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In June 2020, Tucker Carlson, from Fox News, went on air and made many comments pertaining to the racial injustice that the country of the United States has experienced throughout the year including, “This may be a lot of things, this moment we are living through, but it is definitely not about black lives, and remember that when they come for you. And at this rate, they will.” This statement was particularly prompted by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis the moth prior.
Due to the insensitivity presented by Mr. Carlson, a number of companies backed away from airing commercials for Fox. These companies include Walt Disney, Papa John’s and Poshmark. Each of these large companies released statements in which touched on their moral expectations. Poshmark was the first major company to come out stating, “We do not agree with the comments he made on his show and stand in solidarity with those who seek to advance racial justice and equality.”
After harsh criticisms, Mr. Carlson began to speak harshly about the unrest, urging a more severe crackdown on protests. In one segment he stated, that these actions could be “inappropriate or offensive to some audiences.” He then scolded the Vice President and President for having “scolded America for its racism” and that “people will not forgive weakness.” According to Fox news, none of these incidences have caused a suffer in finances. Viewing continued to stay up and a campaign began titled #IStandWithTucker. While multiple companies retreated form supporting Fox News and Tucker Carlson a great number stayed involved with Carlson’s segment including the gun rights personality Dana Loesch and MyPillow, who is run by a major supporter of Mr. Trump.
Discriminatory remarks towards the black and brown community were not the only aired on live television. Tucker Carlson severely attacked immigrants stating they have long “plundered” American taxpayers and have an taken unfair advantage of government benefits. “The American piñata has been getting pummeled for decades and now it has finally come apart…Our national wealth is up for grabs by whomever gets here first, and they are coming.” Carlson also claimed that undocumented immigrants are sending billions of dollars they earn in the US back to family members in their native countries, while simultaneously benefiting from “free healthcare, free education, subsidized housing, and food stamps.”
Within the United States it is well known that undocumented immigrants cannot legally receive food stamps, live in subsidized housing, or receive government health insurance, but they are permitted to attend public schools and get medical treatment in emergencies. Therefore, Mr. Carlson’s remarks were completing off-base and uncalled for. Carlson then continued and argued that the “crisis” could be easily fixed with a series of government actions that include building a wall across the US-Mexico border, expanding employee verification system, and efficiently deporting undocumented immigrants. Carlson then claimed that these actions will most likely not occur because our congressional leaders are “decadent and narcissistic” and unwilling to defend our nation.
Tucker Carlson has had a past of having outrage towards immigrants as well as the black and brown community. In previous years he has stated that immigrants make the US “poorer and dirtier.” “Our leaders demand that you shut up and accept this. We have a moral obligation to admit the world’s poor, they tell us even if it makes our own country poor and dirtier and more divided.” In the year 2019, Tucker Carlson addressed a subject on air after the multiple mass shootings within the United States claiming that white supremacy is “not a real problem.” He has stated “This is a hoax. Just like the Russia hoax, it’s a conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power.” He also argued that President Donald Trump’s condemnation of white supremacy was unnecessary because the number of people who are members of the white supremacist groups in the U.S. could “fit inside a football stadium.” According to the NCAA, the country’s largest college football stadiums hold about 100,000 people. It is also “extremely difficult” to track hate groups claims Bob Hopkinson, a spokesman for southern Poverty Law Center-tracks hate groups. These groups tend to stay very quiet about their membership but is it known that there are more than 300,000 people registered as users on the oldest hate site, Stormfront, and that number doubled when President Obama was in office. According to the FBI, domestic terrorism is increasingly motivated by white supremacist ideology.
Throughout the years, multiple lawsuits have been presented towards Fox news due to their insensitivity towards many groups of individuals. These allegations consist of sexual assault, sexual misconduct towards women, as well as many instances of child pornography. Of course, it is very difficult to convict an individual of a hate crime when the words that are being released are not actions but rather opinions towards certain situations or groups of people. Soon after these comments were made, Mr. Carlson released a statement that claimed he would be taking a much-needed vacation. Fox News took no initiative in reprimanding Tucker Carlson but instead insisted on vacation time, which he was paid for. After this information was released, Fox News posted a blog apologizing for the statements that were made and claimed that there were consequences towards what had occurred on live television. Mr. Carlson’s writer was fired immediately and yet another document was released on all the positive effects Fox News has had on minorities, specifically immigrants and the black and brown community.
The stakeholders within the Fox News and Tucker Carlson case consist of Tucker Carlson, the CEO of Fox News, Suzanne Scott, as well as the many higher ups who have a say on what is considered consequential. Those who have been affected by the actions of both Mr. Carlson and Fox News are member of the black and brown communities, immigrants, and any individual who found the actions and words of Tucker Carlson offensive and the lack of consequential action towards the situation.
The individualist theory is a major ethical theory that mainly focuses on maximizing profit for stakeholders while attempting to not break the law. From an individualist perspective, the case of Tucker Carlson and Fox News is indeed considered ethical. While Mr. Carlson made some very insensitive and discriminatory comments towards certain groups, he did not break the law in any way. Freedom of speech and opinion within the country of the United States is acceptable. Fox News also did not break the law. Although they did not implement harsh consequences towards Mr. Carlson and presented a great amount of selfishness, ethically, according to individualist, no harm has been done.
