Chris Wallace, the long-serving Fox News host and lead anchor, is leaving the network, he announced on Sunday.
"After 18 years, this is my final Fox News Sunday," he said.
Fox News' Chris Wallace: "After 18 years, I have decided to leave Fox. I want to try something new, to go beyond politics, to all of the things I'm interested in." pic.twitter.com/vgMF8Ktdnr
— The Recount (@therecount) December 12, 2021
His next move wasn't a mystery for very long: CNN announced that Wallace will be joining the network's streaming service, CNN+. (Disclosure: I appear on Fox News frequently, and have appeared on CNN several times as well.)
Wallace has a well-deserved reputation as an objective and fierce interviewer, and was just as tough on Republicans as he was on Democrats. This was most evident during the 2020 presidential campaign, when he moderated a debate between then-President Donald Trump and challenger Joe Biden: Wallace grilled Trump on his disinclination to condemn the Proud Boys and chided the president for constantly interrupting his opponent. This earned Wallace considerable ire from the MAGA wing of the GOP, and the tone of his coverage was increasingly out of step with Fox's openly opinionated—and relentlessly pro-Trump—evening hosts.
Indeed, Wallace and fellow Fox News anchor Bret Baier had recently complained to management about the network's pro-Trump programming. Steve Hayes and Jonah Goldberg, two conservative commentators who have worked at Fox for years, recently resigned in protest over Tucker Carlson's Patriot Purge series about the January 6 Capitol riot. According to NPR:
According to five people with direct knowledge, the resignations reflect larger tumult within Fox News over Carlson's series Patriot Purge and his increasingly strident stances, and over the network's willingness to let its opinion stars make false, paranoid claims against President Biden, his administration and his supporters.
Veteran figures on Fox's news side, including political anchors Baier and Chris Wallace, shared their objections with Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and its president of news, Jay Wallace. Those objections rose to Lachlan Murdoch, the chairman and CEO of the network's parent company, Fox Corp. Through a senior spokeswoman, Scott and Wallace declined comment. Murdoch did not return a request for comment through a spokesman. A senior Fox News executive subsequently said the two contributors' contracts would not have been picked up after their scheduled expiration next year.
Goldberg says that he had been assured by Fox's news leaders that, as Trump left Washington, D.C., following his election defeat, the network would tamp down on incendiary commentary and claims.
There was no love lost for Wallace in Trump-world; the announcement of his departure prompted the phrase "good riddance" to trend on Twitter. And while Fox's loss is CNN's gain, the real issue is that this kind of sorting eventually leads to both networks becoming more partisan. If you have to be reliably pro-Trump to work at Fox and reliably anti-Trump to work anywhere else, the silo effect will produce commentary that plays to the fears of one side or the other. Cable news already involves very little cross-ideological interaction. On most programs, particularly the evening shows, the host brings on guests who reflect the host's views. What Wallace did—ask tough questions of Republicans on a Republican-leaning channel—is increasingly rare, at least on television.
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R–Colo.) recently lamented that "365,348 children went missing in 2020."
365,348 children went missing in 2020.
You haven't heard a word from the media about it.
There enlies the problem.
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) December 12, 2021
Except that claim is completely wrong. (And no, it's not just the spelling.)
In 2020, there were 365,348 reports of missing children, according to the FBI. But most of those kids aren't actually missing, and eventually return home safely. The overwhelming majority of juveniles reported missing are runaways. Among the subgroup of reported kidnappings, most are perpetrated by parents or other family members involved in custody disputes. It's incredibly rare for a total stranger to abduct a child: According to Reuters, fewer than 350 people under the age of 21 have been taken per year in the last decade.
Contrary to Boebert's claim, the media routinely report on child abductions—if it bleeds, it leads—probably making them seem more common than they are. There "enlies" the actual problem.
Inflation-weary Americans are not happy with how President Joe Biden is handling the problem. According to USA Today:
As inflation continues to surge in the United States, Americans have named it their top concern, surpassing the pandemic. The poll found that 28% of Americans approved of Biden's handling of inflation, while a majority of Americans, at 69%, disapproved.
Biden has also seen a drop in approval rates in his handling of the economic recovery, with 41% of Americans approving his handling in December, compared to 47% back in October. Disapproval rates of Biden's handling of the economy jumped. Fifty-seven percent of Americans surveyed disapproved of his handling of the economy, compared to the 53% in October.
The poll was conducted Dec.10-11, among a random sample of 524 Americans, with a margin of error of 5%.
• So far, the omicron variant seems perfectly capable of infecting the vaccinated, but the disease has not been severe.
• Here's how Los Angeles Unified School District's vaccine mandate is going: 496 employees, as well as 34,000 students, are now in violation. The employees will be fired and (outrageously) the students will return to virtual learning.
• Tornadoes rampaged across Kentucky on Friday, killing 80 people.
• For Vice President Kamala Harris, all news is bad news.