Fox execs hide their biggest star Tucker Carlson from annual pitch to advertisers after backlash over Buffalo shooting
There's no bigger star in the cable news pantheon than Tucker Carlson - each week over 3.6 million Americans tune in to see his show, which airs during the coveted 8 p.m. primetime slot.
But when it came time for its parent company, Fox Corporation, to do its annual spring presentation for advertisers who buy media time, there was no sign of crowd pullers Monday, and that could have something to do with this weekend's deadly shooting in Buffalo have to do. New York.
The racist killing spree, which claimed the lives of 10 people, most of whom were black, has drawn attention to Carlson's documented advocacy of the "Great Replacement" - a theory by which immigrants and ethnic minorities gain political power to the detriment of Caucasians .
The theory, which was once a fringe conspiracy embraced by white supremacists, has now become more mainstream and was cited in writing by the alleged Buffalo killer before the incident.
According to Variety, Fox's Monday presentation in Manhattan's Skylight on Vesey "diligently sidestepped" any controversy surrounding cable news operations led by CEO Suzanne Scott during the so-called upfronts.
Upfronts, in which media companies present their upcoming lineup of programming to potential advertisers, have become increasingly important for the company after majority shareholder Rupert Murdoch sold its film studio assets including 20th Century Fox to Disney for $71 billion in March 2019.
TV ads are now a significant revenue driver for the standalone Fox Corporation, contributing over $4.8 billion of nine-month revenue, or 44% of the group's revenue.
The tremendous popularity of Tucker Carlson Tonight has helped Fox News Channel to be the most-watched prime-time US network on all basic cable networks for the sixth straight year.
His ability to shape US political debate was showcased in full in January after Republican Senator Ted Cruz personally asked to appear on Carlson's show to apologize after the latter accused him of being the Democrat helped by calling the Capitol riots a "violent terrorist attack."
With that kind of clout and star power, you'd think he'd be an obvious roadblock when it comes to targeting advertisers looking to capitalize on viewership.
But his image only flickered briefly in the background of an uncredited presentation while the far lesser-known FOX & Friends Weekend co-host Pete Hegseth took to the virtual stage to lure shoppers with the cable news streaming content of the network.
When asked, a Fox News spokesperson referred to previous comments that the network was focusing on "pitching scale" during this pre-campaign because primetime has long been the audience leader, but the network is "now reaching new levels of success in certain parts of the day." . ”
However, the reason Carlson didn't play a part might be because the brand of news he specializes in can deter companies looking to buy media time for their products.
A recent New York Times examination of the 1,150 episodes that aired between November 2016 and the end of 2021 found that over 400 contained rhetoric related to replacement theory, while over 600 related to anti-white prejudice.
The story goes on
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