Pair of Fox contributors quit network over Tucker Carlson special on Jan. 6 breach

Two Fox News contributors have quit the network over host Tucker Carlson’s recent three-part series on the Jan. 6 breach of the U.S. Capitol, calling the TV special “egregious” and claiming that it relied on conspiracy theories and half-truths, People magazine reported.

Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes, who co-founded the conservative website The Dispatch, posted in an open letter on Sunday saying the Patriot Purge special was the breaking point for them in leaving the network. A Fox News executive later said the network never intended to renew either one’s contract for 2022, according to People.

“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 in an interview. “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.”

A pretext to “defame” Americans

Carlson tried to compare the government’s treatment of those involved in the Capitol breach to how the government treated ISIS and al-Qaida terrorists after the Sept. 11 attacks.

“January 6th is being used as a pretext to strip millions of Americans — disfavored Americans — of their core constitutional rights, and to defame them as domestic terrorists,” Carlson said at the start of the documentary, according to Business Insider.

In Goldberg and Hayes’ view, the documentary was “a collection of incoherent conspiracy-mongering, riddled with factual inaccuracies, half-truths, deceptive imagery, and damning omissions.”

“If a person with such a platform shares such misinformation loud enough and long enough, there are Americans who will believe — and act upon — it,” Goldberg and Hayes wrote in their open letter, suggesting that Carlson’s rhetoric could lead to more violence like what occurred on January 6.

The special was “the most egregious example of a longstanding trend,” they said.

Turmoil at Fox News?

Sources told NPR that the resignations were a reflection of ongoing turmoil at Fox News. There has reportedly been conflict between more moderate and stalwart hosts like Brett Baier and Chris Wallace, and popular but more uber-conservative hosts like Carlson and Sean Hannity.

The moderates said they were assured the network would crack down on pro-Trump content that goes along with talking points of election fraud, but recent shifts have led to even more prime-time Trump-friendly content, like Greg Gutfeld’s comedy show.

On the other hand, moderates were horrified by the behavior of the Jan. 6 mob, calling them “insurrectionists” and pushing for criminal consequences. Meanwhile, conservatives like Carlson want to make the point that while rioters who attacked, injured, and killed people across the country last summer following a series of police shootings were barely even noticed by the media and law enforcement, the Justice Department seems to be throwing the book at the Jan. 6 crowd.

As usual, the truth is probably somewhere in between the two extremes.

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