Just a few weeks after Wallace’s reported objection to Tucker Carlson’s pro-insurrection propaganda was overruled, Fox News’ veteran anchorman announced he’s leaving the network today and will soon host a show on CNN+.
Wallace’s departure seemed inevitable
It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that Wallace has had enough of the Tucker-ized MAGA network. If anything, it’s a surprise he stuck it out this long. He has repeatedly clashed with his MAGA colleagues. On November 22, NPR’s David Folkenflik reported that Wallace had joined other Fox News news-side veterans in voicing objections to the highest echelons over Carlson’s “Patriot Purge” series on Fox Nation. Obviously, Lachlan Murdoch and Daddy Rupert Murdoch greenlit Carlson's gaslighting, incitements to violence and naked fascism anyway.
That series was the last straw for two long-time conservative contributors, Steve Hayes and Jonah Goldberg. They made a very public exit soon afterward.
Now, less than a month later, it’s Wallace’s turn. The Washington Post reported that Wallace’s departure was kept so secret that even the panelists on today’s show had no idea it was coming. His departure is reportedly entirely voluntary and “has left many of his colleagues ‘shellshocked,’” according to The Post.
Wallace gave no indication of dissatisfaction in his farewell comments
According to Variety, Wallace is believed to be leaving at the end of his contract.
Here’s how Wallace signed off at the end of today’s Fox News Sunday:
WALLACE: After 18 years, this is my final Fox News Sunday. It is the last time, and I say this with real sadness, we will meet like this. Eighteen years ago the bosses here at Fox promised me they would never interfere with a guest I booked or a question I asked, and they kept that promise. I have been free to report to the best of my ability to cover those stories I think are important, to hold our country's leaders to account. It's been a great ride. We've covered five presidential elections, interviewed every president since George H.W. Bush, traveled the world sitting down with France's Emmanuel Macron and Russia's Vladimir Putin.
And I've gotten to spend Sunday mornings with you. It may sound corny, but I feel we built a community here. There's a lot you can do on Sunday mornings. The fact you've chosen to spend this hour with us is something I cherish.
But after 18 years, I have decided to leave Fox. I want to try something new, to go beyond politics to all the things I'm interested in. I'm ready for a new adventure. And I hope you'll check it out.
And so, for the last time, dear friends, that's it for today. Have a great week and I hope you'll keep watching Fox News Sunday.
Wallace deliberately gave the impression that he was just looking for something different, that his departure had nothing to do with the Trumpification of Fox. Yet, hours later, it was reported he’ll soon host another show at CNN+.
More from The Post:
When the CNN press statement came out later in the morning with the news that Wallace would host a daytime interview program set to launch next year on CNN Plus, it included Wallace’s statement that he was “honored and delighted to join [CNN President] Jeff Zucker and his great team. I can’t wait to get started.”
'The final fig leaf has fallen'
In The Daily Beast, Clive Irving described Wallace’s departure as “the final fig leaf” falling from what is now the starkly grotesque Tucker Carlson network. Rupert Murdoch has “long ceased to be the hands-on boss he once was,” Irving notes. “But nothing has ever happened in any Murdoch operation that he did not allow to happen. So, no matter what spin Fox will put on the departure of Chris Wallace, let there be no doubt that allowing the face of Fox News to become predominantly that of Tucker Carlson has the Rupert blessing. He has to live with that.” Let's not overlook that while Murdoch's wife, Jerry Hall, postures as a supporter of equal rights, she lives with the authoritarian, white supremacist stench on the money, too.
Who will replace Wallace?
Fox says its "star journalists" will rotate as guest hosts until a permanent host is chosen.
More from Variety:
Fox News Channel is expected to fill “Sunday,” which has been an integral part of its programing since 1996, when it was launched with moderator Tony Snow, with a rotation of hosts. Bret Baier, John Roberts, Shannon Bream, Martha MacCallum, Jennifer Griffin, Neil Cavuto, Dana Perino and Bill Hemmer are among the network’s news staffers who are likely to take the Sunday seat in weeks to come, according to a person familiar with the matter. “We are extremely proud of our journalism and the stellar team that Chris Wallace was a part of for 18 years. The legacy of ‘Fox News Sunday’ will continue with our star journalists, many of whom will rotate in the position until a permanent host is named,” the network said in a statement.
Some thoughts from NewsHounds’ Brian
Brian watched Fox News Sunday every week. At first, I thought [Wallace] joined the conservative wing at Faux too much, especially when there were so many weeks when the show hosted not a single Democrat. Wallace changed somewhat after Trump became president, becoming tougher on Republicans, not just Democrats.
The two of us wish Wallace well.
You can watch Wallace sign off for the last time below, from the December 12, 2021 Fox News Sunday.
It’s unfortunate that he will now have the opportunity to rehabilitate his image on CNN.
I’d prefer to see him pay a much sterner price for all the evil and lies that he promulgated for 18 years.
Maybe things like this is why Wallace left.
Regarding the difference between Shepard Smith’s departure and Wallace’s bolting, it boils down to Smith leaving in the middle of his contract and Wallace waiting for his contract to expire. Smith wasn’t held by a gag rule so much as a non-compete. Wallace on the other hand knew his contract was up and clearly negotiated a better one with CNN, where he will undoubtedly be one of their conservative voices.
I note that Wallace is still just as much the Right Wing conservative that he was when he was happily smearing Democratic politicians for years during the W/Cheney White House. The difference now is that the GOP and angry Right Wingers across America have lurched much, much farther to the Right – by about 6 football fields. He now appears to be more moderate than he really is, because he’s not an outright fire-breather like the gargoyles on OAN or Newsmax. It’s the same issue as people suddenly thinking that W was a “good president” in comparison to the Pence White House when in fact W was a terrible one and frankly an unpunished war criminal.
I don’t know that Bemused is particularly cynical here, but I do know that Wallace’s maneuver is a fairly cynical one.
A query: Shep Smith was reportedly under some sort of gag order after leaving Fox. Why is Wallace able to take up a CNN position immediately upon quitting Fox?
In any case, the fact that Wallace gave no advance notice of his departure makes him look like a coward not wanting to answer a whole lot of questions. Totally Trumpian. I have no respect at all for such a poor excuse for a journalist.
(continues to rant after posting)