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Chris Wallace says he quit Fox because felt ‘uncomfortable’ with coverage of 2020 election results

Chris Wallace says he quit Fox because felt 'uncomfortable' with coverage of 2020 election results 2

Chris Wallace has revealed he quit Fox News for CNN+ over his discomfort at the conservative network’s coverage of the 2020 election results and January 6 riots.

Speaking to the New York Times Sunday, Wallace, 74, also revealed he’d spent much of last year looking for a new job, before being poached by CNN to join its new streaming service in December 2021.

Wallace said: ‘I just no longer felt comfortable with the programming at Fox.

‘I’m fine with opinion: conservative opinion, liberal opinion.

‘But when people start to question the truth — Who won the 2020 election? Was January 6 an insurrection? — I found that unsustainable.’

Wallace confirmed rumors that he had complained to his former bosses at Fox about Tucker Carlson’s documentary about the Capitol riots, Patriot Purge.

He and others were upset over Carlson’s suggestion that the riots were actually a false-flag attack set-up to make conservatives look bad.

Wallace explained: ‘Before, I found it was an environment in which I could do my job and feel good about my involvement at Fox.

‘And since November of 2020, that just became unsustainable, increasingly unsustainable as time went on.’

He continued: ‘Some people might have drawn the line earlier, or at a different point.

Wallace, pictured on the set of his old show Fox News Sunday. His tenure at CNN+ will see his new chatshow begin on Tuesday March 29

Wallace, pictured on the set of his old show Fox News Sunday. His tenure at CNN+ will see his new chatshow begin on Tuesday March 29 

Veteran news anchor Chris Wallace has revealed he quit Fox News for CNN+ because he felt uncomfortable with the conservative network's coverage of the 2020 election results and Tucker Carlson's blatant attempts to downplay the January 6 riot

Veteran news anchor Chris Wallace has revealed he quit Fox News for CNN+ because he felt uncomfortable with the conservative network’s coverage of the 2020 election results and Tucker Carlson’s blatant attempts to downplay the January 6 riot

‘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.”‘

Wallace will now host a Monday to Thursday interview show on CNN+, which begins streaming on Tuesday, and costs $6-a-month.  

Fox have declined to comment on Wallace’s decision to stick the knife into his former employer, who are believed to have paid him around $7 million a year. 

Wallace, who has been married to cookbook author Lorraine Martin Smothers since 1997, was long seen as one of Fox News’ more objective stars, who was equally happy to condemn both conservative and liberal lawmakers.  

His new show ‘Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?’, starts Tuesday. Trying to break apart from his decades-old political anchor persona, Wallace has welcomed an array of artists and business guests such as singer Judy Collins and Disney’s former CEO Bob Iger.  

Wallace, often seen as a somewhat objective anchor amid Fox’s endorsement of claims that the 2020 election was rigged, confirmed reports that he had complained to executives about Carlson’s Patriot Purge documentary.  

According to a report from NPR last year, senior FOX News figures Bret Baier and Wallace raised their objections to the three-part documentary series to FOX News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and president of the network’s news division, Jay Wallace.

Their complaints about the show’s dubious claims eventually made their way up to Lachlan Murdoch, the chairman and CEO of FOX Corporation.

But network executives still allowed Carlson’s series accusing Biden of setting up the January 6 riots in order to ‘conduct an ideological purge and persecute conservatives’ to air – even as some FOX News hosts debunked its claims.

‘I spent a lot of 2021 looking to see if there was a different place for me to do my job,’ Wallace told the Times. 

Wallace, often seen as a somewhat objective anchor amid Fox's endorsement of claims that the 2020 election was rigged, confirmed reports that he had complained to executives about Carlson's Patriot Purge documentary

Wallace, often seen as a somewhat objective anchor amid Fox’s endorsement of claims that the 2020 election was rigged, confirmed reports that he had complained to executives about Carlson’s Patriot Purge documentary

Wallace announced he was leaving Fox last year during his weekly show, Fox News Sunday. 

‘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 they would never interfere with a guest I booked or a question I asked. And they kept that promise,’ Wallace said on December 12.  

