If Carlson was indeed fired in part because of workplace misogyny, he would be falling into venerable Fox tradition. The network has a history of tolerating abuse of women until exposing it becomes too inconvenient, at which point even seemingly irreplaceable characters like Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly are thrown overboard. Contempt for women is part of the Fox News Carlson brand; his infamous “End of Men” special urged men to tan their testicles, ostensibly to boost testosterone and thus save society from collapse. It would be fitting if contempt for women ends up derailing him.
But Carlson despises so many people. He’s the most Trumpian of the Fox News hosts, even though we now know, thanks to the Dominion case discovery, that he hates Donald Trump “passionately.” Like Trump, he and his producers mine the white nationalist internet for narratives, spreading wild conspiracy theories at will and suggesting that violence is needed to take back America. After Trump was indicted last month, Carlson said, “Probably not the best time to ditch your AR-15.” As Nick Confessore wrote in The New York Times, he coined “This Might Be Cable News The most racist show ever – and, in some ways, the most successful.”
The similarity in Carlson’s and Trump’s emotions may stem from the similarity in their resentment. Both were children of privilege—Carlson was expelled from a Swiss boarding school—and they sought the respect of the establishment, but never got it. It’s worth noting that, given Carlson’s distaste for the supposed deep state, Carlson tried to join the CIA but was turned down. He turned his ambitions to cable news, but struggled to fit in before landing on Fox News. In a 2021 interview, Carlson described being “kind of broken” after being fired from MSNBC in 2008, the latest in a string of failures, to have to sell his house. Referring to the television industry, he said, “I lived in that world, and I didn’t make it.”
Like Trump, he will succeed by pandering to those who despise his world. He takes revenge as a career.
Impossible to know what will happen to Carlson’s career now, as Carlson makes a rare cable news trifecta with CNN, MSNBC and fox. He has a very loyal following and could easily start his own business or join a potential Fox competitor like Newsmax or OAN. It would be a great irony if Fox News, which spread lies about Dominion for fear of being outflanked by Newsmax from the right, now finds itself losing out to Newsmax due to the fallout from the Dominion lawsuit.