Fox News Contributors Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes Resign: Trust Me, Nobody Will Miss Them

Fox News Contributors Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes Resign: Trust Me, Nobody Will Miss Them
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

This is straight fire from my colleague Joe Cunningham, and a great way to begin this piece:

“Remember: Depending on the size of the turkey, you’re supposed to take them out 4-5 days before Thanksgiving. Which would explain why Jonah and Stephen announced their departure yesterday.”

As my other colleague Bonchie reported, Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes have their panties in a wad because Fox News chose to air Tucker Carlson’s documentary Patriot Purge about the January 6 kerfuffle. The “principled” pair told The New York Times (hmmm) that Fox News choosing to tell a different side of the story was “outrageous” and would lead to “violence.”

Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes, stars of a brand of conservatism that has fallen out of fashion, decide they’ve had enough.

The trailer for Tucker Carlson’s special about the Jan. 6 mob at the Capitol landed online on Oct. 27, and that night Jonah Goldberg sent a text to his business partner, Stephen Hayes: “I’m tempted just to quit Fox over this.”

“I’m game,” Mr. Hayes replied. “Totally outrageous. It will lead to violence. Not sure how we can stay.”

The full special, “Patriot Purge,” appeared on Fox’s online subscription streaming service days later. And last week, the two men, both paid Fox News contributors, finalized their resignations from the network.

<Huge Yawn Here>

Boo. Frickin’. Hoo.

Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes used to be the conservative gold standard. After all, they were editors and contributors for National Review, the flagship publication of conservative thought. Now it’s less a flagship and more a flagpole, since it has given room to gasbag David French to talk down to grassroots conservatives and evangelical Christians. Even historian Victor Davis Hanson left; that should tell you all you need to know.

Goldberg and Hayes decided to parlay their grift into a new publication, The Dogpat– — I mean —The Dispatch. Just like their fellow traveler Bill Kristol’s The Bulwark, it’s a rag that barely anyone reads.

Conservatism was less their ideological bent, and more their main meal ticket. Goldberg and Hayes parlayed their “higher knowledge” and conservative insight into book deals, cruise ship engagements (Ahoy!) and toney “analyst” slots at places like Fox News.

This paragraph from The NY Times piece is quite telling:

Jonah Goldberg and Stephen Hayes, stars of a brand of conservatism that has fallen out of fashion….

I would beg to differ. It has little to do with falling out of fashion, and much to do with failing to read the room. It’s also about representing conservatism versus representing Conservative, Inc. Goldberg and Hayes were a part of that think tank crowd that love to talk about conservative ideals and how they could change the nation and the world if only people would adopt them. This, without actually implementing those same ideals or empowering others who wished to take such action.

These two made an art form of ever-so-haughtily talking down to grassroots conservative activists, and tearing down any vocal or well-spoken conservative activist or personality who were actually translating conservative ideals into conservative action, and finding success doing so. By success, I mean in terms of actually electing officials who would uphold the principles and not just insert them into their speeches to get votes. I mean supporting causes and organizations that sought to maintain and further conservative action—think any pro-life organization or youth and campus agendas. Goldberg and Hayes would stroke their beards, harumph, and opine that said politician, official, or organization is, not what conservatism is about, and spout verbiage that had nothing to do with actual conservatism in action.

The conservatives who were walking the walk (not just talking the talk) and in the trenches had pretty much had enough of them, which was reflected in the fact that you barely saw them on the Fox News panels like Special Report with Bret Baier. Liberal Chris Wallace gave them the most oxygen on Fox News Sunday, but it was clear that the Wonder Twins had fallen out of favor a long time before that. Like five years before, when Donald J. Trump came on the scene.

Candidate Trump was a lot of talk for sure, but once elected President Trump, the actual action on certain conservative issues and policies was quite impressive—especially on the social ones. People who were not conservatives were suddenly excited about conservative ideals and delighted in seeing them implemented. The grassroots finally felt as though a Republican president was actually mirroring and supporting what mattered to them.

But Goldberg and Hayes would have none of this. Staunch Never Trumpers to the death, even while watching conservative ideals take full flight and soar under the Trump presidency. So, the Wonder Twins dismissed peace in the Middle East, the nomination and approval of two Constitutionally-focused Supreme Court justices, plus 230 judges nominated and appointed to the federal bench, and tax and business policies that honored individuals rather than the government. They maligned Trump, maligned the people who voted for him, and harumphed and stroked their beards as they pontificated on national news. All they could see was, as conservative author and Fox News Contributor Mollie Hemmingway so aptly coined: “Orange Man Bad!”

In January 2021, Radio Host Dan O’Donnell wrote for the MacIver Institute a sober analysis about the tangible effects of a Trump presidency on conservatism and conservative policy goals.

If there was a singular theme of the Donald Trump presidency, it was the tendency for both supporters and critics to judge it on the character and behavior of the President and not the substance and impact of his policies.  As such, the Trump era ends without the sort of sober analysis that often accompanies the end of presidencies, and this is a shame because, on policy, Donald Trump was perhaps the most consequential conservative in recent history.

The most ardent of Trump’s detractors—both on the left and in the Republican Party—are simply too blinded by unhinged hatred for the man that they are largely unable to see the lengths to which his policies both advanced the traditional conservative movement and moved it into a new phase that has the potential to open it to millions of new adherents.

Simply put, Trump’s presidency proved that tried-and-true conservative principles of tax cuts and deregulation can dramatically improve the nation’s economy, while his more judicious approach to foreign engagement combined with the aggressive pursuit of more America-centric trade exposed the flaws of Bush-era neo-conservatism.

Both Goldberg and Hayes were squarely among the ranks of “Bush-era neo-conservatism.” Acela-Beltway Boys until the very end, like their pal David Brooks. But like so many others, Trump broke them.

It’s nice to see their end in the media that actual conservatives consume. The times they did appear, most of us became queasy and hit the Mute button on our remotes. Now we’d have to actually make the effort to book a cruise with them to see them stroke their beards and pontificate—Ahoy!

No doubt, Goldberg and Hayes will join their buddy Bill Kristol over at MessNBC.

Bye, Felicia! Don’t let the doorknob hit you on the way out.


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