Lemon and Carlson fired from CNN and Fox news

Bailey Holmes, Photography

Tucker Carlson and Don Lemon both got fired from their major news networks, Fox News and CNN, on April 29 within a 90-minute period. Lemon made a sexist comment about Republican politician, Nikki Haley, on air and was let go within a week after the occurrence. Carlson was taken off due to multiple accusations of sexist and racist comments, and majorly inappropriate emails found about his boss. Still, it took almost two times longer for him to get fired compared to Lemon. With news networks like Fox and CNN supplying the public with their daily dose of confirmation bias, reporters like Lemon, and even more so Carlson, are major contributors to the extremely polarizing political environment in the United States.

It is a well-known fact that CNN and Fox News are the two polar opposite extremes of the political news spectrum and that Lemon and Carlson were the prominent names within them. Both companies made the right choice despite the possibility of their shows losing viewers, but Fox should have done it much sooner. Carlson is known for his loud, radical voice within the Republican party, and he attracts a very specific audience within that. His followers adamantly claim that there is no one else to replace him, and as a result, Fox is taking a major hit. They are the main brand for the republican party and Carlson was the logo.

Jody Thone, Director of Leadership Development at UMC, explains that riling people up and misleading them just to get more viewers is “crossing a life of harm” and there should also be a “line of truth” that currently is not being respected within cable news.

Just as Fox is a large representative for Republicans, CNN is the same for Democrats. Though the difference in situations is that Lemon is not as big of a staple to the organization compared to Carlson, so it is safe to say that they will not be negatively affected quite as much as Fox. This is also due to the difference in mindsets between political parties when watching cable news. It seems that Democrats care more about the content itself and less about who is saying it, compared to Republicans who tend to notice and connect more with how the information is being presented and who is giving it to them. That is why Carlson is so appealing to viewers on the right. He is sharp, loud, knows how to work his crowd, and truly holds nothing back. When Republicans needed a voice, Carlson was there to help.

It tells us something about the media environment, which goes back to polarization. There are signposts of how polarized we are, but it is also on us. We are the consumers.

— Mathew Bergquist

“News networks cause additional division exactly the way they want to. Fox especially, but also slightly CNN causes extreme polarization simply because of the ideologies that they support, and how radical it is.” junior Henry Sween said.

Lemon is usually known for his calm manner, nice smile and strong morning show, but after one unexpectedly misogynistic comment, the nation’s opinion changed. Because the company knew that most of their viewers care about justice being served for inappropriate acts such as those, they had to immediately take action. Lemon left with respect and a genuine apology, and that is how that kind of situation should be handled.

Carlson, on the other hand, came out with a statement targeting US news media, strongly implying that organizations like Fox are “liars” that only choose to silence those who speak the truth, (meaning himself). This should not be socially acceptable within news media, yet the Republican party found absolutely no issue with it.

Mathew Bergquist, 12th-grade government teacher at the high school explains, “It tells us something about the media environment, which goes back to polarization. There are signposts of how polarized we are, but it is also on us. We are the consumers.”

Political polarization has skyrocketed in the past year largely due to strongly opinionated news. It is incredibly hard to find non-bias, truthful articles. And, it is even harder to bring yourself to actually search them out and read them after regularly listening to viewpoints that solely support your own. Carlson got away with hundreds of racist, sexist, inappropriate, and extremely disrespectful comments on air for over 14 years, and it was viewed as genuinely good reporting by millions of people. How did this become the norm in the United States?

“I think that news has become like entertainment,” Thone states. “People just want to hear something that reconfirms what they believe or their idea, and we don’t get down to listening for even data differences, which is not opening the heart or anything else at a deep level as far as real listening goes,” she continued.

It is proven that people are more comfortable when their opinions are confirmed, no matter if they are slightly twisted or completely made up. The inability to listen to different viewpoints is tearing the world apart, and news organizations like CNN and Fox are leading the charge. There is gratefulness to be had by not having Lemon or Carlson on the air anymore. It gives the world two fewer opinions to listen to that simply validate their own.  Although people find it distressing to read or listen to a side that is not their go-to, it is vital to have an open mind and open eyes. Search more, listen louder and speak softer, then maybe politically polarized communities much like Stillwater, will start weaving themselves back together.