Fall Out Boy Didn't Start the Fire, Jesse Watters Takes Tucker Carlson's Slot, CNN Has a Weird RFK Jr. Video
"... ISIS / LeBron James / Shinzo Abe / Blown Away ..."
Hello readers. It’s your friendly neighborhood Parker with today’s newsletter.
The Big Story: Fox News unveils the network’s primetime lineup for the post-Tucker Carlson era.
After weeks of trying out new hosts in Carlson’s old slot, Fox kept things in-house and announced that Jesse Watters, who had been hosting Jesse Watters Primetime at 7 p.m. on weeknights, would be moving his show to Carlson’s old 8 p.m. timeslot.
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I’ve written a little bit about Watters in the past. You can check that out here:
If you’re not a regular Fox News viewer (but you are familiar with his name), your first introduction to Watters probably came in October 2016, when Fox News's The O’Reilly Factor aired an incredibly racist segment in which Watters conducted various offensive man-on-the-street interviews with people in New York’s Chinatown. The segment contained stereotypical “Asian” music1
After it aired, The Daily Show’s Ronny Chieng tore into Watters and the segment. Give that a watch:
And I figure that even if you’re not a Fox News viewer, it might still be helpful to get an idea of what Fox News viewers will be seeing when they tune in to find out what they’re supposed to be angry about.
I think the more interesting aspect of Fox’s shake-up has to do with the slot Watters is vacating, which will be filled by Laura Ingraham’s The Ingraham Angle moving from 10 p.m. to 7 p.m. Ingraham is very angry, regularly says things that are just as bad, if not worse, than what Carlson or Hannity would say on air, and just… isn’t someone I imagine will be a good lead-in to Watters unless Watters, himself, plans to take a darker and more visibly angry tone.
Media Matters has a fairly extensive rundown of some of Watters’ “greatest hits” of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc.
The full list is here (please click through), but I’ll share a handful of the more eye-popping examples below:
June 2023: Watters continues to baselessly claim that the 2020 election was rigged, falsely accusing the FBI of “rigging elections and then doing fake investigations that drag on for years” to give Democrats victories.
May 2023: Watters claims he can tell whether someone is undocumented by looking at them because he’s a “city guy.”
May 2023: Watters spread the lie that Target was selling “tuck-friendly” bathing suits for children, which fueled right-wing rage at the retailer.
January 2023: Watters argued that schools shouldn’t teach Black history after the 1950s because “it’s all activism. It’s all ideology. It’s no history.”
October 2022: In response to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez responding to hecklers at a town hall, Watters said that she “went full taco.”
September 2022: Watters baselessly claimed that Joe Biden and the FBI “rigged the last election” to defeat Trump.
May 2022: Following the leak of the Supreme Court’s Dobbs ruling, which would overturn Roe v. Wade, Watters mocked “women who are past their prime, who can’t even get pregnant,” yet advocate for abortion rights.
December 2020: Just days before the January 6 insurrection, Watters told his viewers, “We used to storm the castle over abuses of power like this,” and urged them to “relight that great American spirit. Let's stand up to this den of thieves because they'll just keep robbing us blind until we actually do something about it.”
February 2017: Watters spoke in defense of Trump’s Muslim ban, telling an imam, “You have to admit there is a Muslim problem in the world.”
June 2014: Watters suggested that statutory rape is okay if the victim is a boy and the perpetrator is an attractive woman, adding, “You usually get high-fives.” (This is a position that Carlson, Greg Gutfeld, and others on the right have shared.)
The list could go on and on. The tl;dr of it is that Watters is just a younger, marginally less intense, significantly more frat boy-ish version of Carlson. There are pages and pages of Watters comments (in context, with transcripts) over at Media Matters, which you can check out if you’re interested.
The Rest: “We Didn’t Start the Fire,” CNN embarrasses itself with a weird pro-RFK Jr. post, and Disney’s Hall of Presidents
Kind of an odd assortment of news here, but these stories interested me enough to want to include them.
“World Trade / Second plane / What else do I have to say?”
Yes, that’s a line from Fall Out Boy’s updated version of Billy Joel’s 1989 song, “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” Unlike Joel’s original, the Fall Out Boy version isn’t in chronological order. Because of this, you get lyrics like “More war in Afghanistan / Cubs go all the way again / Obama / Spielberg / Explosion / Lebanon / Unabomber / Bobbit, John / Bombing Boston Marathon / Balloon Boy / War on Terror / QAnon.” And, hey, to be fair, those are all news stories from 1989 to 2023.
The song is all in good fun, though. Personally, I like it when bands get to the stage in their careers where they do something extraordinarily corny just because they want to. And, again, in fairness, FOB has been at that stage for a very long time (Let’s not forget their 2008 cover of “Beat It.”)
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