Longtime Fox News contributors Stephen Hayes and Jonah Goldberg have “resigned” from the television network in protest against prime-time host Tucker Carlson's bizarre documentary series on the 6 January Capitol Hill riots.
The leading conservative contributors have been regulars on the network since 2009.
Carlson’s three-part documentary Patriot Purge pushes a debunked conspiracy that the FBI incited the Capitol Hill riots and features subjects who suggest that the event may have been a “false flag operation”. At least five people died and 100 police officers sustained injuries in the deadliest attack on the Capitol Building in history.
The documentary was a “collection of incoherent conspiracy-mongering, riddled with factual inaccuracies, half-truths, deceptive imagery, and damning omissions”, Hayes and Goldberg wrote on their commentary website The Dispatch while announcing their resignation on Sunday.
“And its message is clear: The US government is targeting patriotic Americans in the same manner — and with the same tools — that it used to target al Qaeda,” they wrote. “With the release of Patriot Purge, we felt we could no longer ‘do right as we see it’ and remain at Fox News. So we resigned.”
They added: “Patriot Purge creates an alternative history of 6 January, contradicted not just by common sense, not just by the testimony and on-the-record statements of many participants, but by the reporting of the news division of Fox News itself.”
Carlson told The New York Times that their resignation was “great news” and “our viewers will be grateful”.
The documentary suggests that the violence by former president Donald Trump’s supporters was in fact led by left-wing activists. The series also alleges that the Joe Biden administration is using criminal cases to strip Mr Trump’s supporters of their constitutional rights.
The series, which is being streamed on Fox Nation, led to outrage on social media, where people tore into the right-wing host for peddling propaganda.
Republican lawmaker from Wyoming Liz Cheney slammed Carlson over his claims about the riots. “It’s un-American to be spreading those kinds of lies, and they are lies,” Ms Cheney said.
The Congresswoman, who is also the vice-chair of the House select committee probing the riots, called out Carlson and Fox News for airing lies.
“It appears that Fox News is giving Tucker Carlson a platform to spread the same type of lies that provoked violence on 6 January. As Fox News knows, the election wasn’t stolen and 6 January was not a ‘false flag’ operation,” Ms Cheney said in a tweet last month.
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