other interests, not one of which had the courage to face him head on. What Progressive is willing to face Carlson in an open debate? And what of his supposed allies on the right over January 6th footage? Et tu, Mitch McConnell?
Julius, it was widely believed, was a danger too great to allow to live. Octavius, his immediate successor, proceeded to establish the Roman Empire, ending the Republic. He took an even loftier pair of titles — "Caesar Augustus" — and did exactly what the bureaucratic mob who assassinated Julius, claimed he intended to do. Octavius did it more so, all the while denying his intention — to become the most powerful of all Roman emperors! There are two lessons in this. One, empires rise when the winds of culture demand it, regardless of who is in power. And two, the collusion of powers in a nameless, faceless power structure is a prologue to the rise of an empire. An empire, I’m afraid, is on our doorstep. Concentrated political power like this has not been seen since Rome, and America’s military influence far eclipses Rome’s. Carlson’s story, and the FOX story, will be played out in the media as a story about FOX and Carlson. Discerning observers realize there is much more at stake.
With this, for a little hopefulness, I encourage you to watch a related video from New Saint Andrews College.
And here are two more links to Tucker Carlson’s speech:
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Thank you for writing this piece and for giving some context. I also appreciate the encouragement to see things from a bigger vantage point vs "just looking through the keyhole". I am also very optimistic: something good is going to come out of this transition and we will look back and see "Ahhh! Mr. Tucker Carlson is in a much better place with much more freedom to speak truth." I will miss him at Fox but I am eager to see where he lands next. Thank you for this piece!
Dear Mr. Goodwin,
As someone who sincerely appreciated Carlson's speech at the Heritage Foundation, and as someone who is grateful to God for _Battle For the American Mind_, I am very indebted to you.
I did not know, however, that I was also indebted to you for a crystal ball that divines the hearts and motives of Progressives, to turn on FOX. I didn't know that the departures of Ailes, O'Reilly, and Megyn Kelly were not coincidental; since that would mean "The Progressives" infiltrated FOX itself (it was their own employees who took down Ailes & O'Reilly), and that Kelly didn't depart due to poor treatment at the hands of a former president ("blood coming out of her wherever") or an opportunistic NBC. I didn't know that New York City could be the setting for such exciting plots - Carlson whisked to NYC, juries sat in NYC, settlements paid in NYC! (I did, however, already know that "New York State and City have become powerful allies of the Progressives" because I can fog a mirror.) I didn't know that FOX, the NRA, and Trump were all involved in lawsuits over mere paperwork, not some of the most outrageous misuses of the Truth ever seen on the Right side of the political aisle. I didn't know that Carlson - of whom Fox lawyers disavowed in court - was Julius Caesar come again; nor that Caesar is evidently the hero we ought to have cheered for against his woke Roman plebs.
Because I love the Christian classical education that you champion, I have the privilege of teaching Pascal's _Pensées_, where he says "Le cœur a ses raisons que la raison ne connaît point" (the heart has its reasons that reason knows not). The reasoning behind things as hidden as heart motivations, or as massive as the rise of Progressive empires, lies in the hands of Providence, not ours (Deut 29:29). Because I love the Christian classical education, I have learned that rhetoric must be painstakingly built on logic, otherwise it will devolve to mere sophistry, cobbled together from insinuation and tendentious associations.
Perhaps we dither on details, while you abide by your main point: "power-structure is my point, not the particulars." But must we sully CCE in the mudslinging of 24-hour infotainment, when Augustine's _City of God_, Machiavelli's _The Prince_, and Hobbes' _Leviathan_ tell us these truths, without the secret gnosis interpretation of "The Progressives?"
You say: "An empire, I’m afraid, is on our doorstep." I say, Mr. Goodwin, to fear not and sleep well, for our God is in the heavens, and He does all that He pleases. If history does have a crystal ball for the future, the hope of CCE - and of any republic - lies in the fear-less men and women who seek a better City. We busy our hands with trowel & sword, not wringing them in anxiety over what the progressives are plotting.