In a move foreshadowed by a Sunday Axios report, Tucker Carlson, the former host at Fox News, has made a significant career shift by moving his show to Twitter. Announced on Tuesday, Carlson’s move underscores his claim that Twitter is one of the last remaining platforms that supports free speech.
Carlson, in a monologue, criticized Fox News while lauding Twitter for its commitment to open dialogue. “The boundary of what can and cannot be said sets the tone,” he stated. He went on to argue that free societies can only thrive when individuals are allowed to express their beliefs openly. “The last significant bastion of free speech is Twitter, where we are now,” he declared.
We’re back. pic.twitter.com/sG5t9gr60O
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) May 9, 2023
Elaborating on his decision, Carlson praised Twitter for its role in fostering national discussions, contrasting it with other networks he branded as “thinly veiled propaganda channels.” He pointed out the common sequence of events where an event gets covered on cable news, and the ensuing discussions take place on Twitter. However, he expressed dissatisfaction with the current setup, implying that the system is still controlled by gatekeepers.
The move to Twitter could potentially bypass the restrictions imposed by Fox’s contract with Carlson, which effectively barred him from switching networks until January 2025. To navigate this contractual issue, Carlson has hired renowned Hollywood lawyer Bryan Freedman. In a statement to Axios, Freedman said, “The idea that anyone is going to silence Tucker and prevent him from speaking to his audience is beyond preposterous.”
Carlson’s departure from Fox News took place in late April, following which he received numerous offers from various networks, with some as high as $100 million. Following his final show, Fox News acknowledged and thanked Carlson for his contributions to the network.
Twitter owner Elon Musk, however, clarified that no official agreement had been made with Carlson. This statement suggests that Carlson may have found an ingenious way to navigate his Fox contract, which barred him from appearing on other networks until 2025.
On this platform, unlike the one-way street of broadcast, people are able to interact, critique and refute whatever is said.
And, of course, anything misleading will get @CommunityNotes.
I also want to be clear that we have not signed a deal of any kind whatsoever. Tucker is… https://t.co/0TMjuYnKUp
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2023
Musk explained the benefits of Carlson’s move to Twitter, stating that it could involve subscriptions and ad revenue share. He added, “This is a function of how many people subscribe and the advertising views associated with his content,” indicating that the process of developing the required software for the latter is still ongoing.