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Fox News faces a shake-up as Don Lemon is let go and Tucker Carlson steps up

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Longtime CNN host Don Lemon has been fired by the US-based cable TV network, while on the other side of the political spectrum, Tucker Carlson left Fox News in a surprise move.

Lemon said in a tweet on Monday that he was “shocked” by the move and that he was not directly notified of the termination by the network.

“My agent told me this morning that I was terminated by CNN. I was stunned,” he said.

“After 17 years at CNN, I would have thought someone in management would have the decency to tell me directly. At no time did I give any indication that I wouldn’t be able to continue to do the work that I loved at the network.”

CNN said in a statement that the network and Lemon have parted ways. She added that Lemon was offered a chance to meet with the network’s management, but he issued a statement on his personal Twitter account instead. The network called Lemon’s version of events “inaccurate”.

Neither statement gave a reason for Lemon’s departure.

Lemon joined CNN in 2006. He hosted the primetime hit show “Don Lemon Tonight” for more than eight years and gained prominence during Donald Trump’s presidency for commenting on the former Republican president who called him a “racist.”

Trump welcomed Lemon’s exit from CNN. On his Truth Social platform, the former boss said, “My only question is, what took them so long?”

Lemon came under fire earlier this year for comments he made on air during a debate about Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley’s suggestion that people over 75 who want to serve in the White House must prove mentally competent.

He said that Hayley wasn’t in her prime and that a woman’s prime is in her 20s, 30s, or “maybe her 40s.” He later apologized for the sexual comments.

In response to Lemmon’s departure from CNN, Hailey tweeted on Monday: “Great day for women everywhere.”

Fox and Carlson Methods

In a separate development, conservative commentator Tucker Carlson, host of Fox News’ most popular show, announced he was leaving the network, just days after the outlet paid a hefty settlement to end a defamation lawsuit.

Carlson was the most popular personality on Fox’s presenting slate, hosting a prime-time evening show that resonated with a large number of viewers right at the anchor.

A key figure in Republican politics, he has often interviewed Donald Trump and has been widely criticized for his alleged lack of journalistic toughness and – for his critics – his stream of disinformation and racist hate speech.

In a statement, the network said, “Fox News Media and Tucker Carlson have agreed to separate. We thank him for his service to the network as host and, before that, as contributor.”

The 53-year-old Carlson, who joined Fox in 2009, offered no immediate reaction.

“Tucker Carlson Tonight” lampooned everything from immigration policies to gun controls, to liberal trends in modern America, drawing viewers’ ire and propelling the show to the heights of cable television.

Last week’s $787.5 million defamation settlement means that neither Fox boss Rupert Murdoch nor hosts like Carlson will have to testify in what was expected to be an explosive trial.

But Fox News internal communications released before the scheduled trial indicated that senior figures at the network were willing to spread lies about the election for fear of losing viewers to rivals.

In the messages, Carlson also said he couldn’t wait to be able to “ignore Trump most nights,” adding, “I hate him so much.”

Dominion, a voting technology company, has sued Fox for publishing false claims that its machines were used to steal the 2020 presidential election from Trump.

It appears Carlson’s relationship with Trump remains close, as the former president sat down for an hour-long friendly interview on the show on April 11 after he was brought to trial on criminal charges in New York.

Despite Carlson’s criticism, Fox News previously supported him at all costs as he generated a welcome flood of controversy, media attention, viewership, and ad revenue.

Network attorneys argued in a 2020 defamation lawsuit that viewers knew how to treat material on his show with suspicion.

In contrast to the political clout he wielded, Carlson lives far from the heart of the United States government, in a rural corner of Maine, where he occasionally broadcasts.

He appeared relaxed and confident during his final appearance on Friday night, and his abrupt departure from Washington hit Wall Street, as Fox News’ stock price plunged nearly four percent.

Carlson has long been attracted to reports that he would seek to enter politics but has previously dismissed suggestions that he has presidential ambitions, saying “I’m a talk show host; I enjoy it.”

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