I noted it on social media, but haven’t written about it here. After five years, I’ll be leaving Fox News at the end of January. It was a mutual decision. I had emailed a couple of the executives a week ago that short of doing my weekend TV show idea, I didn’t think I was needed nor I think I was useful so it was time to go. A few days later, the lawyer who handles contributor matters called to tell me they wouldn’t be renewing my contract.
The idea of moving on now meets with the reality of moving on so there’s some slight panic and nervousness. It is half of my family’s income and is needed. But I also, if I am being honest, was largely being paid without working. I am a firm believer that is one is to be paid, there should be work and it has been harder and harder to put me in the appropriate contributor box. I am neither anti-Trump nor pro-Trump, but a conservative who does not think he is, but thinks he is advancing some things commendably. All news shows on all networks tend to favor a straight R v. D panel and I’m not in those boxes anymore.
On top of that, I broadcast mostly from Georgia. I have a studio in my house. CNN had their equipment in and when I moved to Fox they put their camera and connecting equipment in. With my wife’s cancer, my radio show, etc. it has been a real blessing. Not being able to get to New York and be in studio regularly has definitely been disadvantageous. But I have to be honest that I like broadcasting from Georgia as a reminder there are still a lot of people out here in “fly over country.” I get the various networks’ needs to broadcast from New York and Washington, but I just have no desire to move my family to either, particularly now with one of the world’s top experts on my wife’s rare form of cancer living an hour from us.
My time at Fox has been wonderful and I am glad I have been there. The people have been quite kind to me these past number of years and I have made good friends. But I haven’t thought I fit in for a while and this exit needed to happen.
As I said in an email to the executives when I told them I was ready to go, I still think Fox is probably the best place for a weekend show that focuses on conservative parents who have kids and a worldview centered on their faith. The world has changed completely upside down from when we were kids. Now our kids have access to the internet in the palm of their hand and we did not even have the internet as kids. The average age of exposure to pornography is now six (!!!!) years old among boys and barely better among girls. And culture seems more and more hostile to parents with a faith worldview. There is literally not a single news program focusing on those families presenting the news to them with presuppositions that share their world view. Nor is there programming out there really helping them navigate their families through the present culture wars without losing their children to a culture increasing hostile to their values.
I would love to do a show like this. And I hope to do a show like this. But beyond doing something like that I couldn’t see myself remaining at Fox as a contributor. Again, it comes back to not really feeling like I fit in and the feeling was clearly mutual. While I would like to think I am useful as a political commentator and contributor for conservatives, I am just not a bandwagon Republican anymore and cannot with a straight face call the President a conservative.
That said, there is no animosity in leaving and the few trolls speculating about sexual harassment or whatnot are insane. The transition over the last year for the network has been difficult and yet they continue to achieve great ratings. Though they have had, in my experience, a greater demand for in-studio guests than other networks, Fox has relentlessly focused on the news that people around America’s river valleys care about. It is a lesson other networks could really learn from Fox, if they didn’t look on Fox with so much undeserved contempt.
Fox spends a great deal of time looking at what people who live within 100 miles of an American river valley think and, consequently, their news topics are often different and the presuppositions made in relating the news tend to not lean left. It has served them well and they have carried on Roger Ailes’s focus on that audience despite being looked down on by others in the media. Roger once told me if he spent all his time worrying about other people in the media liking Fox, he wouldn’t have the time to devote to seeing what people who actually watch Fox care about. The ratings speak to that.
I thank Fox for sticking with me for five years through interesting times and I am excited for new things even if I don’t know what they are. This is a huge and scary leap of faith seeing half my income wiped out at the end of January. I’ve been spending a lot of time in prayer and I appreciate your prayers too. But I have an absolute conviction that now is the right time to move on. My last day at Fox is January 26th.