Fox News, Tucker Carlson part ways days after Dominion lawsuit settlement
April 24 (Reuters) – Fox News Media and its top-rated host Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways, less than a week after parent company Fox Corp (FOXA.O) settled for $787.5 million a defamation lawsuit in which Carlson played a starring role.
The outspoken Carlson embraced conservative issues and delivered his views with a style that made his prime-time show, “Tucker Carlson Tonight”, the highest-rated cable news program in the key 25-to-54 age demographic on the most-watched U.S. cable news network. Shares of Fox closed 2.9% lower on the news, which the company announced on Monday.
Dominion Voting Systems alleged in its lawsuit that Carlson allowed debunked election-fraud claims about the voting-technology firm to air on his show, while casting doubts on the plausibility of those claims in private messages that emerged in legal filings.
Carlson is also key to additional legal battles facing Fox, including a lawsuit filed by his former head of booking Abby Grossberg, who said Fox coerced her testimony in the Dominion case.
Grossberg last month accused network lawyers of pressuring her to provide misleading testimony and said Fox exposed her and others to rampant sexism and misogyny. Fox fired Grossberg, saying her legal claims were “riddled with false allegations against Fox and our employees.”
Carlson’s next move and the reason for his departure are unclear.
“We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor,” Fox News said in a statement. While the departure leaves Fox without one of its biggest stars, advertisers have fled Carlson’s show as he has embraced controversy.
Two sources familiar with the matter said Fox Corp Chief Executive Lachlan Murdoch and Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott reached the decision Friday night that it was time to part ways with Carlson.
A third person said the senior executive producer of “Tucker Carlson Tonight”, Justin Wells, was also let go from Fox News on Monday.
U.S. Representative Thomas Massie, a Republican from Kentucky, said Fox would suffer from Carlson’s departure. “@TuckerCarlson leaving Fox News. He was the boldest they had! This is a big loss for Fox,” he wrote on Twitter.
CLAIMS OF MANIPULATION
In the immediate weeks after Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 election, smaller, more conservative rivals to Fox such as Newsmax gained viewers as they questioned election results. Dominion alleged that Fox staff, ranging from Carlson and members of the newsroom to the board of directors, knew the statements about Dominion were false but continued to air them to avoid losing more viewers.
“For a while Fox News has been moving to become establishment media and Tucker Carlson’s removal is a big milestone in that effort,” Newsmax Chief Executive Christopher Ruddy said in a statement.
In deeply conservative West Texas, some Fox viewers expressed shock and anger at Carlson’s removal.
“My wife and I were just talking about this, and we think it’s a real bummer they took him off air, because he’s a true conservative voice,” said Mark Gudelman, a 67-year-old retiree who was shopping in a Dollar General store in Shallowater, Texas.
Four people in Shallowater who said they were conservative but would not give their full names told Reuters they stopped watching Fox after the perceived betrayal of Trump in 2020. They said they now preferred what they considered to be even more truly conservative outlets, such as Newsmax or One America News.
Dominion is also suing Newsmax and One America News for similar debunked claims about vote rigging.
Carlson’s last program was April 21, the company said in the statement. It said “Fox News Tonight” will air live at 8 p.m. EDT starting on Monday as an interim show helmed by rotating Fox News personalities until a new host is named.
After the announcement of Carlson’s departure from Fox News, a spokesperson for former President Donald Trump tweeted: “Fox News is controlled opposition.” Trump gave an interview to Carlson earlier this month that aired on Fox.
In an interview on Newsmax on Monday, Trump said Carlson was “a very good person and very talented.” He said he didn’t know if Carlson’s departure was voluntary or if he was fired.
Republican U.S. Representative Lauren Boebert, who has been a staunch Trump supporter, was quick to back Carlson. “I stand with Tucker Carlson!” she tweeted shortly after the news broke.
Carlson joined Fox News as a contributor in 2009 and became a co-host of “Fox & Friends Weekend” in 2012. He began hosting his prime-time show in November 2016. In 2021, Fox announced a multiyear deal with Carlson to provide content for its Fox Nation streaming service.
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Vatican singles out bishops in urging reflective not reactive social media use
VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican on Monday urged the Catholic faithful, and especially bishops, to be “reflective, not reactive” on social media, issuing guidelines to try to tame the toxicity on Catholic Twitter and other social media platforms and encourage users to instead be “loving neighbors.”
