Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson has announced his show will be returning to Twitter.
In a three-minute video posted on the platform on Tuesday, Carlson slammed the traditional news business as intentionally “misleading” viewers, while touting the importance of free speech.
“You often hear people say the news is full of lies, but most of the time that’s not exactly right,” said Carlson, whose nightly opinion program was consistently the top-rated cable show in the US.
“Much of what you see on television or read in The New York Times is in fact true in the literal sense. It could pass one of the media’s own ‘fact checks’. Lawyers would be willing to sign off on it. In fact they may have. But that doesn’t make it true. It’s not true.
“At the most basic level the news you consume is a lie, a lie of the stealthiest and most insidious kind. Facts have been withheld on purpose, along with proportion and perspective. You are being manipulated.
“How does that work? Let’s see. If I tell you that a man has been unjustly arrested for armed robbery, that is not, strictly speaking, a lie. He may have been framed, at this point there has been no trial so no one can really say.
“But if I don’t mention the fact that the same man has been arrested for the same crime six times before, am I really informing you? No I’m not. I’m misleading you. And that’s what the news media are doing in every story that matters, every day of the week, every week of the year. What’s it like to work in a system like that? After more than 30 years in the middle of it we could tell you stories.
“The best you can hope for in the news business at this point is the freedom to tell the fullest truth that you can. But there are always limits. And you know that if you bump up against those limits often enough you will be fired for it. That’s not a guess — it’s guaranteed.
“Every person who works in the English-language media understands that. The rule of what you can’t say defines everything. It’s filthy, really. And it’s utterly corrupting.
“You can’t have a free society if people aren’t allowed to say what they think is true. Speech is the fundamental prerequisite for democracy. That’s why it’s enshrined in the first of our constitutional amendments.
“Amazingly, as of tonight, there aren’t many platforms left that allow free speech. The last big one remaining in the world, the only one, is Twitter, where we are now. Twitter has long served as the place where our national conversation incubates and develops. Twitter is not a partisan site, everybody is allowed here, and we think that’s a good thing.
“And yet for the most part the news that you see analysed on Twitter comes from media organisations that are themselves thinly disguised propaganda outlets. You see it on cable news, you talk about it on Twitter. The result may feel like a debate but actually the gatekeepers are still in charge. We think that’s a bad system. We know exactly how it works and we’re sick of it.
“Starting soon we’ll be bringing you a new version of the show we’ve been doing for the last six-and-a-half-years to Twitter. We’ll be bringing some other things too which we’ll tell you about. But for now we’re just grateful to be here.
“Free speech is the main right that you have. Without it, you have no others. See you soon.”
The announcement comes after weeks of intense speculation about Carlson’s future.
There had been suggestions he may join another large conservative media organisation such as The Daily Wire. Online media company Valuetainment publicly offered Carlson $US100 million ($148 million).
He broke his silence late last month with a Twitter video, sparking theories he may have reached a deal with its new owner Elon Musk.
Fox News said in a bombshell statement on Monday, April 21, that the network had “agreed to part ways” with its top-rating host, sending shockwaves through the media industry.
He left the network without a farewell show, with his final broadcast on Friday, April 21.
Carlson’s flagship show Tucker Carlson Tonight started in November 2016. He joined the network in 2009 as a political analyst, and was previously at MSNBC.
Fox News has not elaborated on the decision to axe Carlson, and multiple theories have swirled in the vacuum.
The news came after the network settled a $US787 million ($1.19 billion) lawsuit with Dominion Voting Systems over its coverage of the 2020 election, and amid a lawsuit brought by a former employee who alleges she was subjected to a hostile work environment while working on Carlson’s show.
The New York Times later reported that an allegedly racist text message Carlson sent set off alarm bells at the network and ultimately contributed to his firing.
In the message, which emerged during the Dominion lawsuit but remained redacted in court filings, Carlson described watching a video of Trump supporters beating up an “Antifa kid”, remarking that “jumping a guy like that is dishonourable obviously … it’s not how white men fight”.
Axios reported on Tuesday that the TV host had accused Fox News of fraud and breach of contract.