by Edward Steen, Secretary-General. Vienna, April 26, 2023 updated 28/04/23
Bored with the shenanigans of the British Royal Family? Do you really really care about Harry? Or the difficult Megan, let alone the awful Andrew and where he is being allowed to sit? Or even about his awkward, slightly ridiculous Dad becoming king on May 6? You are not alone.
Overnight the most riveting soap-opera in the world, both on TV (Succession) and in real life (on TV except Fox News), became Rupert Murdoch, 92, and the nearly 1bn € damages he had to cough up to a voting machine company as punishment for Fox relentlessly telling lies about Donald Trump being cheated of victory in 2016 and Fox itself being trapped in a more and more obvious lie about the 2016 election result for fear of losing ratings and advertising to competitors (even more shameless purveyors of profitable right-wing tosh).
It gets better and better as each day passes: ex-president Trump, 76, is by coincidence now back in court in New York accused of raping a columnist (The Donald: “no idea who she is”) in a fancy Manhattan department store dressing-room 20-odd years ago. And then the biggest media story of all, the weekend firing (Rupert again) of Fox News frontman, the thinking man’s pal-of-Putin (and of our own Viktor Mihály Orbán), the political gigolo and near-fascist provocateur Tucker Carlson (53) himself.
After his ejection, Fox’s stock plummeted 500m $ and all sorts of gossip emerged about the awfulness at work of the genial, unpopular media superstar. Plenty more was exposed by studying court depositions which emerged in the Dominion court case: in addition to exposing the misogynist white-supremacist as a foul-mouthed catalyst for dividing America even more, it turned out Carlson also really (really) despised Trump. The London Guardian carefully trawled through all that stuff too. Sample tit-bit from Carlson: “We are very, very close to being able to ignore Trump most nights…I truly can’t wait.”
What next for Mr Tucker? Is there a high-tech solution for the gap he has left in public life? “Who will replace him? USA Today asked in an editorial. “How about an AI angry white guy? Or maybe one full hour of ads for Carlson’s almost-bound-to-happen GOP presidential primary run?” Yes, Carlson, now free, is seriously touted as a possible candidate.
President Biden, 80, last night announced his unsurprising intention to become the oldest US president ever. A rematch against Trump? Or against the more youthful Tucker Carlson? And by the way where is my favourite Manhattan resident, the former Mrs Murdoch, entrepeneur, Harvard graduate, and accomplished troublemaker Wendi Deng (54), in this splendid mayhem? Who better to provide a surprise love-interest for this comic soap-opera? And that flirt Lupert seems to be available again for one last fling.
Despite a distracting, murderous war and other problems, Europe pro tem seems a slighty less ridiculous place at the moment.
- New York Times 28/04/23 Fox Gambled, but Tucker Can Still Take Down the House
- Mother Jones 25/04/23 Tucker Carlson Long Con
- Guardian 24/04/23 Other news from the ether: Buzzfeed in the digital graveyard
- AEJ 23/04/23 Llewellyn King on The anti-European news genius who went too far
- AEJ 20/04/22 Tucker Carlson and freedom’s enemies within