Some viewers are unhappy with Tucker Carlson's latest special, which premiered on January 6th.
As reported, numerous questions remain regarding the government’s involvement that day, and even if you believe those who entered the Capitol Building are the epitome of evil, two wrongs do not make a right.
In response to the release of the special, Never Trump apparatchiks Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes have officially resigned as contributors at Fox News. That news came today, via The New York Times.
The trailer for Tucker Carlson’s special about the Jan. 6 mob at the Capitol landed online on Oct. 27, and that night Jonah Goldberg sent a text to his business partner, Stephen Hayes: “I’m tempted just to quit Fox over this.”
“I’m game,” Mr. Hayes replied. “Totally outrageous. It will lead to violence. Not sure how we can stay.”
The full special, “Patriot Purge,” appeared on Fox’s online subscription streaming service days later. And last week, the two men, both paid Fox News contributors, finalized their resignations from the network.
Let me begin by saying that the fact that they went to the New York Times to express their issues tells it all. And as you get inside the story, it seems like another another PR stunt by the two neoconservatives, whose appearances on Fox News have been severely reduced in recent years. In fact, it's hard to imagine they were still getting paid to contribute, which makes me question whether their contracts were never going to be extended in the first place. Isn't it preferable to walk out in a huff on your own terms, flexing for your leftwing fans, than to wait to be thrown out on the street?
The New York Times says that The Dispatch, the publication managed by Goldberg and Hayes, has 30,000 subscribers at one time. That's the type of information the publication wouldn't have unless it was handed to them, making the entire piece feel like a publicity gimmick once more.
Yet, the thing that strikes me the most about the piece is that while it makes Carlson’s special sound incredibly sinister, there are precious few examples given, either by the Times or its subjects, to illustrate what’s so awful about it. The only real mention is a claim that the special promotes the idea that the government is unfairly targeting Americans as domestic terrorists. That’s hardly a controversial take given recent events, but there’s clearly a hive mentality that seeks to declare any questioning of anything having to do with January 6th as out of bounds. I don’t buy that assertion, spoken or insinuated, nor does Tucker Carlson, obviously.
Regardless, the news business is, in fact, a business, and Fox News viewers have spoken. Carlson remains the top-rated show in cable news while Goldberg and Hayes were only making rare appearances on Fox News Sunday and Special Report to bleat about Trumpism, while continually giving Democrats a pass. That kind of thing may still make Paul Ryan feel warm and fuzzy, but few others have an appetite for it.
Still, I don't think this is a really principled move. Goldberg and Hayes have always been about generating money. They knew they were being left behind during the Trump years, as the Republican Party mostly ignored George W. Bush's failings. They had no moral qualms about blowing out American troops and civilians in ill-advised, poorly performed conflicts. Please forgive me if I think their most recent attempt to reintroduce morals and decency to be a bit disingenuous. This is only the latest in a long list of changes made to keep the money flowing in.