The announced departure of Tucker Carlson from Fox News caught most everyone off guard on Monday morning, and understandably so. Highly rated hosts don’t tend to leave networks very often.
For the first quarter of 2023, “Tucker Carlson Tonight” was the second-most-watched show in Cable News, landing only slightly behind “The Five.” For the month of March, though, his last full month on the network, Carlson enjoyed the most viewers of any other cable news program. He’s regularly been number one for years.
The Fox News statement explaining the parting was simple and succinct:
“We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor,” the network announced.
There’s lots of speculation surrounding the shakeup, from fallout over the Dominion settlement to a list of personal and professional controversies and accusations attached to the popular host. Time will bear out the fact from the fiction.
Carlson’s exit will unsettle his fans, but a larger question is why was Tucker Carlson Tonight and its host able to garner such a large audience night after night, month over month?
Without endorsing or lionizing the California-born pundit, it would seem the host was taking some positions and saying things most other commentators in mainstream media were not.
Whether it was decrying the collapse of the nuclear family, warning about the dangers and consequences of fatherlessness, lamenting the upending of the exclusivity of male and female, or defending the most innocent in the womb, Carlson’s nightly monologues were warmly welcomed by many social conservatives.
“Children with Down Syndrome are not monsters,” he once said, “but uncommonly gentle human beings who can and do led full lives.”
You could almost hear a collective “Amen!” across the country from those committed to championing the dignity of every life.
It’s ironic that in an era when it’s easier than ever for anyone to voice an opinion, that it’s become more dangerous to do so. Speaking up and speaking out comes at a price these days.
Yet, people who are willing to stick their neck out will find true what Dr. Billy Graham observed years ago:
“Courage is contagious,” he said. “When a brave man takes a stand, the spines of others are often stiffened.”
Our country and culture are craving leaders with the courage and guts to say what needs to be said. It shouldn’t be controversial to state biological fact or biblical truth that has been accepted for multi-millennia – but this is where we find ourselves today.
Luke wrote about Paul and Barnabas “speaking boldly for the Lord” in the midst of a divided city (Acts 14:3). They moved on when they learned of plans to stone them – but nevertheless continued to preach and witness.
Today’s pastors are called to be equally bold in helping shepherd their flocks to discern the times and figure out how to respond accordingly. It’s a miss if a Christian is hearing more about the culture from a television pundit than from their pastor. But it’s also the wise believer who filters what he or she hears from pundits through the Word of God.
Christian believers should be drawn and attracted to the truth. As in the early days of the Church recorded by Luke, our city is divided – and the question remains – on what side will each of us stand?
Photo from Getty.