Explaining his decision to leave the network, former Fox News anchor Chris Wallace told The New York Times, “I just no longer felt comfortable with the programming at Fox.”
Wallace already stood out at Fox as an anchor who did not always push the blindly pro-Trump narrative favored by many at the channel. But Wallace said in an interview published Sunday that he knew it was time to leave when people at the network “began to question the truth.”
“I’m fine with opinion: conservative opinion, liberal opinion,” Wallace told the Times’ Michael M. Grynbaum. “But when people start to question the truth — Who won the 2020 election? Was Jan. 6 an insurrection? — I found that unsustainable.”
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One clear example of Fox programming questioning the truth is Tucker Carlson’s documentary, Patriot Purge, which aired on Fox’s streaming platform and pushed the baseless conspiracy theory that the Jan. 6 insurrection was a “false flag” operation intended to demonize conservatives. Wallace confirmed to the Times that he went to Fox News management to express his discomfort with the Patriot Purge. In November, NPR’s David Folkenflik reported that both Wallace and anchor Bret Baier shared their concerns about the documentary with Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and Jay Wallace, president of news. Two commentators at the network also resigned over the film.
“Before, I found it was an environment in which I could do my job and feel good about my involvement at Fox,” Wallace said. “And since November of 2020, that just became unsustainable, increasingly unsustainable as time went on.”
The anchor will now head up a new show on CNN’s streaming platform, CNN+, where he will interview a range of guests, not just people in politics. He was convinced to join the network by CNN Worldwide’s then-president Jeff Zucker. But Zucker resigned in February after news broke he was in an undisclosed relationship with a subordinate. “It’s not ideal,” Wallace said of Zucker’s departure.
Wallace acknowledged criticism that he stayed at Fox for so long despite the network’s track record. “Some people might have drawn the line earlier, or at a different point,” Wallace said. But, he added that he believes Fox made a particularly dramatic shift since the 2020 election. A Fox representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Rolling Stone.
“I think Fox has changed over the course of the last year and a half,” Wallace said. “But I can certainly understand where somebody would say, ‘Gee, you were a slow learner, Chris.’”
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