Former Fox News host Tucker Carlson has spoken out for the first time since his shock ouster by the network on Monday.
Carlson, whose nightly opinion program was consistently the top-rated cable show in the US, was cut loose earlier this week in an unexpected move that sent shockwaves through the media industry.
On Wednesday night at 8pm – his usual broadcast time – Carlson shared a two-minute monologue with his 6.3 million followers on Twitter.
“Good evening, it’s Tucker Carlson,” he said in the video, which racked up more than nine million views in the space of an hour.
“One of the first things you realise when you step outside the noise for a few days is how many genuinely nice people there are in this country, kind and decent people, people who really care about what’s true – and a bunch of hilarious people also, a lot of those.
“It’s got to be the majority of the population even now, so that’s heartening.
“The other thing you notice when you take a little time off is how unbelievably stupid most of the debates you see on television are.
“They’re completely irrelevant. They mean nothing. In five years we won’t even remember that we had them. Trust me as someone who’s participated.
“And yet at the same time, and this is the amazing thing, the undeniably big topics, the ones that will define our future, get virtually no discussion at all. War, civil liberties, emerging science, demographic change, corporate power, natural resources. When was the last time you heard a legitimate debate about any of those issues? It’s been a long time.
“Debates like that are not permitted in American media. Both political parties and their donors have reached consensus on what benefits them, and they actively collude to shut down any conversation about it.
“Suddenly the United States looks very much like a one-party state. That’s a depressing realisation, but it’s not permanent. Our current orthodoxies won’t last. They’re braindead, nobody actually believes them.
“Hardly anyone’s life is improved by them. This moment is too inherently ridiculous to continue, and so it won’t.
“The people in charge know this, that’s why they’re hysterical and aggressive. They’re afraid. They’ve given up persuasion, they’re resorting to force. But it won’t work.
“When honest people say what’s true, calmly and without embarrassment, they become powerful. At the same time the liars who’ve been trying to silence them shrink, and they become weaker.
“That’s the iron law of the universe – true things prevail. Where can you still find Americans saying true things? There aren’t many places left, but there are some, and that’s enough. As long as you can hear the words, there is hope. See you soon.”
He left Fox News without a farewell show, with his final broadcast on Friday night.
“Fox News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to part ways,” the network said in a statement on Monday. “We thank him for his service to the network as a host and prior to that as a contributor.
“Mr Carlson’s last program was Friday, April 21. Fox News Tonight will air live at 8pm starting this evening as an interim show helmed by rotating Fox News personalities until a new host is named.”
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 its top-rating host, 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.
Speculation has been rife about what Carlson’s next move will be, with suggestions he may join another large conservative media organisation such as The Daily Wire, or start his own venture.
His decision to break his silence on Twitter led some to theorise Carlson had struck up a deal with its new owner Elon Musk.