Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson and former President Donald Trump are facing inflection points in their careers as conservative thought leaders.
- On Tuesday, Tucker Carlson released the newest episode of Tucker On Twitter, a two-hour interview with controversial social media influencer Andrew Tate.
- Blaze Media also announced that Carlson will be hosting a YouTube forum livestream with presidential candidates Ron DeSantis, Mike Pence, Tim Scott, Nikki Haley, Asa Hutchinson, and Vivek Ramaswamy—with the notable emission of President Trump due to a scheduling conflict.
- The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that Carlson and former White House adviser Neil Patel are working to raise funds for a new media company.
- Speaking with The Hill on Tuesday, senior Trump advisor Jason Miller went as far as to claim that Trump is unlikely to participate in the first two formal presidential debates, claiming that there is no point in debating opponents with single-digit support.
- Late Monday evening, Trump’s lawyers filed a request for a delay in his federal trial regarding his handling of classified documents, arguing that the trial would interfere with the election cycle.
- On Wednesday, the Department of Justice reversed its decision to give Trump immunity in the civil lawsuit regarding sexual assault claims made against him by E. Jean Carroll, which could move the trial forward in January.
Why It’s Important
There is a great deal to be said about this week in the lives of Tucker Carlson and Donald Trump, particularly in regard to their individual career directions and the future of the conservative movement in America.
Tucker On Twitter is notable as it marks a major attempt by the former Fox News star to move on from his highly successful nightly news broadcast. The majority of Tucker on Twitter episodes have ranged between 2 million to 30 million views each, falling well below the 120 million views the opening episode drew.
However, journalists Matt Binder and Matthew Gertz have contested these numbers, noting that the number shrinks when you calculate the number of viewers who watched for over two seconds. They’ve claimed Carlson’s numbers collapse from 26.7 million to 3.8 million views between episodes one and eight, which they call “collapsing” viewership. However, this is still comparable to his nightly numbers on Fox News, with an average prime-time audience of 2.5 million viewers.
Carlson’s newest episode is a notable update in raw viewership numbers, earning 57 million views. Tate, who currently faces charges of rape and human trafficking in Romania, gave the lengthy interview with Carlson, addressing the charges against him, his life under house arrest, and social issues surrounding men’s issues, immigration, and the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Fox News has suffered tremendously from firing Carlson in April, with viewership radically declining in the months since. On Monday, Wells Fargo downgraded Fox Corporation’s stock from “Equal-Weight” to “Underweight” due to “ecosystem risks” surrounding the network, its ratings, and multiple ongoing lawsuits. It has declined from 52% of cable news primetime viewership in 2020 to 38% in the past few months.
Additionally, the network is facing several new lawsuits. Following the humiliating Dominion out-of-court settlement for $787 million, Fox News is now facing a potential defamation lawsuit from Ray Ebbs, the individual whom Tucker Carlson repeatedly accused of being a government agent and facilitating riots at the January 6 Capital riot. Fox is also facing an additional lawsuit from voting systems company Smartmatic.
Regarding Trump’s news, it remains to be seen how the accumulating controversies surrounding the former president are going to affect his campaign. The most recent FiveThirtyEight polls show Trump with a significant lead (49.4%), followed distantly by DeSantis (21.2%) and Mike Pence (7.3%), which momentarily positions him as the likely primary winner.
Trump still remains the runaway popular candidate for the Republican ticket in the 2024 presidential election, although it is still too early to call the first primaries in his favor. Many outlets are reporting that DeSantis’s presidential campaign has already flamed out, although he remains in a strong second place above the majority of other candidates.
The numerous accumulating civil and criminal charges against him raise questions about how it will affect the primaries. They have boosted his popularity within the Republican Party, but it could interfere with the election for him to face Carroll’s civil lawsuit in January, followed by a criminal lawsuit in August, three months before election day.
On Wednesday, Trump blasted the Department of Justice on his Truth Social account for its decision to remove immunity on the civil suit, declaring the action a “witch hunt” financed by a “Clinton appointee.” A jury in May previously awarded Carroll $5 million in damages for a separate lawsuit.
In any case, both Carlson and Trump remain at the heights of modern conservative leadership and continue to command the microphone for the overall direction of the company. Both continue to use it to promote controversial ideas and people in the spotlight like Andrew Tate. It is unclear if Tucker On Twitter will continue to maintain a consistent presence and viewership or if President Trump will be able to deflect repeated lawsuits and negative press long enough to remain in the primaries.