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Former anchor Gretchen Carlson says Fox News has devolved ‘into non-fact-based conspiracy theories’ and ‘outright dangerous rhetoric’

Former Fox News personality Gretchen Carlson.

Richard Drew/AP

  • Former Fox News Gretchen Carlson slammed the network for spreading “outright dangerous rhetoric.”
  • She called on Republicans to speak out against misinformation “for the safety of our democracy.”
  • In 2016, Carlson won a sexual-harassment lawsuit against the late Roger Ailes, who served as Fox News’ chairman and CEO.

Former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson slammed the network and its on-air personalities for spreading what she called “outright dangerous rhetoric.”

“Conservative television news is certainly not the conservative news that was out there, even just five years ago,” Carlson told CNN’s Jim Acosta in an interview Friday. 

Since the Trump era, Carlson said conservative media had “morphed into eradicating any other point of view.” 

“It’s gone from an opinion, which was fine, to completely devolving into non-fact-based conspiracy theories, and outright dangerous rhetoric, in my mind,” she said. “And I think it’s a complete disservice to our country.”

A Fox News spokesperson did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on Sunday. 

Several top Fox News anchors, including Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham, were in contact with former President Donald Trump’s team during the riot at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021, asking the then-president to tell his supporters to leave the grounds, Insider previously reported.

Publicly, however, the on-air personalities took a different stance on the insurrection, suggesting groups like Antifa were responsible for the riot.

Carlson said it’s possible that media figures on both sides of the political aisle have advised the White House “depending on who happens to be in the office” but still condemned the actions of her former colleagues.  

“I think the bigger story coming out of that is how disingenuous it was to be sending those texts of warning while then going on the air to the American people and doing a complete injustice and disservice by saying something completely opposite and ginning up this whole reaction that it was just fine and patriotic for people to be there on January 6,” Carlson said. 

Carlson, who worked at Fox News for a decade from 2006 to 2016, said there was a “big difference” between having conservative opinions and supporting conspiracy theories. 

In 2016, Carlson reached a $20 million settlement in a sexual-harassment lawsuit against the late Roger Ailes, who served as the network’s longtime chairman and CEO. Carlson’s story led a dozen other women to come forward and allege that they had also been sexually harassed by Ailes, including former star anchor Megyn Kelly.

“I wish more of them would have the courage to do what I did, quite honestly, and come forward and take on a behemoth,” Carlson said. “For the safety of the Republican Party, and for our democracy, I wish more would because this is not going to end well.”

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