Former Fox News Anchor Chris Wallace Describes How Bad It Was to Work at Fox News

“I can certainly understand where somebody would say, ‘Gee, you were a slow learner, Chris.’”

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In a wide-ranging interview with the New York Timesformer Fox News anchor Chris Wallace explained his decision to leave the conservative network last December after 18 years. “Before, I found it was an environment in which I could do my job and feel good about my involvement at Fox,” Wallace told media correspondent Michael Grynbaum. “And since November of 2020, that just became unsustainable, increasingly unsustainable as time went on.”

Wallace brought to Fox News a certain degree of journalistic gravitas throughout his tenure. Moderating presidential debates and hosting the network’s flagship political talk show “Fox News Sunday,” he was considered a more middle-of-the-road presence. Especially in contrast with his colleagues, Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, who became more stridently right-wing during the years of Donald Trump’s presidency. “I just no longer felt comfortable with the programming at Fox,” Wallace said in his interview.

“Some people might have drawn the line earlier, or at a different point,” he acknowledged. “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.’”

The 74-year-old anchor did not retire from journalism, however, but instead moved to rival network CNN, where his new daily talk show, “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?” will debut this coming week. As the Times explains:

But Mr. Wallace also acknowledged that he felt a shift at Fox News in the months after Donald J. Trump’s defeat in 2020—a period when the channel ended its 7 p.m. newscast, fired the political editor who helped project a Trump loss in Arizona on election night and promoted hosts like Mr. Carlson who downplayed the Jan. 6 riot.

He confirmed reports that he was so alarmed by Mr. Carlson’s documentary “Patriot Purge” — which falsely suggested the Jan. 6 Capitol riot was a “false flag” operation intended to demonize conservatives—that he complained directly to Fox News management.

Not that it seemed to have mattered much. “I’m fine with opinion: conservative opinion, liberal opinion,” Wallace said. “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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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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