The Vatican’s communications office issued a “pastoral reflection” to respond to questions it has fielded for years about a more responsible, Christian use of social media and the risks online that accompany the rise of fake news and artificial intelligence.
For decades the Holy See has offered such thoughts on different aspects of communications technologies, welcoming the chances for encounter they offer but warning of the pitfalls. Pope Francis of late has warned repeatedly about the risk of young people being so attached to their cell phones that they stop face-to-face friendships.
The new document highlights the divisions that can be sown on social media, and the risk of users remaining in their “silos” of like-minded thinkers and rejecting those who hold different opinions. Such tendencies can result in exchanges that “can cause misunderstanding, exacerbate division, incite conflict, and deepen prejudices,” the document said.
It warned that such problematic exchanges are particularly worrisome “when it comes from church leadership: bishops, pastors, and prominent lay leaders. These not only cause division in the community but also give permission and legitimacy for others likewise to promote similar type of communication,” the message said.
The message could be directed at the English-speaking Catholic Twittersphere, where some prominent Catholic figures, including bishops, frequently engage in heated debates or polemical arguments that criticize Francis and his teachings.
The prefect of the communications office, Paolo Ruffini, said it wasn’t for him to rein in divisive bishops and it was up to their own discernment. But he said the general message is one of not feeding the trolls or taking on “behavior that divides rather than unites.”
Russia says U.S. Senator should say if Ukraine took his words out of context
MOSCOW, May 29 (Reuters) – Russia on Monday said U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham should say publicly if he believes his words were taken out of context by a Ukrainian state video edit of his comments about the war that provoked widespread condemnation in Moscow.
In an edited video released by the Ukrainian president’s office of Graham’s meeting with Volodymyr Zelenskiy in Kyiv on Friday, Graham was shown saying “the Russians are dying” and then saying U.S. support was the “best money we’ve ever spent”.
After Russia criticised the remarks, Ukraine released a full video of the meeting on Sunday which showed the two remarks were not directly linked.
Russia’s foreign ministry said Western media had sought to shield the senator from criticism and said that Graham should publicly state if he feels his words were taken out of context by the initial Ukrainian video edit.
“If U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham considers his words were taken out of context by the Ukrainian regime and he doesn’t actually think in the way presented then he can make a statement on video with his phone,” Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a video posted on Telegram.
“Only then will we know: does he think the way that was said or was it a performance by the Kyiv regime?”
Graham’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The initial video of Graham’s remarks triggered criticism from across Moscow, including from the Kremlin, Putin’s powerful Security Council and from the foreign ministry.
Graham said he had simply praised the spirit of Ukrainians in resisting a Russian invasion with assistance provided by Washington.
Graham said he had mentioned to Zelenskiy “that Ukraine has adopted the American mantra, ‘Live Free or Die.’ It has been a good investment by the United States to help liberate Ukraine from Russian war criminals.”
Russia’s interior ministry has put Graham on a wanted list after the Investigative Committee said it was opening a criminal probe into his comments. It did not specify what crime he was suspected of.
In response, Graham said: “I will wear the arrest warrant issued by Putin’s corrupt and immoral government as a Badge of Honor.
“…I will continue to stand with and for Ukraine’s freedom until every Russian soldier is expelled from Ukrainian territory.”
A South Carolina Republican known for his hawkish foreign policy views, Graham has been an outspoken champion of increased military support for Ukraine in its battle against Russia.
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
Jamie Sarkonak: Liberals bring identity quotas to Canada Media Fund
In 2021, the Liberals said they would dramatically boost funding for the Canada Media Fund. And they did — but that funding came with diversity quotas and a new emphasis on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
The Canada Media Fund is supposed to oversee a funding pool that supports the creation of Canadian media projects in the areas of drama, kids’ programming, documentaries and even video games. According to its most recent annual report, about half its revenue ($184 million) comes from the federal government through the Department of Canadian Heritage (another near-half comes from broadcasting companies through the country’s broadcasting regulator, the CRTC). The department also has the power to appoint two of the fund’s board members.
