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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 earlier this month: Network star Tucker Carlson’s three-part series on the U.S. Capitol headquarters on January 6 that relied on 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 since 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, the resignations reflect a larger uproar within Fox News over Carlson’s “Patriot Purge” series and its increasingly strident positions, as well as the network’s willingness to let go. its opinion stars make paranoid false statements against President Biden, his administration and his supporters.
Senior Fox News reporters warned network executives
Senior figures on the Fox news side, including political presenters Bret Baier and Chris Wallace, have voiced their objections to Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and its news chairman Jay Wallace. Those objections were raised to Lachlan Murdoch, the chairman and CEO of the network’s parent company, Fox Corporation. Through a senior spokesperson, Scott and Wallace declined to comment. Murdoch did not return a request for comment through a spokesperson.
Goldberg said he had been assured by Fox news executives that as Trump left Washington DC after his 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. 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 pay-per-view streaming service “Fox Nation” in late October.
“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 it 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 says. “And that the federal government was going to use the tools and tactics it attacked 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.
When 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. . “I think their departure will make the channel a whole lot better. Nobody wants to watch such stupid comments.”
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 were able to see prominent Fox reporters distance themselves from Carlson’s series immediately after the promotional videos first aired.
The Friday before the release of “Patriot Purge”, Baier aired a segment on the insurgency investigation by Veteran National Security Correspondent Jennifer Griffin. The featured interviews dismissed allegations of a so-called “false flag attack” – that is, violent left-wing activists such as antifa claiming to be Trump fans as they attacked Capitol Hill.
The day before the show’s launch, Wallace aired an interview on Fox News Sunday with Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney, one of Trump’s top Republican critics. She is one of two GOP members of the House committee investigating the insurgency in Congress.
The “Patriot Purge” relied on known peddlers of baseless conspiracies, people who sought out the company of white supremacists who would not be allowed to appear as credible sources by Fox reporting teams.
Goldberg said he and Hayes could no longer tolerate the savage allegations being transmitted, broadcast and streamed 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 Standard Weekly and the National review, respectively. They recently joined forces to found the conservative anti-Trump site The Dispatch. Hayes, the media’s founding CEO and editor, and Goldberg, its editor, say the site is meant to appeal to curators with fact-based commentary and information.
” We launched The Dispatch in part to model behavior that we believe was increasingly lacking on the right, especially in the conservative media, “Goldberg said. He said the online magazine was” not beholden to a partisan agenda, not just looking to monetize dopamine hits by making people angry. “