Former Fox News host Chris Wallace has opened up about his surprising decision last year to jump ship for rival network CNN ― saying Fox News’ post-2020 coverage became “increasingly unsustainable” for him and that he disagreed with its airing of political conspiracy theories.
“I just no longer felt comfortable with the programming at Fox,” Wallace told The New York Times in an interview published Sunday.
The veteran news anchor, who joined Fox News in 2003, said it wasn’t until after former President Donald Trump’s 2020 defeat that he felt a shift at the network. He said he could no longer do his job well and feel good about it, and that he spent “a lot of 2021 looking to see if there was a different place for me to do my job.”
“I’m fine with opinion: conservative opinion, liberal opinion,” he said. “But when people start to question the truth — Who won the 2020 election? Was Jan. 6 an insurrection? — I found that unsustainable.”
Wallace told the Times that he complained to Fox News management over the quasi-documentary miniseries “Patriot Purge,” in which Fox News host Tucker Carlson baselessly suggests the 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol was a “false flag” operation intended to demonize the far right, among other conspiracies.
Fox News correspondent Geraldo Rivera also called out Carlson’s series at the time of its release, calling the “false flags” claim “bullshit” on Twitter and describing his colleague’s work to the Times last October as “inflammatory and outrageous and uncorroborated.”
“One of the reasons that I left Fox was because I wanted to put all of that behind me,” Wallace said of other Fox News hosts’ stances, when asked about some of their recent commentary on Russia and Ukraine.
With his new weekday gig at CNN+, the network’s streaming service, Wallace said he’ll feature a range of guests, including from beyond the traditional scope of politics. He’s enthusiastic about the change, though he said he was “obviously unhappy” about former CNN President Jeff Zucker resigning over a scandal just weeks after Wallace himself joined CNN.
Wallace had cited working with Zucker as a reason for joining CNN when he announced his resignation last December.
The departure of Zucker, who hired him, “is not ideal,” he told the Times.