This story was originally published by the WND News Center.
Fox News' ouster of its most popular host, Tucker Carlson, has drawn renewed attention to one of his detractors, the self-proclaimed "Never Again Trumper" and former Republican House Speaker, Paul Ryan, who sits on the Fox Corporation's Board of Directors.
Many conservatives who were outraged at Carlson's sudden and forced exit from Fox News — unbeknownst to him, his last show was Friday, April 21, and he was denied a chance to say farewell to his loyal viewers — and some are blaming Ryan for it, at least in part.
In a legal document outlining Dominion Voting Systems' defamation suit against Fox News, Ryan is revealed to have called Trump's claims that 2020 was stolen "a farce" and said the election and its aftermath "is a huge inflection point to keep Trump down and move on for the future of the conservative movement."
"Obviously, the FOX News Board was involved in the decision to remove Tucker Carlson from the lineup. Certainly, Paul Ryan was also involved," Jim Hoft, founder, and editor of the pro-MAGA news site Gateway Pundit, wrote Monday. "Fox News may want to reevaluate the value Paul Ryan is bringing to the company. Alienating their Trump-supporting base is probably not the best move for the conservative news channel."
Ryan, a former Congressman from Wisconsin and Mitt Romney's running mate in the 2012 presidential race has made no secret of his aversion to Trump's and Carlson's brand of conservatism. His hostility to Trump is so great that he even vowed not to attend the Republican nominating convention in 2024, hosted by his state's most famous city, Milwaukee if Trump is the party's nominee.
Such pettiness is counter to Ryan's own professed "brand" as a proponent of "civility" in politics.
In various pages of the Dominion Voting Systems v. Fox News Network lawsuit, recently settled by Fox for $787 million, Ryan is mentioned making critical remarks about Trump's election-theft claims.
As reported Monday by independent conservative journalist Kyle Becker, citing the Dominion v. Fox lawsuit: "On December 6 , 2020, Paul Ryan texted Rupert and Lachlan [Murdoch], telling them, we are entering a truly bizarre phase of this where [Trump] has actually convinced himself of this farce and will do more bizarre things to delegitimize the election," the legal document states. "I see this as a key inflection point for Fox, where the right thing and the smart business thing to do line up nicely."
Writes Becker: "Thus, we can see the obvious implication that as an 'inflection point' for Fox News, the 'smart business thing' would be to move on from Donald Trump. This was reinforced with more explicit statements."
In another section of the legal document reported by Becker, Ryan specifically is cited as saying, "This is a huge inflection point to keep Trump down and move on for the future of the conservative movement."
Below is the full context provided by Becker of that portion of the document:
"Paul Ryan also continued to discuss strategic direction with the Murdochs during this timeframe," the court document adds. "Ryan told Dias about his own conversation with Rupert and Lachlan, reporting he told them that this is a huge inflection point to keep Trump down and move on for the future of the conservative movement. Ryan added: Both Rupert and [his son and co-chairman of Fox News Corp.] Lachlan agree fully. 'The key is to execute our collective will.' Ryan agreed it was his job as a Board member to weigh in because it was a strategic decision about what to do. Ryan was 'hopeful that the events of January 6 were so shocking that it would help the conservative movement and Fox News move on from Donald Trump.'"
The network's approach of using the 2020 election and Jan. 6 as an "inflection point" could be detected by any politically astute Fox News viewer beginning with the controversial election in November 2020. Not only, with some exceptions, did Fox fail to seriously examine the many questions about the fairness of the election, it also muffled coverage of Donald Trump ever since Jan. 6 — even though Trump remains the leader of and most influential figure in the Republican Party. Fox's blatantly biased coverage of the former president has resulted in a tremendous loss of trust among conservatives in the network, distrust that is now skyrocketing again with Carlson's removal.
