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The Fox News host Greg Gutfeld left his audience in silence and his panel guests a little stunned after he implied his own network’s firing of Tucker Carlson was an example of caving to pressure from advertisers.
The late-night host began a segment during Friday night’s airing of his show by praising Elon Musk as quite possibly the only man with the spine to stand up to corporate censorship efforts.
Musk boldly slammed advertisers for pulling their money from his X social media platform, telling them to, “Go f*** yourself!”
Gutfeld then played a clip of Musk’s declaration before offering praise followed by apparent criticism of Fox News.
“The fact is, Musk may be the last man standing between real freedom of speech and the suffocating block of this censorship industrial complex, which is made up of government, media, and tech forces,” Gutfeld said. “He realizes that advertisers have no spine and can be easily cowed by special interest groups in cahoots with political allies.”
He punctuated the point with: “If you don’t believe me, I’ve got two words for you: Tucker Carlson.”
While many observers suggest Gutfeld very specifically called out Fox News for firing Carlson, it may be a little less than that.
Carlson had some issues with advertiser boycotts that were spurred on by consistent harassment from left-wing operations like Media Matters, the same group that is targeting Musk and X.
On an ironic note, Carlson also famously told Media Matters they could, well, exactly as Musk suggested.
The parallels are there for sure, but the reasons for Carlson’s firing by Fox News have been wide-ranging in speculation, with some suggesting it was due to his pro-Ukraine stance and others suggesting that it was due to the network’s legal troubles following the 2020 election.
Not to mention, advertiser boycotts had been an issue for years. In 2019, Fox vociferously stood up to threats against Carlson.
Gutfeld might very well have simply been speaking about Carlson’s unceasing struggles with advertiser boycotts.
Whatever the specific intent, it’s clear how Gutfeld’s guests took his comments. You could feel the tension after the crowd fell silent.
One of the guests covered their face a bit to stifle laughter.
“Look at that,” Gutfeld said, acknowledging the audience’s cool response.
And the response may not have been chilly due to them disagreeing. They simply may have been in shock that he seemingly called out Fox News … on Fox News.
Reports surfaced earlier that Fox News employees had been “banned” from mentioning Carlson’s name on air.
Author Chadwick Moore even went so far as to suggest Gutfeld was falling in line with the ban on mentioning Carlson.
If that unwritten rule about avoiding any mention of Carlson was real, it’d be interesting to see if the network would do anything in regard to Gutfeld’s comments.
But they might not want to mess with another ratings juggernaut.