In less than three minutes, Tucker Carlson suggested immigrants make the United States “dirtier,” contradicted himself on their values and gushed over Mexicans frustrated with Central American caravans. The opening tear cost his Fox News show an advertiser, at least for now.
Few advocates, if any, argue the economic merit of immigration, Carlson said in his opening monologue Thursday evening. The nation needs skilled workers, but Carlson said that is not who arrives here. (Fact check: Not true.)
“Our leaders demand that you shut up and accept this,” he said, while name-checking Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis). “We have a moral obligation to admit the world’s poor, they tell us, even if it makes our own country poorer and dirtier and more divided. Immigration is a form of atonement.”
.. Carlson added: “They’re nice people; nobody doubts that,” before changing his tone minutes later in his own monologue, over reports some caravan leaders demanded $50,000 in reparations for U.S. involvement in Central America, calling them “cynical shakedown artists.”
.. Pacific Life has run commercials on Carlson’s show for just over a year, spokesman Steve Chesterman told The Washington Post on Saturday. The company is not running any ads for other Fox News programs at this time, he said.
.. Carlson has been a frequent critic of immigration. In March, he voiced concernthat America’s demographics were changing too quickly without “debate.”
.. In his Thursday monologue, Carlson rolled footage of Mexican protesters critical of the caravan, suggesting some were criminals mounting an “invasion,” in an echo of President Trump’s rhetoric.
.. The network has defended itself against similar advertiser pullouts driven by public scrutiny.
In March, half a dozen companies yanked commercials during Laura Ingraham’s program after she taunted former Parkland student David Hogg. She later apologized, but Fox News co-president Jack Abernethy decried the move as “agenda-driven intimidation efforts” and censorship.
“Over the past 20 years at Fox News, I have been extremely proud to launch and lead one of the most successful news programs in history, which has consistently informed and entertained millions of Americans and significantly contributed to building Fox into the dominant news network in television,” he said. “It is tremendously disheartening that we part ways due to completely unfounded claims.
.. The company and O’Reilly paid out $15 million in exchange for his accusers’ silence.
.. But the prospect that his accusers — bound by non-disclosure agreements as a result of their settlements — wouldn’t speak in anything but general terms led the company to believe it could weather the Times story.
.. In fact, it was a sixth accuser — a former guest on O’Reilly’s program named Wendy Walsh — who may have been the key to his unraveling. Unlike the women who received settlements for their complaints, Walsh never sued or settled with O’Reilly, leaving her free to speak in public about her allegations. She did so repeatedly, putting a name, face and voice to the allegations in media accounts.
.. On Tuesday, another woman came forward, anonymously, to complain that she had been harrassed with racial and sexual comment by O’Reilly in 2008.
.. The network, however, continued to roll in record ratings, driven in part by viewer interest in Donald Trump, a longtime friend of Ailes, Murdoch and O’Reilly and a frequent interview guest on Fox programs ..
.. “The O’Reilly Factor” has been the network’s flagship show for nearly 20 years, and in many ways has embodied its conservative-oriented spirit.
.. drew an average of 4 million viewers each night during the first three months of the year, the most ever for a cable-news program.
.. intense media coverage surrounding O’Reilly led to a stampede of advertisers away from O’Reilly’s program, leaving it almost without sponsorship over the past two weeks.
.. The O’Reilly controversy has been casting a shadow over 21st Century’s $14 billion bid to win the British government’s approval to buy Sky TV, the British satellite service. Leaving O’Reilly in place would likely have been a public-relations nightmare
.. The Murdoch family abandoned a 2011 offer for Sky amid another scandal, the phone-hacking conspiracy perpetrated by employees of the Murdoch-owned News of the World tabloid in London.
.. Since the Ailes scandal erupted, the company has continued to employ almost all of the senior managers who were in charge when Ailes was allegedly harassing employees, including Bill Shine, currently Fox’s co-president. Shine was accused of enabling Ailes’s retaliatory efforts against an accuser, Fox contributor Julie Roginsky
.. Mr. O’Reilly has denied any wrongdoing, saying he paid settlements to “put to rest any controversies to spare my children.”.. an attorney for Mr. O’Reilly said the host has “been subjected to a brutal campaign of character assassination that is unprecedented in post-McCarthyist America” and added that he has “evidence that the smear campaign is being orchestrated by far-left organizations bent on destroying O’Reilly and Fox News for political and financial reasons.”.. His show draws some 4 million viewers a night and is consistently among the highest rated programs across all of cable. Mr. O’Reilly, 67 years old, recently renewed his contract with Fox News at a salary of more than $20 million annually.. Initially, Fox News and parent 21st Century Fox stood by their highly-rated host. However, as advertisers fled the O’Reilly program, internal debate ensued over the pros and cons of keeping Mr. O’Reilly on the air. Since the Times published its initial report, dozens of advertisers have pulled out of “The O’Reilly Factor,” many of them shifting their ad buys to other programs on Fox News... Mr. O’Reilly’s camp said that the advertiser boycott was being driven in large part by liberal media watchdog group Media Matters and Mary Pat Bonner, a fundraiser with ties to Hillary Clinton... Some social media users were attempting to embarrass companies that were airing ads on Mr. O’Reilly’s show, and several media outlets were calling advertisers to ask what their stance was on the matter... Some employees in senior positions at the company have felt it was important for 21st Century Fox and its senior management team—including Co-Chairman Rupert Murdoch and his sons, Co-Chairman Lachlan and Chief Executive James—to send a message regarding Mr. O’Reilly’s alleged conduct to the women of the company, top executives said.