Conservative activist filmmaker Dinesh D'Souza tweeted a DC Enquirer article Wednesday with the words: "Fox News Loses More Than HALF Its Audience In Key Demographic Following Tucker Carlson’s Departure — ‘Have You Stopped Tuning In?’"
Ryan says he lacks the authority to decide on content
In a Feb. 24 interview with outspoken "Never Trumper" radio host and MSNBC contributor Charlie Sykes, Ryan said he lacks the authority as a board member to affect an individual show's content or fire and hire the hosts of any broadcast. But he admitted to Sykes that he has worked silently against Carlson in his board role.
Pressed by Sykes if there could come a point where he would leave Fox in protest because people like Carlson threaten "democracy," Ryan said he prefers to work from the inside: "I have a responsibility to offer my opinion and perspective and I do that but I don't go out on TV and do it [publicly]. ... So I offer my perspective and my opinion often I'll just leave it at that, OK?"
Ryan said in the interview that he campaigned for the few House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in the second Democrat-led impeachment trial (over Trump's alleged role in the Jan. 6 "insurrection"), and lamented that most of them lost their races.
In a separate podcast illustrating "Never Trumpers'" contempt for Trump and MAGA conservatives such as Tucker, Sykes, a self-styled libertarian and editor of the Trump-despising site Bulwark, described Tucker Carlson as "uniquely malign and toxic," while assailing "the role he played in inserting these grievance-laden conspiracy theories into the American bloodstream."
The person Sykes was interviewing, columnist Mona Charen, once a widely-respected conservative but now a "Never Trumper," said this regarding Carlson: "The kinds of lies that Tucker specialized in were the really subversive kind — the kind that made you hate people, the kind that made you fearful, the kind that made you think that there were vast conspiracies out there and that you were unsafe and that you had more to fear from fellow Americans than from, for example, Vladimir Putin. I can't stress enough how much Tucker Carlson turned the whole concept of conservatism inside out."
Carlson dealt a huge blow to one 'election steal' theory
In all the media conversation about Tucker Carlson, Fox News, 2020 election claims, and the Dominion lawsuit, it is often forgotten or ignored that Carlson used his huge platform to hold purveyors of the most spectacular election-steal theory accountable.
Many of Carlson's loyal viewers might remember Carlson's Nov. 19, 2020 episode, which effectively torpedoed attorney Sydney Powell's claim that Dominion voting machines had been used in a large-scale "vote-switching" conspiracy to systematically and electronically change Trump votes to Biden votes. Powell's theory, which received ample air-time on Fox News and other non-Trump-hating media, pointed to nefarious forces in foreign countries like Venezuela as allegedly being behind the same (Dominion) vote-switching apparatus as she claimed robbed Trump of his win. Dominion has a parallel defamation lawsuit against Powell.
Many prominent MAGA conservatives such as Steve Bannon never based their belief that the 2020 election was "rigged" and corrupted on Powell's claims. Instead, they focused on factors like "Zuckerbucks" flowing into ostensibly neutral local election offices, or Democrats using COVID pandemic hysteria to unconstitutionally alter voting rules to ensure massive mail-in voting.
D'Souza exposed the alleged vote-box-stuffing "mules" tracked by their cell phone data, as revealed in his movie "2000 Mules" which Fox News effectively censored and which was only mentioned when brought up by conservative GOP Senate candidate Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., as WND founder and CEO Joseph Farah reported last May.
But millions of Americans did believe Powell's claims and the episode was a sobering reminder of Carlson's unique and powerful role in larger media, and his unpredictable and independent role as a thought leader in wider "conservative" media circles.
In the program, Carlson explained how he and his staff repeatedly asked Powell for proof of her startling and wide-ranging election-theft claims but said his team ultimately never received any documentation directly from Powell.
In the Dominion lawsuit that followed, an unearthed text by Carlson applies the highly offensive "C-word" expletive to Powell for not producing the evidence for which he had asked.
Wednesday evening just after 8 p.m., Tucker Carlson broke his silence, releasing this video on Twitter.