Twitter set to become major primary news platform with new Carlson show

Star US newscaster Tucker Carlson has announced he will bring his show directly to Twitter, following an acrimonious departure from Fox News.

Carlson was abruptly dropped from Fox news following his 21 April show, despite him being the clear number one at the channel for audience and ratings. The suddenness of the move strongly indicated an acrimonious parting, a theory confirmed by the immediately subsequent slew of leaks, especially to partisan organisation Media Matters, of material designed to sully Carlson’s reputation, as well as recent reports of potential legal action by Carlson.

Throughout this time Carlson refrained from any public statement, restricting himself solely to the following placeholder video posted first to Twitter, making no direct reference to Fox but criticising the mainstream media in general.

The malicious leaks continued, none of which seem to have been significantly damaging to Carlson, but there was still no indication from him about what, if anything, he was going to do with the massive audience that would likely follow him to his next venture. Then yesterday he published the following video to Twitter, characterising the platform as the only remaining major platform devoted to free speech, but one on which most of the news comes from media organisations that Carlson reckons are “thinly disguised propaganda outlets”.

So the real significance of this move is Carlson’s proposed use of Twitter as the primary method of distribution for his future content, rather than it being a tool to drive traffic elsewhere as is currently the norm. Carlson’s free speech rhetoric chimes with the stated aims of Elon Musk for buying Twitter and is great news for the platform, which seemed to have been struggling since Musk took control. It seems safe to assume Musk will direct Twitter to accomodate whatever length of video Carlson shooses to publish.

No information source can claim to be totally unbiased since even the choice of what to cover is inherently discriminatory. Carlson is widely criticised for the editorial choices he makes but the size of his audience is undeniable. As Musk says, Twitter uniquely offers real-time public fact checking of anything posted on it, so Carlson’s critics presumably welcome the additional power this move will give them.

It also marks the latest milestone in a broader trend of stars and their audiences moving from established media companies to independent internet platforms, such as Substack and Rumble, which apparently come with minimal editorial constraints. Podcaster Joe Rogan can be viewed as a trailblazer in this regard, which is why Spotify spend a reported $100 million to sign him.

Carlson could presumably have got huge deals from a number of platforms but has instead opted for the one with the greatest audience potential. In that respect, his move is undoubtedly a positive for free speech, regardless of what you think of him or his content, and it will be fascinating to see how this experiment plays out.


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