Fox News on Tuesday fired the political editor who was tasked with defending the network’s election night decisions that especially angered President Donald Trump and his allies.
Politics editor Chris Stirewalt’s exit from the network coincided with the sacking of at least 16 digital editorial staffers, including senior editors. People familiar with the situation said the layoffs—a “blood bath,” as multiple Fox News insiders described it—were perpetrated by Porter Berry, the Sean Hannity crony now in charge of remaking Fox’s digital properties in the image of its right-wing opinion programming.
In addition to Stirewalt—the Fox News “nerd” who became the face of the network’s election-night projection for Joe Biden to win Arizona, which angered much of the network’s MAGA viewership and led to the rise of an even more obsequious, pro-Trump alternative in Newsmax—sources confirmed that long-time digital editors and reporters, some of whom had been with Fox for a decade or more, were among those laid off. (Additionally, on Monday morning, Fox News senior vice president and D.C. managing editor Bill Sammon, who is in his early 60s, announced he is “retiring at the end of the month.”)
“Fuck this,” one particularly despondent current Fox News staffer remarked to The Daily Beast.
Officially, the network claimed the layoffs are merely part of a “restructuring” initiative. “As we conclude the 2020 election cycle, Fox News Digital has realigned its business and reporting structure to meet the demands of this new era,” a spokesperson said in a statement. “We are confident these changes will ensure the platform continues to deliver breakthrough reporting and insightful analysis surrounding major issues, both stateside and abroad.”
But a dozen current and recently departed Fox News employees who spoke with The Daily Beast all said the “purge”—as a few characterized it—was part of the network’s larger effort to pivot its website from straight-news reporting to right-wing opinion content in the mold of Fox’s primetime programming.
“There is a concerted effort to get rid of real journalists,” said one recently departed Fox staffer. “They laid capable people off who were actual journalists and not blind followers.” [Continue reading…]