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Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson reflects on today's hyper-partisan TV environment and why her new podcast is aimed at audiences in the middle

  • Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson marked her return to daily-news programming last month with the debut of her podcast, "Get the News with Gretchen Carlson," on political-podcast network Quake Media.
  • Carlson spoke with Business Insider about getting back into the daily-news game and the future of news media.
  • She said the evolution of opinion TV helped create the hyper-partisan atmosphere that surrounded the most recent US presidential election and that she hoped to strike a different tone with her podcast.
  • "I think that there's a huge swath of Americans out there who are looking for something that is down the middle, even more so now," Carlson said.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

After four years on the sidelines, former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson marked her return to daily-news programming last month with the debut of her podcast, "Get the News with Gretchen Carlson," on political-podcast platform Quake Media.

Carlson stepped back from daily cable-TV news after she was fired from Fox News in 2016 and then sued the network's chairman Roger Ailes alleging sexual harassment. Carlson's lawsuit, and the other women who came forward with allegations against Ailes in its aftermath, led to Ailes' once-unthinkable ouster from the cable-news behemoth he helped build. He died in 2017.

It's not that Carlson has been quiet for the last four years — quite the opposite. After Fox News settled and apologized on behalf of Ailes for $20 million in 2016, she's advocated against toxic-workplace cultures through the nonprofit she cofounded Lift Our Voices, pushed Congress for a bill that could end forced arbitration in sexual-harassment cases, hosted and produced the docuseries "Breaking the Silence," and became a contributor on "People (the TV Show!)."

But she's been content to stay out of the cable-news whirlwind.

"I was somewhat relieved over the last four years to not be doing a daily cable-news TV show because there was just a lot of craziness going on," Carlson told Business Insider. "It was kind of nice to be on the sidelines and watching every perspective."

Since exiting Fox News, Carlson, who said she's a registered independent, said the hyper-partisan news environment made her want to watch the daily news cycle from her living room (like the rest of the country), rather than participate in it herself.

'We have to get back to the facts'

Carlson said the evolution of opinion TV helped create the hyper-partisan atmosphere that surrounded the most recent US presidential election.

"I think that opinion TV was brilliant when it first started 15, 20 years ago," Carlson said. "But now it's devolved into people only wanting to watch what they agree with. And so that's all they watch. And that I believe has become detrimental for our nation."

"I think that there's a huge swath of Americans out there who are looking for something that is down the middle, even more so now," Carlson said.

Carlson strives to strike that down-the-middle tone with her new 10-minute daily podcast on the subscription podcast platform Quake.

She said she wants to deliver facts and headlines of the day without inflammatory commentary, and offer a touch of inspiration with weekly interviews of women who are making differences in their communities, good-news highlights twice a week, and fun facts on Fridays. 

She added: "I'm hopeful that we can actually come together again as a nation — and I'm not trying to be a Pollyanna, I actually believe that that we can — but we have to get back to the facts."

Carlson was drawn back to the daily-news game when Quake Media, which launched in October with a focus on politics, approached her with the opportunity to deliver the news the way she wanted to. She said she also liked that the platform was planning to feature a range of political viewpoints.

History has its eyes on the news media

Carlson said she wouldn't be surprised to see more conservative-news outlets pop up. Insider previously reported that Jared Kushner was considering launching a President Donald Trump-themed news outlet.

"I'm not surprised that there would be more competition," Carlson said. "I always felt that way working at Fox, when it was the only so-called conservative outlet, that America is all about competition."

But Carlson also said she thinks audiences are craving something different from their news today, and that this moment could shape the future of news media. 

"History will have a fascinating time with this," Carlson said. "In 20 years, if they look back over the last 40 to 50 years and see how we got here from straight news to opinion news. And then, will we roll back, or will it continue to just be hyper-partisan?"

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