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Presumably timed to promote his new CNN+ gig, a line-drawing, comfort-seeking, and devoted-to-the-truth Chris Wallace has decided to publicly explain his abrupt departure from the Fox News Channel in December 2021.
“I just no longer felt comfortable with the programming at Fox,” Wallace, 74, told the New York Times in an interview.
According to the Times, it was Wallace, 74, who “declined” to renew his contract with Fox News after nearly 20 years with the cable network. The ink wasn’t even metaphorically dry on his resignation letter when he announced that he was joining CNN’s new streaming service.
The spin when it comes to high-profile staff changes at media outlets is often just that. It is conceivable, in the alternative, that perhaps that the network was the party that declined.
Although it may not apply in this particular instance, sometimes media luminaries jump before they get pushed.
“I’m fine with opinion: conservative opinion, liberal opinion,” Wallace, a registered Democrat who has long faced criticism of anti-Trump bias, claimed. “But when people start to question the truth — Who won the 2020 election? Was Jan. 6 an insurrection? — I found that unsustainable. I spent a lot of 2021 looking to see if there was a different place for me to do my job.”
The ex-Fox News Sunday host, who was perceived by conservative-leaning viewers as more of a spokesman for the Beltway swamp rather than a journalist, is one of many in the corporate media who apparently take the position that there was no “widespread” fraud in Election 2020 and frowns upon any further discussion of the topic.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) September 10, 2021
Wallace, who was hired by CNN president Jeff Zucker before the latter stepped down amidst an internal scandal, also acknowledged that he found Tucker Carlson’s January 6-related “Patriot Purge” documentary on the Fox Nation streaming service unpalatable, and he bellyached about it to FNC management, according to the Times.
“‘Before, I found it was an environment in which I could do my job and feel good about my involvement at Fox….And since November of 2020, that just became unsustainable, increasingly unsustainable as time went on. Some people might have drawn the line earlier, or at a different point…I think Fox has changed over the course of the last year and a half. But I can certainly understand where somebody would say, ‘Gee, you were a slow learner, Chris,'” he explained to a Times reporter.
"Why does Fox News keep Chris Wallace? His ratings are terrible, he’s 'almost' Radical Left, he was acknowledged to have failed badly as a Presidential debate moderator (except for Biden who he totally protected!), and so much else."
FULL STATEMENT: pic.twitter.com/zdGNIsuh0T
— Natalie Harp (@NatalieJHarp) June 7, 2021
CNN+ launches on Tuesday, with includes Wallace’s interview shows. “I wanted to get out of politics. Doing a Sunday show on the incremental change from week to week in the Build Back Better plan began to lose its attraction,” he claimed.
“One of the reasons that I left Fox was because I wanted to put all of that behind me,” that being Fox News commentators’ opinions about Russia and Ukraine. He also noted that “there has not been a moment when I have second-guessed myself about that decision” to leave, Wallace noted.
Ironically, the Times interview describes Chris Wallace as someone “best known for his political expertise,” including as a presidential debate moderator.
Wallace was resoundingly criticized, however, for the method by which he emceed the first presidential debate in the 2020 election cycle when he repeatedly intervened on behalf of candidate Joe Biden.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) June 2, 2021
The Times also characterizes Chris Wallace as a “down-the-middle outlier at Fox News who often confounded conservatives by contradicting the network’s right-wing stars.”
Former President Donald Trump memorably described CNN, Wallace’s new employer, as “very fake news.”
It remains to be seen if consumers will pay for additional CNN content given the way that its cable channel ratings have tanked.
Wallace’s show is called Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace? but it could turn out that Who’s Watching Chris Wallace? might be the more appropriate question.
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