After Tucker Carlson Trailer Aired: 'Not Sure How We Can Stay'

Fox News contributors Jonah Goldberg, Stephen Hayes quit over Carlson's series about Jan. 6 riot
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 22, 2021 8:11 AM CST
After Tucker Carlson Trailer Aired: 'Not Sure How We Can Stay'
In this March 2, 2017, file photo, Tucker Carlson, host of "Tucker Carlson Tonight," poses for photos in a Fox News Channel studio in New York.   (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, and Geraldo Rivera have all blasted Tucker Carlson's Patriot Purge, a controversial program about the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol that streamed on Fox Nation. Now, add two Fox News contributors to that list—or, rather, former Fox News contributors. The New York Times reports Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes, two former conservative columnists who've worked with Fox News since 2009, have resigned, citing Patriot Purge as the final straw that led to their decision. The show "is a collection of incoherent conspiracy-mongering, riddled with factual inaccuracies, half-truths, deceptive imagery, and damning omissions," the two write in a blog post for the Dispatch, the online publication they founded.

"Fox News still does real reporting, and there are still responsible conservatives providing valuable opinion and analysis," the men add. "But the voices of the responsible are being drowned out by the irresponsible." The Times details a text exchange Goldberg and Hayes had at the end of October, when the trailer for Patriot Purge—which suggests, among other things, that the Jan. 6 violence was a "false flag" organized by the government—first aired. "I'm tempted just to quit Fox over this," Goldberg messaged Hayes, who responded, "I'm game. Totally outrageous. It will lead to violence. Not sure how we can stay."

Goldberg tells the Times they'd both hoped after Trump lost the election that Fox would begin distancing itself from him and start to "right the ship." Once Patriot Purge aired, they realized there was no way they could stay at the network they've both contributed to for more than a decade, and which has become increasingly infiltrated with Trump acolytes. "With the release of Patriot Purge, we felt we could no longer 'do right as we see it' and remain at Fox News," they write in their post. "This is our last recourse. We do not regret our decision, even if we find it regrettably necessary."

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CNN's Brian Stelter rounds up reaction from within conservative circles on the men's resignations, including from Cheney, who tweeted Sunday night: "Thank you ... for standing up for truth and calling out dangerous lies." Sources also tell NPR that there are even more at Fox upset about the special, including longtime hosts Bret Baier and Chris Wallace, and that their concerns have reached Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch (who didn't answer NPR's request for comment). As for Carlson himself, when reached by the Times, he called Goldberg and Hayes' defection "great news" and added, "Our viewers will be grateful." (More Tucker Carlson stories.)

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