Even as Fox News host Tucker Carlson faces backlash from critics and a recent exodus of advertisers, the most recent Nielsen ratings show he is the most-watched personality in cable news.
According to the Washington Examiner, Carlson attracted about 4 million viewers last week and appears on track to survive rampant criticism over recent remarks about the Black Lives Matter movement.
“When they come for you”
On-air comments earlier this month amid widespread social unrest over the death of George Floyd led to a flurry of complaints on social media.
“They may be a lot of things, this movement we are living through, but it is definitely not about black lives,” Carlson said. “And remember that when they come for you.”
A statement from Fox News asserted that the host had been referring to Democrats, not those affiliated with the ongoing protests.
“Tucker’s warning about ‘when they come for you’ was clearly referring to Democratic leaders,” a network spokesperson said, according to the Examiner.
Nevertheless, some damage was apparently done, with a total of five advertisers confirming that they had cut ties with his program, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The impact on the show’s profitability has been negligible, though, as Fox News reported that it had not lost any revenue as a direct result of the advertiser fallout. While sponsors removed spots from Carlson’s show specifically, many of the same ads are running elsewhere in the Fox News lineup.
In addition to his consistently high ratings, Carlson also has a more intangible value to the network as a show that President Donald Trump reportedly watches regularly and considers a favorite.
Of course, Carlson has been at the center of other controversies involving his employer — including a defamation lawsuit filed late last year by former model Karen McDougal, who allegedly had an affair with Trump. In response to Carlson’s on-air commentary in 2018 effectively accusing her of extorting the then-candidate during the 2016 presidential election, she took action in court.
Fox News is currently engaged in an effort to see the case dropped and vowed shortly after it was filed that the network would “vigorously defend Tucker Carlson against these meritless claims.”
It remains to be seen whether there will be any more calls for advertiser boycotts or lawsuits against the popular host, but he seems poised to remain a prominent media figure regardless of those efforts to silence him.