Journalism itself has dominated the news for the past several weeks. Two of the industry’s top anchors, Tucker Carlson and Don Lemon, were abruptly fired by their respective organizations.
Both were removed after disparaging and distasteful comments, some of which had previously surfaced.
While their removals remain distinct, both spur the same question: will they be canceled?
Tucker Carlson closed his April 21st broadcast by telling his viewers he would “be back on Monday.” Little did he know, that would be his final broadcast.
Carlson became America’s most-watched news anchor, after spending several years with notoriously right-wing Fox News. Carlson grew increasingly well-known for being one of President Trump’s top advocates. After years at the mountain-top of opinion-based journalism, Carlson was unexpectedly terminated on April 24, 2023. Fox did not disclose a reason for removing their top news anchor. The New York Times later reported on a cryptic text message sent by Carlson after the events of January 6th. In the message, Carlson described a video he saw depicting three white men viciously attacking an Antifa member. The most incriminating line of the text reads, “It’s not how white men fight.”
But this was not Carlson’s first time in the spotlight for making racially insensitive comments. Carlson once opened his broadcast by claiming immigrants make this country “poorer, dirtier, and more divided.” Additionally, a recording surfaced of Carlson referring to people in Iraq as “semiliterate primitive monkeys.” It seems Carlson’s history of offensive and derogatory comments had finally caught up with him. Carlson was a ticking time bomb, and Fox finally realized they had to defuse the bomb.
Fox’s left-wing counterpart, CNN, similarly fired one of their top anchors. Don Lemon was fired the same day as Tucker Carlson. Lemon made distasteful remarks toward women. While discussing the prospect of Nikki Haley becoming president, Lemon claimed she was “not in her prime.” Lemon also claimed that women are in their prime in their “twenties, thirties, maybe forties.” Lemon tried to defend his sexist utterances by saying, “Don’t shoot the messenger, I’m just saying what the facts are.” Lemon later apologized for his words.
Make no mistake, the comments made by Lemon and Carlson have no place in the media. Carlson’s words were blatantly racist, while Lemon’s were rather ageist and sexist. Both Fox News and CNN made the right call by firing them.
It is becoming a more common sight to see someone “canceled” after making offensive comments. However, navigating cancel culture can be quite difficult. Kanye West may be the most deserving person to be canceled, after making highly anti-Semitic remarks earlier this year. However, his music is still played all across the country, even in Wilson Hall.
Though Chick-Fil-A is widely considered to be canceled, it still hauls in the highest profit-per-store margin in the country. It is quite easy to declare something canceled, but when it actually comes time to cancel something people back down.
Though Lemon and Carlson both deserve to be canceled, they most likely will not.