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Newsmax's Big Tucker Carlson Flip-Flop

Newsmax repeatedly attacked Tucker Carlson for his pro-Putin attitudes after Russia invaded Ukraine. Then Fox News fired Carlson -- and suddenly he became a victim worth promoting (plus, there's the chance he might work for Newsmax someday).

By Terry Krepel
Posted 8/1/2023

Tucker Carlson

After Russia invaded Ukraine last year, Newsmax repeatedly called out Fox News for not being as pro-Ukraine as it should have been -- and, in particular, host Tucker Carlson's pro-Putin attitudes. That criticism largely faded away in recent months; a Feb. 27 column by Allan Ryskind criticized Carlson's stance on Russia and Ukraine, though he framed it around praise for him:
Where would conservatives be without Tucker Carlson?

Though clearly a man of the right, he takes on conventional political wisdom espoused by all sides. He's pro-family, pro-marriage, pro-God, a deadly enemy of the cultural left.

Every week he takes on the Leviathan, causing federal bureaucrats to quake. And he's outspoken against those who seem eager to involve us in useless foreign wars. It's hard to think of a crusade Tucker pursues that most conservatives don't endorse, or, at the very least, take seriously.

Still, many of his loyal fans aren't happy with how he has dealt with the Ukrainian issue. His opposition to sending American troops to "save Ukraine" is what the overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens believe. (And Ukraine's leaders assure us aren't needed.)

But Tucker frequently teams up with Fox News contributor Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii's Democrat former House member, to verbally abuse any and all who think military or economic aid should be given to the Ukrainian resistance.


Tucker is surely right to fear that the U.S. may be involved in a war with Putin and Xi no matter what we do to confront them. But he has to ask himself this question honestly: Can any credible historian point to a single time in history that any nation that dismantled its military arsenal and abandoned its military alliances while two of its most deadly, brutal, and expansionary foes were on the march?

A March 8 article did note a text from Carlson released as part of the Dominion lawsuit stating that he "passionately" hated Donald Trump. The tide continued to turn, however, in a March 13 column by Deroy Murdock, who gushed that "My Fox News colleague Tucker Carlson last week refuted multiple lies that Democrats and their dinosaur-media bodyguards have trafficked since Jan. 6, 2021." That praise ignored the fact that the footage Carlson aired to manufacture that narrative was cherry-picked and misleading.

But when Carlson was fired from Fox News last month, Newsmax wanted you to forget it had ever criticized him at all. After an initial wire story on his departure as well as an unusually balanced article on the departure by Eric Mack, Newsmax took a two-prong approach: bashing Fox News for dumping their highest-rated host (with an eye toward luring those viewers away from Fox to Newsmax's TV operation) and touting what a great guy Carlson is (with an eye toward luring Carlson as a host). The boss himself set the tone in an April 24 article:

Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax issued the following statement following Tucker Carlson's departure from Fox News:

"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 CEO Christopher Ruddy said. "Millions of viewers who liked the old Fox News have made the switch to Newsmax and Tucker's departure will only fuel that trend."

In-house pundit Dick Morris went there even more the same day:

Political author Dick Morris on Monday said that with Tucker Carlson out at Fox News, Newsmax is now the number one network for conservatives.

Speaking on Carlson's departure, Morris says, "The obvious fact is that Newsmax has won — has won."

"Newsmax is now the sole conservative voice in media," Morris told "American Agenda" during his appearance. "And Fox News can talk about that, but by firing Carlson, they have decidedly moved to the left and to the center."


"The other big win here," Morris says of Carlson's departure, "is Donald Trump because Newsmax covers all of Trump's rallies. Fox News did not cover any of them because [News Corp Owner Rupert] Murdoch hates Trump. Because when Trump was President and Murdoch was the media boss, Trump didn't let him run the country — didn't let him call the shots."

Numerous articles over the next couple days served up some combination of those two talking points:

And because Newsmax is effectively the Trump News Network, Donald Trump was allowed to comment too in an article by Mack:

The ouster of Tucker Carlson at Fox News has left former President Donald Trump "shocked," but perhaps the libertarian just needs "free rein," Trump told Newsmax on Monday.

"Well, I'm shocked, I'm surprised," Trump told "Greg Kelly Reports" in an exclusive interview just hours after the news broke. "He's a very good person, a very good man, very talented, as you know, and he had very high ratings."

Mack surprisingly noted that Carlson had bashed Trump as released in the Dominion lawsuit filings:

Trump told Kelly he had seen Carlson come around after some reports of a distaste for the former president.

"But I think Tucker's been terrific; he's been, especially over the last year or so, he's been terrific to me," Trump said.

"Maybe he left because he wants to be given his free rein. He wants free rein maybe, but I was surprised by it."

In several messages revealed in the lawsuit, Carlson suggested he had distaste for Trump at the time, but feared the network was losing viewers among the former president's fans, particularly to Newsmax.