Utilitarianism consist of maximizing happiness for all. Both the actions of Tucker Carlson and Fox News would be considered unethical in the eyes of a utilitarianism theorist. Mr. Carlson, very clearly, only cared about his opinion rather than how his words might affect others. As for Fox News they did not take the necessary steps to make sure that this incident does not happen again. Instead of firing Mr. Carlson, they simply fired his writer and recommended that he take time off for a vacation. While both did apologize for what had occurred, Fox News and their news anchors have had a consistent history of offending other with their comments and not making change within the company.
Kantianism consists of making rational decisions in a form of good will. The controversy of Fox News and Tucker Carlson would be considered unethical in the perspective of a Kantian. Fox News completely abused their power in this situation. Instead of doing the right things and firing Mr. Carlson for his actions, the company insisted that he take time away from his show by going on a vacation. Of course, Mr. Carlson agreed to this, therefore, also abusing his power. Instead of taking ownership of his actions and facing the realistic consequences he chose to ignore it and run from it. The formula of humanity is where an individual or individuals treat people as a means rather than an end. This means that each and every person is treated with value. The actions performed by both Fox News and Tucker Carlson prove that they only cared for themselves and treated others as though they were an end not a means. A person or people that hold the positions that these individuals do within the controversy should be attempting to set an example for those who are watching.
The four main principles of virtue theory are courage, honesty, self-control and fairness. If a virtue theorist were to take a look at the Tucker Carlson and Fox News controversy, they would easily consider it to be unethical. Both Fox News and Mr. Carlson did not show any courage. They only came out with statements apologizing due to the immense amount of hate they were receiving from some audience members and other companies. Honestly was also not presented. Fox News released a statement that claimed their company has done a great amount for minority groups. Many of these actions are focused on certain individuals employed by the company and are completely made-up. Tucker Carlson showed no form of self-control. He very blatantly made the remarks that he did without thinking of the affects his words had on specific individuals. Fox News also consistently shows no self-control as situations very similar to this one continuously occurs. Fairness was also not properly presented. Fox News easily could have made sure that Tucker Carlson was fired for his unacceptable actions. Instead he was given paid vacation time.
|Tucker Carlson |
After completing the research on the controversy, I have very mixed feeling about the case. First and foremost, I personally believe that the incident is extremely unethical. Tucker Carlson simply should have been fired from his position as well as the many other employees who have made similar mistakes. Fox News is very clearly managed poorly. While it is important for news anchors to be passionate about the information that they are putting out to the world, they must make sure that what is being presented is factual information that considers the human values of every individual no matter who they are.
Fox News should attempt to rebuild. While their company is still doing well, they could potentially be doing even better if a significant amount of changes were made. First and foremost, all individuals who have a history of any type of misconduct towards an individual or within the workplace should be removed immediately. Individuals such as Tucker Carlson who have shown a lack of morals and sensitivity should also be released of their duties. These actions could potentially allow for companies who previously refused to advertise for Fox to come back. Therefore, revenue would continue to increase. After this, Fox News needs to publicly apologize for all the hurt that has been cause not only by Tucker Carlson but by the many individuals over the years. They need to own up to what has happened and not hide away from it by attempting to convince the public that they have not made mistakes. Fox News must create a new identity. Of course, their politics can and will remain the same, but changes must be made in order to gain the trust of the public back. In the future, if any instance relating to what had previously occurred come about, immediate and consistent action much be implemented. Of course, it will take a great amount of time for certain groups and individuals to regain trust. Fox News must prove that customer satisfaction is their number one priority. If successful, profit is will increase immensely.
Hsu, T. (2020, June 12). Fox News Host Tucker Carlson Loses More Advertisers. Retrieved November 11, 2020, from https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/12/business/media/tucker-carlson-fox-news-advertisers.html
Relman, E. (2019, May 22). Tucker Carlson says immigrants have 'plundered' the US and want to steal Americans' wealth. Retrieved November 11, 2020, from https://www.businessinsider.com/tucker-carlson-says-immigrants-have-plundered-the-us-2019-5
Rodriguez, A. (2019, August 08). Fox News host Tucker Carlson says white supremacy is 'not a real problem in America'. Retrieved November 11, 2020, from https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/08/07/fox-host-tucker-carlson-white-supremacy-not-real-problem-america/1941585001/
Rueb, E., & Taylor, D. (2019, August 08). Tucker Carlson of Fox Falsely Calls White Supremacy a 'Hoax'. Retrieved November 11, 2020, from https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/08/business/media/tucker-carlson-white-supremacy.html
Murdock, D. (2020, August 28). Deroy Murdock: Trump and racism – Republican Convention's answer to this big lie. Retrieved November 11, 2020, from https://www.foxnews.com/opinion/trump-racism-repubican-convention-answer-lie-deroy-murdock
Ember, S. (2017, April 25). 11 Sue Fox News, Citing 'Intolerable' Racial Bias. Retrieved November 11, 2020, from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/25/business/media/fox-news-racial-discrimination-lawsuit.html
Cranley, E. (2019, September 27). All the most controversial things Fox News host Tucker Carlson has said over the years. Retrieved November 11, 2020, from https://www.businessinsider.com/tucker-carlson-controversies-comments-immigrants-women-fox-news-2019-3