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Two longtime Fox News conservative commentators have resigned in protest against what they call a model of inflammatory and fabricated statements by the network’s opinion leaders in favor of former President Donald Trump.
In separate interviews with NPR, Stephen Hayes and Jonah Goldberg pointed to a breaking point this month: Network star Tucker Carlson’s three-part series on the U.S. Capitol headquarters on January 6, which relied on inventions and conspiracy theories. to exonerate Trump supporters who participated in the attack.
“It basically says the Biden regime is going after half the country and it’s War on Terror 2.0,” Goldberg told NPR. “It deals with all kinds of innuendo and conspiracy theories that I think could legitimately lead to violence. That for me and for Steve was the last straw.”
Hayes has been a close friend of Fox News political presenter Bret Baier since graduating from DePauw University; he and Goldberg were the pillars of Baier Special report after joining the network in 2009. Together, Hayes and Goldberg co-founded the conservative news site The Dispatch.
According to five people with first-hand knowledge, quits reflect greater uproar within Fox News over Carlson’s series Purge of the Patriots and its increasingly strident positions, and the network’s willingness to let its opinion stars make paranoid false statements against President Biden, his administration and his supporters.
Senior Fox News reporters warned network executives
Veteran figures on the Fox news side, including political presenters Baier and Chris Wallace, have shared their objections with Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and news chairman Jay Wallace. These objections were raised to Lachlan Murdoch, the chairman and CEO of the network’s parent company, Fox Corp. Through a senior spokesperson, Scott and Wallace declined to comment. Murdoch did not return a request for comment through a spokesperson. A senior Fox News executive later said the contracts of the two contributors would not have been resumed after their scheduled expiration next year.
Goldberg said he had been assured by Fox news executives that as Trump left Washington, DC after his election defeat, the network would cut back on inflammatory comments and allegations.
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Instead, Goldberg says, Fox’s election analysts’ decision to be the first to predict Biden would win Arizona on election night last November has led network stars, including Carlson, to demonstrate their dedication. towards Trump and his most adamant fans. And that has led Fox’s opinion stars to take increasingly indefensible positions, argues Goldberg. (Fox News is currently facing two multibillion-dollar lawsuits from voting technology companies alleging they were vilified by network hosts and guests who supported Trump’s grandiose and bogus allegations of voter fraud. Fox filed motions to dismiss both lawsuits.)
Fox News also dumped its political bureau leaders, fired a group of researchers, and installed a new 7 p.m. Opinion Time, moving news anchor Martha MacCallum from that hour to a less visible mid-post time slot. midday. 11pm news anchor Shannon Bream has been pushed back to midnight in favor of Greg Gutfeld’s opinion-driven comedy show. All of these moves shifted the channel to even more Trump-friendly content, even as its news programs gently tried to correct the record of the 2020 election and the seat.
“It was irresponsible to broadcast this on the public airwaves”
Carlson’s Capitol Uprising series aired on Fox’s paid streaming service Fox Nation in early November.
“They have started to fight a new enemy in a new war on terror,” Carlson warned his viewers in the first episode. “Not, you have to understand, a metaphorical war, but a real war, soldiers and paramilitary agencies stalking American citizens.”
Promotional videos for the series aired on Fox News at the end of the week before setting off loud alarm bells across the network.
“I thought it was irresponsible to broadcast this on the public airwaves,” Hayes said.
“The teaser [for the series] basically gave people the impression that the US government was going after all patriots – half the country, in the words of one of the protagonists of the article, ”he said. “And that the federal government was going to use the tools and tactics it was using to attack al-Qaida. And that does not happen. This is not true. “
“This is a narrative which is certainly contradicted by the vast collection of legal documents accusing those who participated on January 6, the wide coverage by a wide variety of media on what happened on January 6 then and in time. since, and partly contradicted by Fox News’ own news site and the reporting that people on the news side have done, “he said.
Asked to comment on this story, Carlson said the departure of the two “will dramatically improve the chain.”
He also mocked the two men for exposing him for coming up with conspiracy theories: “These are two of the only people in the world who still claim the war in Iraq was a good idea,” Carlson wrote to NPR. . “Nobody wants to watch such a stupid comment.”
Carlson declined to comment on the objections of other prominent reporters on the network.
News programs stand out from Carlson’s on-air series
Viewers got to see prominent Fox reporters distance themselves from Carlson’s series without mentioning his name.
The Friday before the release of Purge of the Patriots, Baier aired a segment on the insurgency investigation by Veteran National Security Correspondent Jennifer Griffin. The featured interviews dismissed claims of a “false flag attack” – that is, violent left-wing activists such as antifa claiming to be Trump fans as they attacked the Capitol.
Wallace broadcast an interview on Fox News Sunday with Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, one of Trump’s top Republican critics, who also rejects these false claims. She is one of two GOP members of the House committee investigating the insurgency on Capitol Hill.
Purge of the Patriots relied on known peddlers of unfounded conspiracy theories, people who sought out the company of white supremacists who would not be cited as credible sources by Fox reporting teams.
Goldberg said he and Hayes could no longer tolerate the savage allegations being transmitted, broadcast and broadcast on Fox News.
“Being a Fox contributor is kind of a brass circle in conservative and right-wing circles, and I’ve been paid a lot,” Goldberg said. “I’m not trying to be a martyr or beg for mercy or anything like that. But it’s a big financial blow for sure. And it cuts you off from a very large audience as well. “
“We do not regret the decision. But we found it regrettable that we had to make the decision.”
Hayes and Goldberg were previously the principal editors of The weekly standard and the National exam, respectively. They recently joined forces to found the conservative anti-Trump site The Dispatch. Hayes, the store’s founding CEO and editor, and Goldberg, its editor, say the site is meant to appeal to curators with commentary and information that is completely fact-based.
“We started The Dispatch in part to model behavior that we thought was increasingly absent on the right, especially in conservative media,” Goldberg said. He says the online magazine is not “beholden to a partisan agenda, not just seeking to monetize dopamine shots by making people angry.”