Rupert Murdoch Calls With Zelensky Preceded Tucker Carlson’s Exit
Reporting this week has revealed that Fox Corporation Chair and News Corp Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch had a conversation with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky just weeks before Tucker Carlson’s dismissal from the network. The discussion reportedly centered around the Ukraine War and the anniversary of the deaths of Fox News journalists in Ukraine last March.
Zelensky allegedly had a similar call with Lachlan Murdoch, Executive Chair and CEO of Fox Corporation, on March 15. Both conversations occurred mere weeks before the firing of Tucker Carlson, Fox News’ most vocal critic of the allocation of billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars that have been directed to support Ukraine.
Despite senior Ukrainian officials expressing their disapproval of Carlson’s coverage to Fox executives, Zelensky reportedly did not bring up the issue during his calls with the Murdochs. However, the Washington Post mentioned that Rupert Murdoch was troubled by Carlson’s position on Ukraine, particularly when a graphic on Carlson’s show referred to Zelensky as a “Ukrainian pimp.”
Following Carlson’s exit, “more moderate pro-Ukraine members of the Republican caucus” and establishment party members such as Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) and House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) have expressed relief. A senior Republican congressional aide told Semafor that Carlson had “spooked a lot of members into not being fully supportive of Ukraine” and that his departure likely reduces the loudest opposing voice.
It is worth noting that during a segment last year, Carlson claimed that McCaul had privately labeled his show as “Russian disinformation.” Carlson criticized McCaul’s comments, describing the congressman as having a “low IQ.” This exchange highlights the tension between the pro-Ukraine Republicans and politicians and commentators critical of U.S. support for Ukraine, like Carlson.
The exact reason for Carlson’s firing remains unclear. There is no concrete evidence that his views on Zelensky influenced the decision. However, his departure undeniably eases pressure on key Capitol Hill Ukraine supporters who Carlson previously scrutinized.
While the populist America First Republican right continues to express skepticism regarding the war effort, none of Fox News’ top figures appear to share Carlson’s fervor. With his departure, the debate over U.S. support for Ukraine is less a debate and more a lecture from a forceful coalition of Democrats and Republicans in Congress who are enthusiastically supported by President Joe Biden and his administration.
The recent revelation of the Murdochs’ conversations with Ukrainian President Zelensky has sparked discussions around Tucker Carlson’s termination and the future of the Republican party’s stance on the war in Ukraine. As the dust settles, it will be interesting to observe how the conservative media landscape adapts to the absence, at least for now, of Carlson on the national media stage.