My conversation with Tucker Carlson after his last broadcast on Fox News

timing is everything. On Friday evening, April 21st, I entered the pre-reception of The Heritage Foundation 50th Anniversary gala, hoping to see someone I knew in the sea of ​​people arriving in black tie attire.

In less than two minutes I spotted a familiar face – a face I recognized from his nightly show Tucker Carlson Tonight Fox News Channel. Tucker Carlson was the main speaker of the evening. (The Daily Signal is the Heritage Foundation’s news and commentary.)

I took a few steps to the side and distanced myself from the growing crowd that was flocking to the event. Next thing I knew, Tucker (and a company of men in suits, who I assumed were keeping the event safe) was walking straight toward me.

Without hesitation, I took the opportunity to introduce myself. Tucker’s affable, spirited personality made the conversation entertaining but also meaningful. We chatted briefly about my work and posed for a quick photo.

Then, as the moment demanded, I jokingly asked Tucker when he would have me on his show. His response was that he eagerly took my business card and then stretched his arms out to read the tiny, bright imprint. Laughing sociable, he exclaimed, “I can’t see that without my reading glasses!”

His laughter was contagious. Everything about that moment was light and fun and carefree. And based on what would emerge a few days later, that interaction will be etched into my memory forever.

As the gala began, there was great anticipation for Tucker’s speech. From the moment he took the stage and started speaking, his energy, passion and sincerity shone. His keynote was full of conviction, openness and humor.

Countless powerful lines and important themes were shared as he recalled starting his career as an intern The Foundation of Heritage fresh out of college, the collapse of leadership in government institutions and beyond, the First Amendment, the powerful pull of the herd mentality, how contagious and powerful truth is, and the call to hold the country in our prayers.

At the conclusion of the address, Heritage President Kevin Roberts came onstage to speak with Tucker. The friendly banter between friends began with Roberts saying, “Oh man, a chance to interview Tucker Carlson. Do I have any questions? But because you made your first point seven times, we only have a few minutes.”

Laughter broke out. outplay the crowd They continued to kid:

Karlson: I’m sorry. Well, that’s kind of a signature move for me.

Roberts: Yes. Must be the elite in you.

Carlson: Well, there’s still a lot of that.

Roberts: We have time for two questions.

Karlson: Great.

Roberts: Seriously, Tucker, thanks. What great news.

Carlson: Oh, thanks. It was cordial.

Roberts: At Fox News things go wrong, at Heritage there is always a job for you.

Carlson: Well, you saved me once before; so thank you very much

Roberts: We love doing that for a lot of people. We’re not called “America’s Outpost” for nothing. yes think about it

The weekend came and went. Then, on Monday morning, the most unexpected announcement was made. Harris Faulkner, the host of “The Faulkner Focus” on Fox News, was hired break the news: “Fox News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways. Tucker’s last show was last Friday.”

I was stunned along with Roberts and a multitude of Fox viewers as this was totally unexpected. It’s possible, even likely, that I was the last person Tucker asked to have me on Tucker Carlson Tonight. Roberts was undoubtedly the first to offer Tucker a post-Fox job. Of course, we both joked with the esteemed communicator, unaware of the Monday morning reality ahead.

Roberts immediately took to his Twitter on Monday confirm his words:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Tucker Carlson is a fearless American who is not afraid to challenge the Washington regime, ask the tough questions, and hold the ruling elite accountable. Tucker, Heritage will always be a home for you.

The shocking announcement spread like news quickly due to the power of the internet and social media. The conservative right and even the liberal left spoke of Tucker’s seemingly direct downfall from Fox. But Tucker was silent all Monday. Then Tuesday came and went without a word.

Tucker didn’t show up until Wednesday night. He posted two minutes and 16 seconds Video to his Twitter account. While his account has 6.6 million followers, the video had more than 20 million views within the first 24 hours – and nearly 80 million views through this post the following Tuesday.

Instead of attacking Fox News Media, Tucker spoke about the important debates that are needed, and he spoke about the truth:

The other thing that strikes you when you take a little time out is how incredibly stupid most of the debates you see on TV are. You are completely irrelevant. In five years we won’t even remember we had them. Trust me as someone who has participated.

And yet, at the same time, this is the astonishing thing: the undeniably big issues that will define our future are practically not discussed at all – war, civil liberties, emerging science, demographic change, corporate power, natural resources. When was the last time you heard a legitimate debate on any of these issues? It was long ago. Such debates are not allowed in American media.

Tucker continued with a critical point he also drove home during his keynote address at Heritage: “When honest people speak what is true calmly and without embarrassment, they become powerful… True things prevail.”

He concluded by saying: “There is hope. See you soon.”

To date, Fox News Media has failed to provide its loyal viewers with a rationale for the removal of its #1 television host, whose show has often been ranked as the most-watched prime-time show on the cable channel.

The impact on Fox News was significant. “Tucker Carlson Tonight” drew an average of 3.3 million viewers on any given Monday. This is compared to CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 show, which drew just 728,000 viewers in the same time slot at 8 p.m. ET on Monday.

On the day of the announcement, Tucker’s previous slot on Fox News Channel saw a sharp 21% drop in viewership. It’s likely that many of those viewers simply tuned in hoping to learn more about their beloved host’s unexpected boot.

As time goes on, details will likely emerge, but one thing is certain: Fox has lost a superstar TV personality of its own accord and will pay the price, not just in terms of viewership but also in its wallet. Fox Corp.’s stock plunged more than 5% on the day of the announcement, for a loss of $1 billion in market cap.

Tucker, on the other hand, will undoubtedly bounce back as his following is impressively strong and his unwavering commitment and unique ability to boldly communicate the truth with clarity, conviction, candor and humor will endure.

My conversation with Tucker – and the timing of it – will not be forgotten in a hurry.

Robert’s final words to the more than 2,400 gala guests would unknowingly also apply to the evening’s keynote speaker, Tucker Carlson: “Never doubt that we will climb the mountain with you when it counts. Godd bless you.”

The Daily Signal publishes a variety of perspectives. Nothing written herein should be construed as representing the views of the Heritage Foundation.

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