Politics editor Chris Stirewalt, along with nearly two dozen digital journalists, have been laid off from Fox News.
Stirewalt is listed by the New York Times as one of two “senior leaders” exiting the network as Fox “tries to lure back viewers who balked at its coverage of the 2020 election and its aftermath.”
The other is Bill Sammon, Fox News’s longtime Washington bureau chief, who told staff that he would be retiring at the end of the month.
Stirewalt, however, was “fired” according to the Times, along with “roughly 20 Fox News digital journalists” who were laid off on Tuesday.
The network claims the moves were made to align their “business and reporting structure to meet the demands of this new era.”
How Did One Man Destroy a TV Network? Well, because that one man was @ChrisStirewalt – the Liz Cheney of Chuck Todds.
Stirewalt was so wrong about so much that you wondered if he was actually a Democrat operative. https://t.co/T0m96nIw06
— Emerald Robinson ✝️ (@EmeraldRobinson) January 20, 2021
Chris Stirewalt, Face of Fox News Failed Election Night Coverage, Fired
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Chris Stirewalt became the face of Fox News’ failed election night coverage when the network called the state of Arizona for President-elect Joe Biden much earlier than other mainstream networks.
In fact, several outlets waited days before making the move.
The decision ultimately bore out, but there was little reason for Fox to be so certain of the call considering the narrow margin and vote counting left to be done.
“The reality is that the margins are too significant, we feel very confident in the call, or otherwise we wouldn’t have made it,” Stirewalt said in defending the decision.
The New York Times would later admit the decision desk’s call was “bold” and “instantly changed the tenor of the night.”
And now you have Tucker Carlson openly pushing back on Fox News calling Arizona for Biden.
“I’m not privy to the math, I’m not certain how, even after the explanation from Chris Stirewalt, how that decision was made… I think our viewers trust us, but people are concerned.” pic.twitter.com/7oizkc0ZFV
— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) November 4, 2020
Ratings Are Driving the Moves
The report indicates Fox News laid off the employees because they have “been concerned by a postelection drop in ratings, a slump that has persisted for two months.”
Toward the end of the year, Fox celebrated their rating success which made them the highest-rated cable news channel in history. Those numbers were predominantly bolstered by runaway successes with personalities such as Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson.
Cracks started forming in their viewership, however, particularly with supporters of President Trump.
Fox prematurely calling state election results was simply the beginning – hosts started censoring legal challenges to the election, and others simply mocked people who value the integrity of the voting process.
Neil Cavuto cuts away from White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany because he deems her words too dangerous to hear.
Instead of letting us decide, he interprets her meaning for us, even using words she never said.
Fox News: We Report & We Decide (shut up and obey). pic.twitter.com/fDPfoNhVvM
— Tim Xeriland (@Xeriland) November 10, 2020
Roughly one month after the election, Newsmax TV scored a historic, first-ever rating victory over Fox News Channel according to a CNN Business report.
— Newsmax (@newsmax) December 9, 2020
President Trump consistently urged his followers to watch alternative networks such as Newsmax and often took swipes at the perceived shift in reporting at Fox.
“Can’t believe how badly [Fox News] is doing in the ratings,” Trump tweeted prior to being censored by the platform. “They played right into the hands of the Radical Left Democrats, [and] now are floating in limboland.”
Indeed, the New York Times reports that “Fox News’s daytime news programs, which often feature conservative guests but are helmed by anchors who do not report to the network’s opinion side, have experienced a sharp loss in viewership.”