At the end of the Fox News broadcast of Fox News Sunday, veteran reporter Chris Wallace made the startling announcement that he was leaving the network after 18 years.
“It is the last time, and I say this with real sadness, we will meet like this,” Wallace said.
Fox News released a statement, praising Wallace, saying, “We are extremely proud of our journalism and the stellar team that Chris Wallace was a part of for 18 years. The legacy of FOX News Sunday will continue with our star journalists, many of whom will rotate in the position until a permanent host is named.”
Wallace said he wants to “try something new” and to “go beyond” politics. The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Wallace will join the new CNN streaming service.
There is much turmoil on the news side of Fox News as some of the reporters are pushing back against Tucker Carlson’s series on the Jan. 6 riots. Carlson’s controversial and speculative theories have made several Fox editors and reporters uncomfortable. There are also complaints that many of the opinion segments have crossed the line into conspiracy-mongering and fact-free opinion.
Carlson’s dramatic mini-series has already led to two well-known reporters leaving the network.
The special—which ran on Fox’s subscription streaming service earlier this month and was promoted on Fox News—is presented in the style of an exposé, a hard-hitting piece of investigative journalism. In reality, it is a collection of incoherent conspiracy-mongering, riddled with factual inaccuracies, half-truths, deceptive imagery, and damning omissions. And its message is clear: The U.S. government is targeting patriotic Americans in the same manner —and with the same tools—that it used to target al Qaeda.
“The domestic war on terror is here. It’s coming after half of the country,” says one protagonist. “The left is hunting the right, sticking them in Guantanamo Bay for American citizens—leaving them there to rot,” says another, over video of an individual in an orange jumpsuit being waterboarded.
Wallace steered clear of controversy in his 18 years of Fox News. But he was clearly unhappy about the network’s association with Carlson’s documentary.
According to five people with direct knowledge, the resignations reflect larger tumult within Fox News over Carlson’s series Patriot Purge and his increasingly strident stances, and over the network’s willingness to let its opinion stars make false, paranoid claims against President Biden, his administration and his supporters.
Veteran figures on Fox’s news side, including political anchors Baier and Chris Wallace, shared their objections with Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and its president of news, Jay Wallace. Those objections rose to Lachlan Murdoch, the chairman and CEO of the network’s parent company, Fox Corp.
Allahpundit thinks it was probably a combination of things that led to Wallace’s exit.
It’s probably a combination. CNN might have made him a sweet deal to be the well-known face of its new venture and Wallace couldn’t say no given his dissatisfaction with the drift at Fox. Ironically, his decision to leave means the network’s identity will skew that much more towards opinion and away from news. But everyone has their limit. Evidently, Wallace reached his.
Wallace worked in TV news for more than 45 years. Because of his career in network news with NBC and ABC, he carried with him a certain amount of respect from other journalists that other Fox talking heads didn’t have.
But Fox programming — as evidenced by the Tucker Carlson documentary — has gone far beyond Wallace and his connection to the mainstream. The network has cast its lot with Donald Trump, and its fortunes will rise and fall based on what happens to the former president.
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