Every month or so, while speaking with Fox News jobs sources, I express my surprise that Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes are still on the network’s payroll. The two men are realistic, conservative thinkers who have refused to give in to Donald Trump. Unfortunately, Fox viewers didn’t get to hear from them very often. This year, they were booked so infrequently by the network’s producers that their contracts resembled golden handcuffs.

They are now removing the cuffs. Hayes and Goldberg announced their departure from Fox on Sunday night. The final straw was Tucker Carlson’s “Patriot Purge” propaganda film, which they wrote in a blog post for The Dispatch, their online home.

“Fox News still does real reporting, and there are still responsible conservatives providing valuable opinion and analysis,” the men wrote. “But the voices of the responses are being drowned out by the irresponsible,” and Carlson is a prime example. CNN jobs and other news organizations have described “Patriot Purge” as disturbing evidence of right-wing radicalization, complete with January 6 denial and paranoid descriptions of a “new war on terror” targeting Republicans. Goldberg and Hayes couldn’t take it any longer.

New York Times media columnist Ben Smith, who broke the resignation news on Sunday, called up Carlson for reaction. The trollish host naturally celebrated, saying “our viewers will be grateful” that Goldberg and Hayes are gone. But the conservative movement will suffer for it. Rep. Liz Cheney, one of the Republican Party’s most outspoken critics of Trump and the Big Lie, thanked the two men on Twitter for “standing up for truth and calling out dangerous lies.”

In a phone interview with Smith, Goldberg provided a rare on-the-record glimpse inside Fox’s political positioning. According to Smith, “Goldberg said that” he and Hayes “stayed at Fox News as long as they did because there was a sense from Fox conversations that, after Mr. Trump’s defeat, the network would try to regain some of its independence and, as he put it, ‘right the ship.'” However, Goldberg believes Fox’s decision to promote and publish “Patriot Purge” in early November was “a sign that people have made peace with this direction of things, and there is no plan, at least that anyone made me aware of, for a course correction.”

The two commentators said in a Sunday night post on The Dispatch that the “Patriot Purge” web series “creates an alternative history of January 6, contradicted not just by common sense, not just by the testimony and on-the-record statements of many participants, but by the reporting of Fox News’ news division itself.”

Hayes and Goldberg praised the “news side” (which keeps shrinking at Fox) but acknowledged that the opinion side has radicalized. “The release of ‘Patriot Purge’ wasn’t an isolated incident,” they wrote, “it was merely the most egregious example of a longstanding trend.” So, they’re out. “We do not regret our decision,” they concluded, “even if we find it regrettably necessary.”

SourceCNN Business

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