Newsmax very much knows on which side its extremist bread is buttered, and it isn't afraid to cater to those viewers.

Meanwhile, reports surfaced that Newsmax was, in fact, wooing Carlson -- so aggressively, in fact, that it was reportedly offering to give him not only his own show but also control over Newsmax's entire programming schedule. That explains Newsmax's coverage decisions on Carlson.

In the following days, Newsmax continued to suck up to him and bash Fox News:

An April 26 article by Sandy Fitzgerald noted that Rupert Murdoch's empire used "their wholly owned television news outlet in Australia" to forward the idea that Carlson was "sacked essentially for thinking that he was bigger than Fox News," and another article cited Carlson's "combativeness toward Fox executives and other colleagues" as a reason he was fired. But it also touted Donald Trump claiming that Carlson's firing "is going to have a big impact and a very negative impact on Fox."

Newsmax also tried to exploit the situation for explicitly for its own gain. Brian Truesdell touted an endorsement of sorts in an April 28 article:

Former Fox News Channel show host Megyn Kelly told her podcast audience on Thursday that FNC's decision to fire prime time anchor Tucker Carlson is driving its viewers to Newsmax.

The statement during her Thursday program, "The Megyn Kelly Show," came in a conversation with Melissa Francis, another a former Fox News and Fox Business anchor and host who left News Corp.


As Kelly noted, Newsmax, conversely, has seen its average audience at 8 p.m. with "Eric Bolling The Balance" soar by 261% to an average 534,000 viewers.

Nielsen data indicates that Newsmax was drawing 57% of Fox's audience on a proportional basis Wednesday at 8 p.m.

An unbylined April 28 article (credited only to "Newsmax Wires") served up more ratings hype, while repeating the Newsmax bump from the Megyn Kelly story:

After Tucker Carlson's firing from Fox News this past Monday, the network has witnessed a collapse in ratings — especially in its 8 p.m. ET prime-time slot.

For years Tucker Carlson owned this prime time for Fox, drawing an average 3.2 million viewers a night.

Not anymore.

This week, Fox News Channel saw its audience during the Carlson hour plummet, with 2.6 million tuning in Monday to watch.

Things got even worse for Fox on Tuesday, with 1.7 million viewers tuning in.

But Wednesday, Fox saw a catastrophic drop to just 1.3 million viewers — a 59% drop from Carlson's average rating.

Neither article disclosed Newsmax's efforts in trying to woo Carlson.

An April 29 article featured podcaster Joe Rogan speculating over whether there is a non-compete clause in Carlson's contract with Fox News, and a May 1 article noted the first temporary replacement in Carlson's old time slot, while also quoting Richard Grenell, a right-wing talking head who is also Newsmax's "VP for International Development," stating that "he has been pitching Carlson to join Newsmax as the ratings show Carlson's viewers are coming to this network." Jeffrey Rodack, meanwhile, seemed a bit annoyed in a May 2 article:

Representatives of Dominion Voting Systems appear to be taking some of the credit for the recent ouster of Tucker Carlson at Fox News.

Carlson was fired after Fox News agreed to a settlement with Dominion for $787.5 million last month.


"Dominion did not insist on them [Fox News] firing Tucker Carlson as part of the settlement," said Dominion lawyer Stephen Shackelford in an interview posted by Axios Monday.

"But the very fact that that's what resulted out of all of this, and it's traceable from the work that Dominion and Staple Street set in motion ... of course, I know what's in the redacted stuff, and I can't say anything about it. I hope that it all gets un-redacted at some point."

Rodack did note that "Newsmax and several other parties are also being sued by Dominion for its reporting on the 2020 election." But he also had to update his article with a more direct quote from Dominion: "According to Claire Bischoff, a Dominion spokeswoman who contacted Newsmax: 'Your story is flatly incorrect. Dominion has been on the record clearly stating that canceling Carlson's show was not part of the settlement agreement.'"

Eric Mack went into full Tucker defense mode in an article the same day:

She could not have been more blunt about it.

Megyn Kelly is warning Tucker Carlson that Fox News' head of public relations is running "an orchestrated hit job" to smear him.

Kelly, a former Fox host, took to her podcast and said Fox's PR department is working overtime to stop Carlson's future employment and keep his 3.5 million viewers from following him to a new network.

"This is all an orchestrated hit job, in my opinion, and it's not a subtle one," Kelly claimed on Monday night's "The Megyn Kelly Show."


Carlson has already been hit with a barrage of leaks to tarnish his image, including a report in Fox's sister company newspaper The Wall Street Journal claiming he was abusive and used crude language with his colleagues.

Another leak included a studio video of Carlson badmouthing Fox Nation, blasting the company for making them work "like animals" for an online product that "nobody watches" because the "site sucks."

Kelly said she believes the leak of the video somewhat critical of their own network's offering is clever, since it signals to future employers, including its fiercest rival Newsmax: "So, you see: He's a hassle; he's a difficult employee; he's not a team player; he rips on you from the inside."