Fox went on to fire an editor who help project Trump’s Arizona loss and promote Carlson, with that decision also irritating Wallace.  

Wallace announced he was leaving Fox last year during his weekly show, Fox News Sunday

Wallace announced he was leaving Fox last year during his weekly show, Fox News Sunday

In January, Wallace, 74, joined CNN+, CNN's new premium streaming service available for $6 a month.

In January, Wallace, 74, joined CNN+, CNN’s new premium streaming service available for $6 a month.

But what made Wallace take the final decision to leave Fox was the opportunity to explore venues other than politics. 

‘I wanted to get out of politics,’ Wallace said. ‘Doing a Sunday show on the incremental change from week to week in the Build Back Better plan began to lose its attraction.’ 

On ‘Who’s talking to Chris Wallace?’, Wallace interviews ‘Star Trek’ actor William Shatner, talks with former Disney CEO Bob Iger about meeting the pope, and even sings with Judy Collins. 

‘I don’t have to say, you know, ”Wolf Blitzer starts right now at 6:59:59,”’ he said. 

Wallace said he was eager ‘to have the kind of intimate, thoughtful conversation where we forget we’re on camera in a studio.’   

The veteran reporter had been surrounded by journalistic influences from an early age. His parents had divorced when he was young, and his mother remarried CBS News President Bill Leonard

The veteran reporter had been surrounded by journalistic influences from an early age. His parents had divorced when he was young, and his mother remarried CBS News President Bill Leonard

The celebrated anchor, whose father Mike Wallace had a historic four-decade run with CBS News’ 60 Minutes, had signed a four-year contract with Fox News in 2017.

That contract expired in 2021.  

In 2017 Wallace had revealed Rupert Murdoch personally asked him to stay on through the 2020 election. 

‘I am honored by his confidence, and excited to keep reporting as part of the FOX News team,’ Wallace said in a press release announcing his last contract.  

In December, NPR reported that Wallace along with fellow anchor Bret Baier took issue with the network over Tucker Carlson’s series on streaming service Fox Nation covering the January 6 Capitol riot.

In his three-part ‘false flag’ series, Carlson tries to paint the hundreds of Trump supporters who descended on the Capitol on January 6 as ‘patriots’ fighting for their country – while also positing that the riots were set up by the left to provide an excuse for arresting conservatives. 

Wallace had also been a target of frequent attacks by Trump himself, particularly since the chaotic 2020 presidential debate during which an exasperated Wallace tried desperately to stick to the issues at hand while candidate Joe Biden and Trump were hurling verbal attacks at one another. 

In June Trump called in to Sean Hannity’s Fox show and accused Wallace of trying to ‘protect’ Biden from questions about his son Hunter. 

‘Chris Wallace protected him because he couldn’t answer the question. So Chris Wallace protected him, good old Chris Wallace. He’ll never be Mike,’ Trump said, invoking Wallace’s late father.

‘We no longer have a free and fair press.’

Wallace defended himself against Trump’s many personal and professional attacks in an interview with Deadline in February 2020. 

While he maintained he didn’t ‘do anything wrong’ and claimed Trump ‘fails to understand what Fox News is all about,’ the anchor conceded it did affect him. 

‘On some basic level I suppose it hurts your feelings a little bit to have the president of the United States, whoever he or she is, attacking you,’ Wallace said at the time before adding that it began to hurt less because he was growing ‘used to it.’ 

When Trump sat down for an interview with Wallace in July 2020, the journalist pushed back on several of the then-president’s claims including the fact that the cognitive test he was given truly gave any indication of intellect and confronted him about the rising number of coronavirus deaths in the country.

The veteran reporter had been surrounded by journalistic influences from an early age. His parents had divorced when he was young, and his mother remarried CBS News President Bill Leonard.

Upon graduating university Wallace chose to take a job at the Boston Globe over a seat at Yale Law School. 

His national news career began at NBC in 1975, where his 14-year tenure included a joint interview with Ronald and Nancy Reagan at Camp David.

Wallace then spent 14 years at ABC News before joining Fox in 2003.  

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