Collage image capturing CNN’s Don Lemon and Fox News’ Tucker Carlson. News broke on April 24, 2023, within hours of each other that both media figures had been let go by their respective employers.InternationalIndiaAfricaJames TweedieUS Conservatives and Liberals alike were shocked by Monday’s news that Tucker Carlson and Don Lemon hade been sacked by Fox News and CNN. Veteran journalist and news anchor Rick Sanchez and Scott Stantis, editorial cartoonist for The Chicago Tribune, said digital media had created a space for journalists to go independent.The firings of two top US media pundits from opposite ends of the political spectrum could make them independent media stars, journalists say.Monday saw Fox News announce that it was “parting ways” with its firebrand current affairs host Tucker Carlson, while CNN announced the sacking of its prime-time anchor Don Lemon after 17 years.Australian media mogul Rupert Murdoch, whose News Corp. owns Fox, is reported to have personally ordered Carlson’s dismissal. Meanwhile, former president Donald Trump celebrated Lemon leaving CNN.Journalist Rich Sanchez and political cartoonist Scott Stantis gave Sputnik their views on the Monday media massacre. “I the only one who wasn’t stunned by this?” Stantis asked of Carlson’s sacking. “Rupert Murdoch has done this before with his top rated show with Bill O’Reilly” — the host accused by female staff of sexual misconduct. “It’s a ballsy move. I mean, I kind of I kind of admire it,” he added.Sanchez said he believed Carlson’s exit was linked to Fox’s out-of-court defamation settlement of almost $800 million to the Dominion Voting Systems over allegations by Carlson and four other presenters that its machines could have been used for ballot-rigging in the 2020 presidential election. Carlson wrote an email admitting that the claims were unfounded, Sanchez said, which creates “material issues in further cases that are going to come forward against Fox News.””The other part is, Tucker, unlike [Sean] Hannity, has always been his own man. Maybe it’s because he’s an heir to the Swanson fortune and doesn’t have to take crap from anybody. So because of that. Tucker, for the last several years has been pushing back on management and pushing back on the Murdochs.”Asked whether Carson’s sacking was part of the settlement with Dominion, Stantis said he wouldn’t be surprised if there was a “gentlemen’s agreement, a handshake in the back room saying, yeah, you got to get rid of this guy.”AnalysisCarlson Ouster Marks Fox News’ Transition Into ‘Graveyard of Conservative Media Titans’02:37 GMTBut he stressed that Lemon’s departure from CNN came during a “major contraction” in the media business “across the spectrum””BuzzFeed shuts down its newsroom. You’re talking about tech companies that are cutting 7000, 10,000, 15,000 jobs,” the cartoonist said. “ESPN just announced today or yesterday that they’re cutting 7000 jobs.””Don Lemon, clearly, he had outlived his welcome at CNN,” Stantis added “And rather than being, you know, a team player, he decided not to take take his ball and go home. Well, unfortunately, CNN owned the ball as well.”Sanchez pointed to a recent article in showbiz magazine Variety that detailed Lemon’s “diva-like behaviour” at CNN and misogyny towards fellow staff and figures such as former US ambassador to the UN Nikki Hayley.”Obviously that’s the reason they fired him,” the RT host said, pointing out that the network had earlier stated its willingness to resolve differences with Lemon.”That Variety article comes out and it says how he treated Kyra Phillips, his misogyny and anger issues, all of that stuff in that article,” Sanchez said. “And then yesterday, he kind of proves the article, right, by getting really angry and firing off.”AnalysisTucker Carlson Could No Longer Be Tolerated by Corrupt US Media, Political Elite11:08 GMTBoth media figures are likely to do well despite losing their high-paid TV gigs, the commentators said.Lemon is “going to land on his feet” Stantis said, whether at another national network like MSNBC or on local news, while “Tucker Carlson could follow the Scott Adams model” — referring to the Dilbert cartoonist whose strip was dropped by newspapers after he tweeted allegedly racist comments.”He also had a place for his followers to land and to his website and to his product there. And that means Scott Adams is going to make tens of millions of dollars,” he said, noting that Carlson is at least a part-owner of alternative media website The Daily Caller.”I love the fact that Tucker would question things that the national media would never question. And they all fall in line and they work like little lapdogs, the Pentagon and the State Department,” Sanchez summed up. “Tucker was one of the few guys to question that. At the same time, half of his act was always trying to get angry white old dudes who live in America to continue to hate black people, Asian people, women and Latinos.”For more cutiing-edge commentary, follow our Sputnik Radio show The Final Countdown.
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