San Francisco — Does it really matter when newscasters lose their jobs over spreading fake news and lawsuits? Yes, it does. Just this spring, Fox News terminated their number one star, Tucker Carlson who pulled in more ratings and money than anybody else. They did it because Carlson’s lies finally surfaced in a lawsuit and cost the network too much money to ignore. After all, news is a business that relies on advertisers and viewership to sustain itself. With numerous news channels and networks showing bias or disseminating misinformation to their audience to attract and retain viewership, it's no surprise that newscasters will keep going to great lengths to keep the people watching.
Tucker Carlson wasn’t fired just because of his lies, it was because he also lost a lawsuit that became the last straw. The network knew Carlson fed lies to the viewers, they also knew the lies were what the people wanted to hear to keep them coming back night after night. Carlson was their prime time host, and after his departure, ratings have plummeted and the channel has lost about half of their viewers. The cycle of lies turning into money from Carlson for the network ended after he left. Will this make a change for other biased networks as well? Or will it only happen when something significantly detrimental and with money involved?
If it took an abundant amount of money to finally terminate someone who spread lies, will it happen again, but not because of the lies but because of the money it cost the station? Nobody that watched Carlson cared that it was filled with nonsense and his own opinions because it was what they wanted to hear. Many networks are biased, do their reporters and journalists get fired over it? No. The choice between providing the truth and earning money the right way and spreading fake news that comes with lots of money is a decision every network must make. If networks have to spin stories and stretch the truth to reach perspectives that will want to hear it and gain more viewership, then it means that their hosts are really just puppets of the network.
This scandal is not just a Tucker Carlson/Fox News problem, it happens on many networks, including CNN, who terminated Chris Cuomo in 2021 after his sexual harassment charges came to light. Cuomo’s show offered leftist opinions, which is what the network catered to. Even his leftist audience thought he was a little over the top, and when they found out about his sexual indiscretions and how he defended his brother when he also had sexual harassment allegations, they didn’t want to watch anymore.
There are many options and outlets for viewers, leftist views and right leaning views. So how can we separate the sensationalism within the news to get to the unbiased facts? Can we really ever separate money from news? Ultimately, news is a business.
Hannah Coleman (she/her) is from San Francisco who writes about contentious issues that concern Gen Z. Follow her on Instagram: @hannah_c.lmn.
Edited by Nykeya Woods