Nearly two weeks after Carlson's firing -- May 3-5 -- Newsmax was still cranking out the Tucker-fretting:

And because Newsmax is not above trying to cash in on this situation, it issued an "urgent letter" from right-winger David Horowitz designed to promote his Newsmax-published book:

Dear American:

I have long admired Tucker Carlson.

I have been on his show many times and he has even endorsed my books.

He is a man of honesty and courage.

We saw that in his new powerful video exposing the lies the left is promulgating upon America.

His firing by Fox News is not a cause but a symptom of the dangerous culture we live in.

If you tell the truth — you are destroyed.

If you lie — you’re rewarded and promoted!

Tucker’s video message sounded like my new book “Final Battle The Next Election Could Be the Last.”

Newsmax previously hyped Donald Trump's name-dropping of the book's title to promote Horowitz's book (while not disclosing it published the book).

There was even more fretting on May 8 and 9:

Then it was time to gush over an announcement from Carlson, as demonstrated in a May 9 article by Luca Cacciatore:

Tucker Carlson announced Tuesday that he is making his next move through Twitter as his lawyers accused Fox News of fraud and breach of contract in a separate letter.

Carlson first revealed in a nearly three-minute video that he would be taking his talk show and other future projects to the social media platform after lambasting mainstream media's stranglehold over the public square.
This was followed by a article the following day touting that Carlson's video "generated more than 106 million views in less than 24 hours (in fact, Twitter's "tweet view" counter is so broad that it counts merely scrolling past a tweet as a "view," making it utterly unreliable as a viewing metric), as well as another article noting that Elon Musk has said there is no deal between Twitter and Carlson. One more article noted that Musk invited Don Lemon -- who was fired from CNN the same day that Carlson was fired-- to "resuscitate his career with a show on Twitter."

A May 11 article by Solange Reyner complained that Carlson was accurately labeled:

CNN on Tuesday labeled former Fox News host Tucker Carlson a "right-wing extremist" in a Twitter post related to his new platform.

"Right-wing extremist Tucker Carlson will relaunch his program on Twitter, a platform he praised as the only remaining large free-speech platform in the world after Fox News fired him late last month," CNN wrote.

CNN also called Carlson a "right-wing extremist" in its story about his announcement.

Reyner didn't dispute the accuracy of the label. This was followed by even more Tucker-defending over the next several days:

Newsmax also continued to be enamored by Kelly's attacks on her former employer (which make her sound a tad disgruntled) and aggressive defense of Carlson. A May 20 article hyped a Kelly interview in which right-wing radio host Dan Bongino declaring that Fox News made "an enormous catastrophic mistake" by firing Carlson with Kelly adding, "They've gotten too big for their own britches. ... They're on the way down. They're not on the way up anymore in terms of audience share and popularity, and they no longer have a monopoly." Kelly appeared on Newsmax to cheer him and bash Fox News some more, as summarized in a May 24 article -- a full month after Carlson was fired:

Journalist and commentator Megyn Kelly told Newsmax that her old network Fox News is "terrified" of its viewer loss in the aftermath of booting Tucker Carlson off the air.

Joining "Eric Bolling The Balance" on Tuesday, Kelly said there was no end in sight to Fox News' audience hemorrhaging as more and more Americans tune into alternative networks like Newsmax every day.

"They're terrified. They don't know what to do," Kelly stated. "There was a day when they didn't view digital as a threat, as a competitor. That day is gone. Fox won't let any single personality come on my show ... because they understand that we're a threat."

"Fox is not the monopoly it used to be," she continued. "I don't have to tell you that, given the ratings surge that you're enjoying at the moment, and well deserved. So, they can't let him go because he's a threat to them."

Given all this promotion of Kelly, though, she may be more likely to end up with a Newsmax show than Carlson.

That coverage continued well into June and July:

Also, it wouldn't be Newsmax if it wasn't still trying to profit off Carlson's firing. It issued an "urgent poll" for readers to weigh in on the issue that included questions like "What is your view of Fox News?" and "Should Tucker Carlson join Newsmax as a prime-time host?" It has also created a promotion around an upcoming Tucker bio in order to sell subscriptions to Newsmax magazine:

He was the most powerful conservative voice in America.

And then, in a moment, he was gone.

At least from his perch at Fox News.

Now bestselling author Chadwick Moore reveals what really happened to Tucker Carlson in his new book, TUCKER — set to be released on August 1.

Tucker Carlson has endorsed TUCKER — and Newsmax will be among the first to have copies — check out the FREE Offer Here Now.


Your FREE copy of TUCKER comes with a one year introductory subscription to Newsmax Magazine (with both print and digital editions) for only $19.95 — a savings of $30 at a regular rate.

Even more surprising than a promotion for a book about a man who long so long ago it was trashing for taking Russia's side in its invasion of Ukraine is that Newsmax isn't even publishing the book; promotions like this typically involve books published by its book division, Humanix.

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