Tucker Carlson fired from Fox, Don Lemon fired from CNN.
NAACP sues Mississippi over “separate and unequal” policing in Jackson.
Tucker Carlson fired from Fox, Don Lemon fired from CNN
Within minutes of one another, news broke that two polarizing figures in broadcast media were “parting ways” with their respective networks. It now appears that both were fired and that their partings were not amicable. However, the twin firings appear to be a coincidence. Neither network was aware that the other was about to let their contributors go.
First, it was reported that Tucker Carlson was leaving Fox News. Carlson has reigned supreme as one of Fox’s most popular anchors, and often its most controversial. He never met a conspiracy theory that he didn’t like, or at least would not embrace on air. The announcement indicated that Carlson’s broadcast this past Friday would be his last. He would not have a chance for a final “goodbye” broadcast to his millions of viewers.
Following the announcement of Carlson’s departure, many commentators linked it to Fox’s $787 million defamation settlement with Dominion Voting Systems last week. Like several Fox personalities, Carlson had promoted the conspiracy theory about voter fraud in the 2020 election. In the weeks before the trial was to take place, texts from Carlson revealed that he did not believe the fraud accusations, despite his on-air statements.
However, reporting from the LA Times suggests Carlson’s ouster was linked to a discrimination lawsuit from a former Fox News producer. The producer, Abby Grossman, was fired after her allegations that the network had pressured her into giving false testimony in the lead-up to the Dominion case.
The Times also reported that Fox chairman Rupert Murdoch himself gave the order to fire Carlson. Murdoch apparently had concerns about Carlson’s promotion of the belief that the Jan. 6 riots were provoked by federal agents.
Doubtless there will be more reporting about this in the coming days which may or may not provide further clarity.
Just minutes after the news of Carlson’s departure, CNN announced that their anchor Don Lemon would be leaving the network. Lemon soon released a statement fuming about his firing. Lemon tweeted that he was “stunned” by his firing and bemoaned the fact that he’d learned the news from his agent. “After 17 years at CNN I would have thought that someone in management would have had the decency to tell me directly,” Lemon wrote.
CNN subsequently refuted Lemon’s statement. “Lemon’s statement about this morning’s events is inaccurate,” according to a statement from the network. The statement added that Lemon, “was offered an opportunity to meet with management but instead released a statement on Twitter”.
Back in February, Lemon had made a disparaging comment on air about GOP Presidential candidate Nikki Haley’s age. Accusations of ageism and misogyny prompted CNN to take Lemon off the air for a few weeks while he received sensitivity training. Lemon had since returned to his gig co-hosting the network’s morning show. He appeared on the show this morning as normal hours before news broke of his firing.
It’s not clear if there’s any connection between Lemon’s firing and his statements about Haley. Back before the midterm elections, Lemon lost his prime-time slot hosting “Don Lemon Tonight” and was moved to the new “CNN This Morning” program. Many at the time saw this move as a demotion for Lemon. The ratings for “CNN This Morning” have been less than stellar. There have also been accusations of off-air outbursts from Lemon at his female “This Morning” co-hosts, months before his comments about Haley.
NAACP sues Mississippi over “separate and unequal” policing in Jackson
Last Friday, Gov. Tate Reeves signed into law two controversial measures, H.B. 1020 and S.B. 2343. H.B. 1020 establishes an unelected criminal court jurisdiction in what’s being called the Capitol Complex Improvement District (CCID). This district will be separate from Jackson’s own court system and its judge will be appointed by the Chief Justice of Mississippi Supreme Court (currently a conservative white man).
S.B 2343 expands the jurisdiction of the state-run Capitol Police. The law gives Capitol Police primary jurisdiction in the CCID and co-jurisdiction with the Jackson PD in the rest of the city. Capitol Police shot four people in Jackson last year, two of them fatally. Since the agency operates outside the city’s jurisdiction, there has been little transparency on the circumstances of these shootings.
These laws effectively disenfranchise the citizens of Jackson, 83% Black, from matters of law enforcement in their city. About half of Jackson’s white citizenry lives within the CCID. The CCID is also relatively affluent and contains much of the city’s higher-end commercial establishments, where many of the city’s Black citizens come to work every day.
Critics call new laws unconstitutional.
Shortly after Reeves signed these bills into law, the NAACP filed suit in federal court. The suit says the new laws “radically and unconstitutionally circumscribe the ability of Jackson’s singled-out, majority-Black residents to live as full citizens with full rights in their own city”.
“Under this new regime and unlike in any other jurisdiction in Mississippi,” the suit reads, “in certain areas of Jackson, a citizen can be arrested by a police department led by a State-appointed official, be charged by a State-appointed prosecutor, be tried before a State-appointed judge, and be sentenced to imprisonment in a State penitentiary regardless of the severity of the act”.
The suit names Reeves, Department of Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell, Capitol Police Chief Bo Luckey, Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael Randolph and Attorney General Lynn Fitch as defendants. NAACP President Derrick Johnson is a Mississippi native and Jackson resident.
Why is the crime rate so high?
Reeves has defended the new legislation and its apparent singling out of Jackson with the false claim that Jackson accounts for half of the murders in the state of Mississippi. Brandon Miller of the political consulting firm Chism Strategies debunks this claim. According to data from the CDC, “Mississippi had 576 murders in 2020 – the highest murder rate of any state,” with 128, or 22%, of those being in Jackson. “And to be clear, that’s really high,” Miller wrote. “But even if you take Jackson out of the statistics, Mississippi would still be No. 2 in murder rate.”
One of the biggest contributors to the state’s high murder rate is the inability to close cases. This is due in part to a massive backlog at the state crime lab, which is chronically underfunded. The authors of this new bill haven’t apportioned a single new penny for the crime lab. Last year, the state legislature approved $4 million to address the backlog. However, all this money went to independent contractors, mostly out of state.