Jonah Goldberg, an Fox News longtime contributor, and Stephen Hayes, a Fox News veteran, have decided to quit the network in protest of Tucker Carlson’s Fox Nation special “Patriot Purge”, which was about Jan. 6’s riot at Capitol. They cited concern that the program would “lead towards violence,” according to a Sunday’s New York Times report.
After the Fox Nation trailer was released, Goldberg and Hayes exchanged text messages. Ben Smith, a Times media columnist, wrote that Goldberg told Hayes that he felt tempted to quit Fox because of this. Hayes replied, “I am game.” It’s completely absurd. It will only lead to violence. We aren’t sure how to stay.
“Patriot Purge,” a documentary that focuses on the Jan. 6 Capitol Riot, is three-part. It contains conspiracy theories and a variety of lies about the event. One of these lies is that the riot was a “False Flag” operation to make conservatives look bad. Both men resigned after appearing on Fox’s online streaming service, Nov. 1.
Fox News spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request.
Goldberg and Hayes were both veterans of the Weekly Standard writer and the National Review. However, they seem increasingly out of place within the GOP landscape in 2021. Two years ago, they founded the online newspaper The Dispatch to provide conservative, fact-based news and commentary.
Goldberg told the Times that he and Hayes stayed at Fox because conversations at the network lead them to believe that it would attempt to “recover its independence and, as he put it, ‘right the ship.’” But, instead, Goldberg said that Carlson’s “Patriot Purge” was “a sign that people have made peace with this direction of things, and there is no plan, at least, that anyone made me aware of for a course correction.”
Rupert Murdoch, Fox Corporation chairman, resigned after he stated last week at the annual News Corp investor meeting that Trump was preventing him from achieving his goal to advance a conservative political agenda.
“It is crucial that conservatives play an active, forceful role in that debate, but that will not happen if President Trump stays focused on the past. The past is the past, and the country is now in a contest to define the future,” Murdoch said in remarks that were not made public at the time but have since been reported by multiple outlets.
Since its inception, Carlson’s “Patriot Purge,” which was launched by Fox News, has been criticized harshly. The Anti-Defamation League called on Fox News to cancel it. In a letter to Lachlan Murdoch, Fox Corporation CEO Jonathan A. Greenblatt stated that “Let’s call it what it is: An abject, irrefutable lie and a blatant effort to rewrite the history.” Greenblatt expressed concern that the “false narrative” and “wild conspiracy theories” in “Patriot Purge could “sow further discord” and “animate violence.”
“There are a few on-air personalities at Fox who push back at the numerous conspiracy theories floating out there, many of which are given flight by former President Trump,” Greenblatt continued. “But the reality is that the network’s viewers are, in large part, Trump loyalists. Decrying the conspiracy theories and alienating Trump would alienate a chunk of their audience.”