Tucker Carlson may not know it yet, but he is about to become irrelevant after his Fox News dismissal.
I make that prediction in full knowledge that Carlson still appears to have the conservative world at his feet following his abrupt dismissal by the Murdoch clan last week.
The reasons for the termination are shrouded in mystery, but there is no mistaking the impact. The Proud Boy of Prime Time is gone.
He will follow a well-trodden path to irrelevance as predecessors Bill O'Reilly, Glenn Beck, and Meghan Kelly have done in the past. They too were once considered invincible, yet their removal from power and influence was a salutary tale for anyone who came after.
The lesson? You can never sleep peacefully in the Fox’s lair.
Too late the Tuckers of this world discover the Murdoch boys hold all the cards. Fact is, without the key prime-time presence on a major cable network, Tucker and his ilk count for little. The Murdoch caravan quickly moves on, leaving only a cloud of dust and bewildered ex-golden boys and girls in its wake.
Sure the pundits will continue to rattle off the extraordinary opportunities the former most popular Fox host can create, and there is no doubt that millions of dollars await the new iteration of Carlson.
But he will have far less power to shift the debate or influence a president, create a tone, get private briefings in the Oval Office.
Given the loss of power, the money is not worth much. The truth is the same fate awaits Carlson as befell Kelly, Beck, and O’Reilly.
All were cast out into the darkness where they came face to face with a hash new world. The money is great but the inability to shape the debate is not. Carlson is about to learn that it is so much more about the influence and access than the money.
So the clarion calls for Carlson to build a new, more powerful media machine will fall on deaf ears. If you are off Fox primetime you are no longer central to the great debates of our time.
Carlson became the highly visible cheerleader for Trump, even advising the former president on matters great and small. He had reached the pinnacle until the tap on the shoulder and the order to quit came down.
That Tucker pinnacle has just crashed and it will never be rebuilt. Just ask O’Reilly, whose opinions aren’t worth a dime given the utter lack of influence he wields. He is in the minor league compared to Carlson, but Tucker just got sent back down from the majors.
Kelly and Beck are paler versions of the same story. The golden years long passed, they exist mainly as an abject lesson in how quickly the primetime pretenders are ruthlessly removed when their time is up.
Now Tucker is just like them, another former Fox host, a sinking ship who has suddenly lost all his importance and joined the gaggle of former big mouths.
Like the others, he never saw the cannonball heading in his direction until it exploded and changed his world. The preppy pretender had overstepped the mark and considered himself more powerful than the dark star that is the Murdoch family.
Now he is cast afloat in an endless ocean. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy than Tucker Swanson McNear Carlson.
*This column first appeared in the May 3 edition of the weekly Irish VOice newspaper, sister publication to IrishCentral.