Carlson: It Will Likely All Boil Down To Posturing…
The Gretchen Carlson lawsuit against Roger Ailes is only hours old so we’re still in she said/he said territory without any meaningful corroborating evidence to chew on. So anything I or anyone else who writes about this story can say is based on that jello-ish bedrock of “conjecture”. Given that proviso, here’s what I note…
– The slow to react nature of FNC’s response was atypical. This suggests that team FNC was either caught off-gaurd by the lawsuit’s filing or needed more time than usual to co-ordinate with the Murdochs in how to respond. Some will read into this that there’s actual fire to Carlson’s smoke. I don’t think you can take that theory to the bank.
– The fact that Ailes’ statement included the word “defamatory” suggests or implies the possibility of a counter-suit.
– Ailes is fiercely loyal to those who are loyal to him. The number of high profile ex-FNC employees to fall out with the network you could count on one hand with fingers to spare. I bring this up because Carlson would be the biggest on-air talent to have public issues with the network. Carlson isn’t the first high profile talent to get dropped by the network or defect from the network. Paula Zahn defected and got roasted for it. Kiran Chetry, or her agent, played a high stakes game of contract chicken with the network, and got roasted for it. Alexis Glick got dropped by FBN and the reason immediately leaked out…in effect getting roasted.
That’s what sets Carlson apart from the others…the delay in the roasting. It was a full week before she got roasted and it only happened because of the lawsuit. I find this difference significant. I just can’t tell what that significance means.
But Carlson’s tenure at FNC indicates that she was valued for a very long time. Something changed that equation and it would seem to me that ratings alone isn’t the reason because loyalty would dictate that FNC find some way to turn the situation around if ratings were the problem…provided Carlson agreed to the changes (if any were suggested).
– I noted it earlier but I’ll go into greater detail now; you can just about take to the bank that Carlson’s lawsuit never makes it to trial. If there’s real ammo behind Carlson’s lawsuit, FNC will settle to keep it quiet…with some sort of a payout wrapped up in an iron clad confidentiality agreement. This is a tactic we’ve seen before with Judith Regan and Brian Lewis.
If there’s nothing to Carlson’s lawsuit and Ailes does counter sue, this never makes it to trial. Both sides will settle.
Either way I don’t see this getting to court.
– Carlson should know that taking this step will most likely end her broadcast career. If she didn’t know it, she’s been poorly advised. No prospective employer is going to take on a talent with a known history of litigation against ex-employers…regardless of the merits of their case.
– One last point, though this doesn’t necessarily relate to the lawsuit. By now it should be plainly obvious to all but the blind that Ailes, and by extension FNC, views the real lynchpins of Fox and Friends to be Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade. They are the one constants on that show. E.D. Hill got moved off and eventually dropped from the network. Carlson replaced her and eventually was moved off and then dropped years after. Next came Elisabeth Hasselbeck who took over for Carlson. She left of her own volition and was replaced by Ainsley Earhardt. Doocy and Kilmeade are the show’s anchors. The middle seat is a revolving door.