The Canada Media Fund is doing a lot more than broadly funding content creation, though. With more federal funding brought in after the past election, it is now responsible for greenlighting projects to meet identity quotas set out by the Liberals.
According to the Canada Media Fund’s contract with Canadian Heritage, which has been obtained by the National Post through a previously-completed access to information request, the number of projects funded with government-sourced dollars and led by “people of equity-deserving groups” will have to amount to 45 by 2024. The number of “realized projects” for people of these groups must amount to 25 by 2024. Finally, by 2024, a quarter of funded “key creative positions” must be held by people from designated diversity groups.
These funding quotas are similar to the CBC’s new diversity requirements for budgeting. When the CBC’s broadcasting licence was renewed by the CRTC last year, it was required to dedicate 30 per cent of its independent content production budget to diverse groups, which will rise to 35 per cent in 2026. While the CRTC is arm’s-length from government, a Liberal-appointed CRTC commissioner appeared eager to impose quotas that were on par with the governing party’s agenda on diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI).
The government’s agreement with the Canada Media Fund also sets aside $20 million of the new money explicitly for people considered diverse enough to check a box — anyone from “sovereignty-seeking” and “equity-seeking” groups.
“’Sovereignty- and Equity-Seeking Community’ refers to the individuals who identify as women, First Nations, Métis, Inuit, Racialized, 2SLGBTQ+, Persons with disabilities/Disabled Persons, Regional, and Official Language Minority Community,” reads the Canada Media Fund’s explainer on who gets diversity status.
Aside from getting mandatory coverage through the use of quotas, the groups listed above are shielded with “narrative positioning” policies that took effect this year. If the main character, key storyline, or subject matter has anything to do with the above groups, creators must either be from that group or take “comprehensive measures that have and will be undertaken to create the content responsibly, thoughtfully and without harm.” These can include consultations, sharing of ownership rights, and hiring policies from the community. While narrative requirements weren’t mandated by the Liberals in their grant to the fund, they complement the overall DEI strategy.
Storytellers vying for certain grants have to sign an attestation form agreeing with the narrative policy and write a compliance plan if their works have anything to do with the above groups. Plainly, it’s a force of narrative control.
This doesn’t go both ways; women can make documentaries about men consult-free, non-white people can make TV dramas about white people consult-free, and so on.
Statistically, diversity is being tracked on a internal system that logs the identities of key staff and leadership on every Canada Media Fund project. The diversity repository was rolled out this year. Internal documents indicate these stats will be used to monitor program progress and adjust policy going forward.
These changes are all directly linked to a Liberal platform point on media modernization. In the 2021 Liberal platform, the party committed to doubling the government’s contribution to the fund. Since then, the Liberal platform has been cited directly in internal documents outlining the Canada Media Fund’s three-year growth strategy (which explains how the new money will be used, in part, to ramp up DEI efforts).
Together, it looks like both the fund, and the party responsible for doubling its taxpayer support are more concerned about the identities of filmmakers and TV producers than the actual media being produced.
Creators should be able to tell stories about others without the narrative department’s oversight — the more narrative control, the more it starts to sound like propaganda. Good creators wanting to tell an authentic story should conduct research and be respectful of the people they cover — but they shouldn’t be bound to consultations and ownership agreements.
Uganda’s president signs into law anti-gay legislation with death penalty in some cases
Alberta votes in the strangest — and closest — election in its political history
Alberta voters await election results as polls close across province
Silver investment demand jumped 12% in 2019
Iran anticipates renewed protests amid social media shutdown
Search for life on Mars accelerates as new bodies of water found below planet’s surface
Economy20 hours ago
Lira hits record low, but stocks rise after Erdogan win in Turkey
News19 hours ago
The Hidden Struggles: Uncovering the Reality of Being Black in Canada
Business19 hours ago
Halifax condo residents face obstacles trying to go green with solar panels
Media24 hours ago
Ely: How social media influenced aftermath of crash deaths
Media17 hours ago
Russia says U.S. Senator should say if Ukraine took his words out of context
Health18 hours ago
B.C. initiative aims to expand genetic screening for Ashkenazi Jewish people at risk of hereditary cancers
Health21 hours ago
Coming to Terms with My Baby’s Food Allergies
News16 hours ago
More Canadian companies adopt ‘stay interviews’ amid push to retain staff