Dear Dispatch reader,
Jonah and I strongly prefer covering and analyzing current events to being the news. But some developments over the past few weeks mean that we’ll be the focus of some reporting and attention and we wanted you to hear it from us first.
As you may know, we’ve been Fox News contributors for a long time. For most of that time, we enjoyed ourselves and believed we were contributing to a good cause. Whether you call it liberal media bias or simply a form of groupthink around certain narratives, having a news network that brought different assumptions and asked different questions—while still providing real reporting and insightful conservative analysis and opinion—was good for the country and journalism.
But over the past few years, that’s changed. And the tension has grown between what we are building at The Dispatch—a fact-driven, center-right media company—and what’s come to dominate the network, particularly in primetime.
In late October, Tucker Carlson aired a promotion for a series he produced for Fox Nation, Fox’s subscription streaming service, called Patriot Purge. It’s a revisionist history of January 6, one in which those who entered the Capitol are largely portrayed as misunderstood patriots and many of those responsible for the violence are government officials or agents provocateurs acting on their behalf. Among the main protagonists of the series are the organizer of the “Stop the Steal” rallies and a racist fired from the Trump White House for his associations with white nationalists. The message of the series? The U.S. government is coming after patriots as part of a “War on Terror 2.0,” using the same tools and tactics used to fight al-Qaeda.
This isn’t true, and it’s dangerous to pretend it is. And for us, it was way too far. We resigned after watching the series in its entirety and asked Fox to release us from the rest of our contracts. Shortly after making this request, we began to get inquiries from journalists about our decision. We’re not looking to occupy the permanent anti-Fox seats at CNN or MSNBC, but we thought it worth discussing our decision—and the factors that led to it—with a couple of journalists who cover the media. The first of those stories appears tonight in the New York Times. You can find it, here—and our Dispatch post about the decision, here.
We’re disappointed it came to this. We’ve enjoyed great relationships with many of the news professionals at Fox and we know there is still a sizable audience that tunes into Fox for reported news. But after watching the series, what had long been a difficult decision quickly became an obvious one.
Thanks again for being a Dispatch reader.
Have a great Thanksgiving,
Steve Hayes and Jonah Goldberg