Monday, May 20, 2024

We Now Know Tucker Carlson’s Next Move: Twitter

There was a great deal of speculation following Tucker Carlson’s ouster from Fox News as to where he’d land. Many thought he would listen to offers from other cable news networks, and both OAN and Newsmax made overtures, as did the upstart Valuetainment. Others expected he would start his own platform, or perhaps expand the Daily Caller, the independent conservative website he helped found, into such an entity. Glenn Beck did something similar with The Blaze, and Ben Shapiro has similarly built The Daily Wire into such a company.

For now, though, Carlson is doing something few saw coming, and Tuesday night he announced it…

It’s a little on the cryptic side, but there’s enough meat on those bones for a nice meal.

First of all, Carlson declared independence from legacy corporate media, and there’s no going back. He signaled in no uncertain terms that he’s going to be taking mainstream media to task for the deceit and corruption it practices daily, something which is very likely to start a war leaving dead bodies all over the landscape.

Which is a fine thing, and long overdue.

Second, Carlson said his new home is Twitter. So that led lots of people to speculate that Carlson and Elon Musk were going into cahoots in some manner. But Musk immediately said no, that’s not what this is at all…

What an interesting quote:

On this platform, unlike the one-way street of broadcast, people are able to interact, critique and refute whatever is said. And, of course, anything misleading will get @CommunityNotes.

I also want to be clear that we have not signed a deal of any kind whatsoever. Tucker is subject to the same rules & rewards of all content creators.

Rewards means subscriptions and advertising revenue share (coming soon), which is a function of how many people subscribe and the advertising views associated with the content.

I hope that many others, particularly from the left, also choose to be content creators on this platform.

Musk is signaling that Twitter’s future will be as a place for content creators to ply their trade and earn revenue directly from subscriptions to their “channel” or profile, and by sharing in ad revenue.

And this could very well generate the kind of monetization which would make Carlson’s new venue more remunerative than his Fox News deal was.

By the way, Carlson has spent a couple of weeks watching his old employer leak video clips and text messages to Media Matters and the New York Times in a pathetic attempt to damage him, and he’s now begun to push back

Tucker Carlson, two weeks after being ousted by Fox News, accused the network Tuesday of fraud and breach of contract — and made a host of document demands that could precede legal action.

Why it matters: The aggressive letter from his lawyers to Fox positions Carlson to argue that the noncompete provision in his contract is no longer valid — freeing him to launch his own competing show or media enterprise.

And here’s something else…

So the non-compete is out, and any damages Fox could claim for violation of the contract would seem to be as well.

As Ace of Spades noted

I don’t know if this will breach his contract. Tucker has always had the right to post on social media as he chooses. He’ll just be posting a bit more on social media than he used to.

Fox may have a contract for his exclusive television rights but they don’t own his rights to just speak generally.

I don’t think there’ll be money involved. Because taking money would almost certainly breach Tucker’s contract. Then Fox could sue him and attempt to get a court to force him to stay off the air.

Rather, I think Tucker will be doing this show for free. At least for now.


To put pressure on Fox. To let them know he’ll compete against them, even if he’s not getting paid any money to do it. To let them know that this isn’t 2003 any more — keeping someone off of television doesn’t keep them from speaking and mounting a show to compete with you.

So they might as well free him from his contract.

That’s just it, though – Carlson didn’t do a deal with Twitter, and he’s monetizing this iteration of his show based on Musk’s new plan for that platform.

The guess here is that his contract wouldn’t cover him posting items on social media platforms which pay him only on a pass-through revenue basis. So now it’ll be Carlson suing Fox for breach of contract rather than the opposite, all the while paying them back for these leaks to Media Matters by having a parade of former Fox employees coming on his show and dishing dirt on Fox News as part of an ongoing exposure of the entire cable news industry for its corruption and dishonesty.

This, frankly, is apocalyptic stuff for not just cable news but corporate media as a whole. And for it to be housed at Twitter, owned by the richest man in the world (or at least he used to be before buying the platform, and he likely will be again if he isn’t currently), means Carlson cannot be canceled.

So whatever damage he does will be ongoing. The bleeding can’t be stopped.

For Musk, this heralds the possibility of having Twitter be the central focus point of all media.

Following his clarification of what Carlson is doing, there were some very interesting comments.

The expectation is this will move very fast and it will likely drive some large-scale upgrades in how Twitter delivers and stores video content, because the rather linear nature of a Twitter feed doesn’t really lend itself well to the evolution into essentially a streaming platform – which is what a content creation and monetization regime would require.

Obviously, Carlson can summon up a massive audience by popping out a Twitter video here and there. He’s proven that. But as the Twitter Files releases showed, the production of regular content, such as a series of investigative reports or a streaming TV show, can make for a bit of a messy delivery.

Clearly Musk has something in mind to accommodate Carlson and other creators like him. It’s going to be quite interesting to see what that looks like.