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Tipsheet

Tucker Carlson Is Ready to Go 'DEFCON 1' Against Fox News

Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson will reportedly not fade into the night, nor should he. He got cut from the network, where he earned massive ratings among key demographics. His departure has led predictably to a collapse in those metrics, including a $962 million dip in Fox’s stock price when news of his departure hit the wires. He’s not going away, which is why only the densest lefty would think this is the end of his career. He could join a rival network, though I doubt any could afford him. He could go in the independent route, creating his own subscription news service where he would bank boatloads of cash. But first, the longtime Fox News host needs to free himself from his former employer’s non-compete clause (via Axios):

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Tucker Carlson is preparing to unleash allies to attack Fox News in an effort to bully the network into letting him work for — or start — a right-wing rival, sources close to him tell Axios. 

Bryan Freedman, the high-powered Hollywood lawyer Carlson retained for the contract dispute, told Axios: "The idea that anyone is going to silence Tucker and prevent him from speaking to his audience is beyond preposterous."

Why it matters: Tucker vs. Fox could reshape the conservative news world. Fox, which has seen its ratings plunge in Carlson's slot since he was let go 13 days ago, wants to sideline him by paying him $20 million a year not to work. 

The intrigue: Axios has learned Carlson is busy plotting a media empire of his own. But he needs Fox to let him out of his contract, which expires in January 2025 — after the presidential election. 

We're told Carlson has been contacted by outlets — including the right-wing Rumble and Newsmax — that offered to pay him more than his Fox contract.

Behind the scenes: Axios has learned that Carlson and Elon Musk had a conversation about working together, but didn't discuss specifics. 

Carlson confidants say he also is contemplating building a direct-to-consumer media outlet where his millions of fans could pay to watch him. Carlson's predecessor in his Fox slot, Bill O'Reilly, created a blueprint for this. 

[…] 

…The ousted host "knows where a lot of bodies are buried, and is ready to start drawing a map," said a Carlson source who wasn't authorized to speak publicly. 

Carlson allies with big platforms are prepared to attack Fox for trying to keep him on the shelf. 

Bare-knuckle brawlers from Trumpworld are standing by. 

"They're coming to him and saying: 'Do you want me to hit Fox?' '' a close Carlson friend said. "He's been saying: 'No. I want to get this done quiet and clean.' " 

"Now, we're going from peacetime to Defcon 1," the friend added. "His team is preparing for war. He wants his freedom." 

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Axios included a statement from Fox News, which only stated that the two parties agreed to mutually part and that they wished him well. Given the ratings slump and settlement with Dominion Voting Systems, it would be wise for the network brass not to risk war with all conservative America over this clause. Dominion is the company pegged by some for allegedly rigging the 2020 election in Joe Biden’s favor. The company slapped Fox with a $1.6 billion lawsuit, which was settled for $787 million. 

And now, the great exodus has begun with Fox News’ primetime broadcasts. MSNBC beat the network by at least 35 percent in every time slot. For the first time in forever, CNN’s Anderson Cooper and MSNBC’s Chris Hayes had more viewers in these key demos than Fox in the 8 pm hour. 

We’re already primed for a nasty 2024 GOP primary when Ron DeSantis jumps into the race. Let’s not add more ulcers, please. And that’s not directed at Mr. Carlson.

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