The Sun Sets On a Significant Era of Journalism


Carlson’s firing from Fox News leaves a vacuum in the journalism industry. (Courtesy of Twitter)

Having devoted the past year and a half to the cause of journalism as a member of The Fordham Ram, I have developed an acute attention to and love for journalism news, and this past week has been one for the books. The consequences of the decisions made in the last few days will reverberate for the years to come and will create a new era of journalism entirely.

Firstly, Tucker Carlson, one of Fox News’s most flagrant fear-mongers, was fired this week. This is a massive win for immigrants, people of color, queer people, the “less sexy” green M&M and every other group for whom Carlson stirred up hate and furthered damaging conspiracy theories and stereotypes. 

And, on the other side of the political broadcasting pendulum, Monday also saw the firing of CNN’s host Don Lemon. This is a win for women “past their prime” (any woman who is over the age of 50) and all others who have been on the receiving end of his misogynistic remarks.

Whether you loved or hated these two broadcasters (I am personally happy to see both of them go), their absence will create a massive vacuum. Lemon was one of the most recognizable CNN personalities, and Carlson’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight” averaged 3.5 million viewers, making it the most popular show on the most popular network. 

Moving forward, in the past few months, CNN president Chris Licht has made it clear that he wants “to shave down what he views as the more partisan edges that emerged in the Trump years,” and move the network to more centrist territory and out of the far left-wing of political broadcasting. Though Lemon wasn’t a totally polarizing left-wing pundit, his absence will give the network the breathing room to make that adjustment.

Fox News, as is often the case, is a completely different story. The specifics over why Carlson was fired are still unclear, but I’m willing to bet that his involvement in and damning messages about the Dominion case had something to do with it. But that’s not to say that Fox is now swearing off broadcasting highly-charged, occasionally false copy. No, it just now means that they might start over with some new talking head that is ready to enrage the masses and stoke some fires. The empty space Carlson once occupied could be filled with a journalist who actually values accuracy, accountability and fairness, though it is unlikely that this will be the case. 

Unless you ask Newsmax, of course. Christopher Ruddy, the chief executive of Fox’s more conservative and less factual rival, said that “for a while Fox News has been moving to become establishment media and Tucker Carlson’s removal is a big milestone in that effort.” 

Regardless of whether or not that’s true, I think most of Fox’s upcoming efforts will be devoted to recuperating from the $787.5 million settlement it has to fork over to Dominion Voting Systems in response to spreading defamatory sentiments in regards to the 2020 presidential election. This settlement means we can hopefully finally lay conspiracy theories about the 2020 election to rest. However, it is important to note that Fox never apologized or was held accountable for the seeds of doubt they sowed in the American people. Though Fox can be seen as conceding, at least monetarily, they have done long-term, if not irreparable, damage to the trust people have in our election systems.

Perhaps the least splashy fish in this pond of media mayhem is the fact that BuzzFeed News is shutting down after just 12 years. Executives cite advertising costs and an inability to keep up with digital trends as the culprit of this failed venture. Though BuzzFeed is often, and sometimes fairly, mocked for its silly listicles and clickbait-laden dossier, the shuttering of BuzzFeed News marks a sad day for journalism. Borne out of the idea to make news more digestible for our short attention spans, BuzzFeed News revolutionized digital media and gave readers quality journalism without them having to scale a paywall. Founding editor of BuzzFeed News Ben Smith believes that this demise signals “the end of the marriage between social media and news.” I think Smith is being a tad melodramatic here, but this is the end to an exciting and dynamic period of journalism.

It is truly remarkable that all four of these stories coalesced within the span of one week. Something’s in the air, and I’m hoping that the winds of change will bring along a better era of journalism. Until then, I’ll stick with The Fordham Ram.

Nicole Braun, FCRH ’24, is an English major from Saddle River, N.J.