Fox News analysts attracted backlash from former President Donald Trump and many of his top supporters for calling the November election for Democratic nominee Joe Biden shortly after polls in the state closed.
Now, one former editor at the network is speaking out against the network — and other media outlets — for behavior in the wake of a razor-thin race, as The Hill reports.
“A consumer’s worst cravings”
Chris Stirewalt largely defended his former employer in a recent editorial but landed a few blows on the decision-making process behind the scenes.
Writing for the Los Angeles Times on Thursday, Stirewalt excoriated the habits of many American news-watchers, whom he said had developed an unhealthy media diet.
He lambasted much of his own audience for their tendency to “gorge themselves daily on empty informational calories, indulging their sugar fixes of self-affirming half-truths and even outright lies.”
Given that perceived trend, Stirewalt wondered if anyone could “really be surprised that the problem has gotten worse in the last few years.”
In part, he said the problem stems from media companies that seek to indulge “a consumer’s worst cravings” with a steady serving of bias confirmation.
“The rebellion on the populist right against the results of the 2020 election was partly a cynical, knowing effort by political operators and their hype men in the media to steal an election or at least get rich trying,” he claimed.
“Out there by ourselves”
Regardless of the outlet or even political persuasion, Stirewalt said that “the competitive advantage belongs to those who can best habituate consumers” by “avoiding at almost any cost impinging on the reality so painstakingly built around them.”
Of course, this tendency is clearly seen in the decisions made by left-leaning media companies, including the widespread refusal to discuss — or a willingness to dismiss — a scandal that brewed in the final weeks of the 2020 presidential campaign season based on emails recovered from a laptop reportedly discarded by then-Democratic nominee Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.
In the social media realm, Twitter went so far as to prevent users from sharing links to the New York Post report on the allegations.
Stirewalt, who was fired on Jan. 19, subsequently described the response to the November election results in an interview with MSNBC, stating: “We were kind of out there by ourselves, and through that process, we became a focus of all of this rage, all of this anger.”