Weeks before Tucker Carlson was fired from Fox News, Fox Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch spoke privately with one of Carlson’s favorite on-air targets, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, according to a new report. The report Sunday from Semafor did not suggest Carlson was fired by Fox News for opposing U.S. involvement in Ukraine’s war with Russia, something he had done for more than a year. However, it adds to a series of reports indicating that everything from the way Carlson spoke about religion to private messages revealed during discovery in a lawsuit collectively put distance between the lords of Fox and Carlson. The report said Zelenskyy’s conversation with Murdoch this spring came along with one with his son, Lachlan Murdoch, who directly oversees Fox News, on March 15. Semafor reported that although Ukrainian officials had made their concerns about Carlson’s opposition to U.S. aid for Ukraine clear to Fox executives, “Zelenskyy did not raise it on the calls with the Murdochs, according to one person familiar with the details of the calls.”
The April 24 dismissal of the “Tucker Carlson Tonight” host is expected to make life easier for pro-Ukraine Republicans, the report said. “Clearly, he spooked a lot of members into not being fully supportive of Ukraine,” a senior Republican congressional aide told Semafor, adding that firing Carlson “probably reduces the loudest voice out there against U.S. support.” A report Wednesday in The Washington Post also said Rupert Murdoch disliked Carlson’s stance on U.S. involvement in Ukraine. The report, citing a source it did not name, said that in March, Murdoch joined in a Fox newsroom meeting to oppose Carlson’s position. When the two men met for dinner in mid-April, the Post said, Murdoch “was disturbed by Carlson’s stance on Ukraine.” SkyNews Australia host Andrew Bolt suggested last week that some of Carlson’s Ukraine allegations may have pushed Murdoch’s buttons once too often. Carlson, Holt said, was “pushing dangerous and plainly false conspiracy theories” that claimed Ukraine was “hopelessly corrupt and the Biden team as liars for supporting it.” “Many of his viewers would have taken that to imply that the U.S. is helping Ukraine with biological, secret biological, weapons research, even nuclear weapons. … That is crap, but it’s dangerous crap,” he said. Bolt added an overarching conclusion. “The message is now out: If you threaten your station or your newspaper by going a bit nuts, you know, saying all sorts of wild things that maybe you know are false or maybe you haven’t even bothered to check enough, it doesn’t matter how big you are, you are never bigger than the media organization that actually made you,” he said. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
For last night’s @semafor media newsletter, I wrote about recent private calls between the Murdochs and Zelensky, and why Republican supporters of Ukraine are pleased that the Murdochs fired Tucker https://t.co/sNHw3BybFC— Max Tani (@maxwelltani) May 1, 2023