Fox News anchor Bret Baier was questioned by another network personality, Brian Kilmeade, about the exit of two Fox News contributors following the debut of the Fox Nation series Patriot Purge from Tucker Carlson.
Kilmeade, on his radio, show, asked Baier whether he was “bothered” by the Carlson series.
“Brian, I won’t go down this road. There were concerns about it, definitely, and I think the news division did what we do,” he said. “We covered the story, and I wanted to do that all internally. Steve and Jonah made their decision, and it is their decision.”
Baier was referring to Stephen Hayes and Jonah Goldberg, conservative commentators who have been with the network since 2009. They announced on Sunday that they were resigning, in part in protest over the documentary, calling it “a collection of incoherent conspiracy-mongering, riddled with factual inaccuracies, half-truths, deceptive imagery, and damning omissions.”
According to a report from NPR’s David Folkenflik, Baier and Fox News’ Chris Wallace shared their objections over the documentary series with Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and Jay Wallace, president of the news division.
Baier told Kilmeade of the departure of Hayes and Goldberg, “I think it was a tough choice, but one that they have made on principle. And, you know, I am going to let them speak for themselves. It saddens me to see them go, and I am always for hearing all kinds of voices, left, right, Trump whoever, supporters. It is sad for Special Report, I think for the network, but they made their choice on principle, so I will let their statement stand.”
Kilmeade said that he watched Patriot Purge, which he said had an “interesting perspective I hadn’t heard before. But I didn’t get hurt by it. I didn’t get damaged by it.” (Hat tip — Mediaite).
The network has not issued a comment on the departure of Hayes and Goldberg or a response to their criticisms of the network’s direction. A Fox executive said the network had no intention of re-signing them when their contracts came up in 2022.
Carlson’s Patriot Purge was posted on the Fox Nation subscription service three weeks ago, but a trailer that ran on his primetime show triggered a round of criticism from Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), the two Republican members of the House’s January 6th Commission that is investigating the attack on the Capitol. They zeroed in on the trailer’s advancement of a claim that the siege on the Capitol was a “false flag” operation. Geraldo Rivera, a Fox News personality, tweeted that the claim was “bulls—.”
Goldberg wrote a new op ed for the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday in which he said that Patriot Purge was “the last straw” for him and Hayes. He called Patriot Purge “a perfect example of propaganda that weaves half-truths into a whole lie.” But he also wrote that “one of my chief frustrations with Fox, and with cable news generally, is what you might call manufactured consensus.” He wrote that “over time, many conservatives stopped offering it and Fox stopped providing opportunities to present any kind of critique.”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.