When Fox News announced on April 24 that it was parting ways with its highly rated primetime host Tucker Carlson, it sent shockwaves across media and politics. The move remains perplexing, and it is even more curious when put in the context of the other moves the network made around that time. In addition to Carlson, Fox News and former U.S. Secret Service agent Dan Bongino ended their relationship. Late last year, the cable news channel severed ties with former President Donald Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump, who was a contributor.
This led many to question the direction of Fox News. “[Dan’s] gone, Tucker’s gone, and there are a lot of questions over there now about what Fox is doing because they also cut ties with people like Lara Trump,” Megyn noted. “A lot of people wonder whether Fox is doing this intentionally without owning the fact that they’re trying to cleanse themselves of people who were openly supportive of Trump or the new MAGA Republican Party… and trying to get back to their quote ‘establishment’ roots.”
On Friday’s show, Bongino joined Megyn for his first interview since leaving Fox News. He explained what really happened, whether he sees any tie-in to Carlson’s situation, and what the future of media looks like.
Why Dan Bongino and Fox News Parted Ways
On April 20, Fox News announced it had parted ways with Bongino, who had hosted an hour-long Saturday program on the network since 2021. Prior to that, he was a regular contributor. Bongino is an unabashed Trump supporter, which is why many questioned the network’s motive.
Bongino told Megyn, however, that his support of GOP presidential hopeful had nothing to do with anything. “People think this may be some kind of anti-Trump thing. I gotta say, that wasn’t my case… I was not targeted,” he explained. “All the liberal jerkwads are going to go, ‘Oh damn, Bongino was fired.’ I just give them the middle finger… They’re just making it up.”
As he explained, he negotiated with Fox News for the better part of a year and the network was eager to resign him. The decision to part ways ultimately came down to schedule. “They wanted the show. I just had a different vision for my role at the network – and that’s okay,” Bongino shared. “I’m not the Saturday guy… I’ve got young kids, and I’m not working six days a week… I said, ‘I’m sorry, that’s not going to work out.’”
It was because of his other ventures in the ‘new’ media space that he was able to walk away. “I’ve got my own stuff, I’ve got my own investments, I’ve got Rumble. I’ve got my podcast, my radio show,” he added. “I was in a position with them where I could walk away from a show on Fox.” In the end, Bongino said Fox News was “good” to him and he “enjoyed” his time there.
The Future of Fox News
Megyn speculated that Fox News is “regretting” its decision to let Bongino go because of the ratings free fall it has been in since taking Carlson off the air. “You’re one of the people they could have slid into that eight o’clock time slot and won back over those angry viewers,” she said. “Fox is in no danger of going out of business, but they’re being taught a lesson right now by a very angry audience and I support the lesson.”
Bongino said that firing Carlson was an “enormous catastrophic mistake” on the part of Fox News, but, as he explained, it’s rooted in a lack of understanding of the evolving media landscape. “I just don’t think they understand that a lot of people in cable news are fighting yesterday’s war. They beat CNN… number one for 20 years… that fight has been won,” he said. “[CNN and MSNBC are] not the problem. Now, you’re the problem, podcast, Rumble, YouTube, Twitter with Elon [Musk] – that’s the problem. The space has been totally disaggregated.”
While Bongino believes traditional media has “been broken apart,” he wants to see Fox News succeed. “We need Fox, we need a healthy conservative alternative, and Newsmax is doing great – I’m not knocking them, their audience is exploding – but it’s still, even with people leaving Fox, not Fox’s audience,” he explained. “Fox needs to explain what happened with Tucker. You can’t leave this out there in the ether because people are filling in the blanks.”
The Future of Media
Megyn and Bongino agreed that one of the reasons Fox News is experiencing such turmoil without Carlson is because of the way the media has changed. While they might technically have programs that air at the same time on satellite and terrestrial radio, it does not impact the ability to hear from either of them because of podcast platforms, YouTube, Rumble, and the like. “You say that we’re on the same time – nobody even knows that,” Megyn noted. “They just download the Dan Bongino Show, and they can listen to you. They can listen to me.”
Younger audiences who already favor streaming to linear television may be the early adopters of this new media, but Bongino believes everyone will be there soon enough. “The advantage Newsmax and Fox still have over us is there’s a generation of 40-plus – me included – who are not that tech savvy, they are used to one button, and they keep Fox or Newsmax on all day,” he explained. “It’s not a problem for the kids. They know exactly what to do.” Once smart TVs become more commonplace, Bongino predicted “the cord cutting is going to be apocalyptic.”
That is why Megyn thinks Fox News has “gotten too big for their own britches” with its handling of Carlson and Bongino. “They think they’re the Fox News of 10 years ago… but they no longer have a monopoly for all the reasons you just stated,” she concluded. “So, some humility would serve them well right now.”
You can check out the full interview with Bongino by tuning in to episode 554 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.