Two prominent conservative journalists have quit their jobs at Fox News in response to recent reporting by Tucker Carlson.
Longtime reporters Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes, best known as the minds behind the conservative website The Dispatch, turned in their walking papers this week over Carlson’s reporting. In a statement, the pair accuse Carlson and Fox News of consciously using Carlson’s “Patriot Purge” report to spread lies and misinformation about the January 6 Capitol Insurrection.
“It’s basically saying that the Biden regime is coming after half the country, and this is the War on Terror 2.0,” Goldberg told NPR. “It traffics in all manner of innuendo and conspiracy theories that I think legitimately could lead to violence. That, for me and for Steve, was the last straw.”
“I thought it was irresponsible to put that out into the public airwaves,” Hayes echoed. “The trailer [for “Patriot Purge”] basically gave people the impression that the U.S. government was coming after all patriots — half of the country, in the word of one of the protagonists in the piece. And that the federal government was going to be using the tools and tactics that it used to go after Al-Qaida. And that’s not happening. That’s not true.”
“It’s a narrative that’s contradicted by certainly the vast collection of legal documents charging those who participated in January 6,” Hayes continued, “the broad reporting by a wide variety of news outlets on what happened on January 6 then and in the time since — and contradicted in part by Fox News’ own news site and the reporting that people on the news side have done.”
“Being a Fox contributor is kind of a brass ring in conservative and right-wing circles, and I was well-compensated,” Goldberg further lamented. “I’m not looking to be a martyr or ask for pity or any of that kind of stuff. But it’s a significant financial hit, for sure. And it’s also cutting yourself off from a very large audience. We don’t regret the decision, but we found it regrettable that we had to make the decision.”
Goldberg and Hayes had been with Fox News since 2009. The departure of Goldberg and Hayes is just the latest criticism lobbied against Tucker Carlson for spreading misinformation on his television show. Earlier this year, video of Carlson in a fishing store went viral when a viewer confronted him over spreading lies about COVID-19 vaccines. Carlson also attracted wide criticism for telling viewers to call police if they saw parents make their children wear face masks during the pandemic.
Furthermore, Goldberg and Hayes are not the first journalists to leave Fox News over its spread of false information. Former Fox anchor Shep Smith very publicly left the network in 2019 citing the spread of misinformation by fellow anchors, including Tucker Carlson.