Months after Stephen Hayes quit Fox News over Tucker Carlson’s conspiratorial rhetoric about the Jan. 6 riots, the conservative author and pundit has landed at NBC News.
“I’ve known and worked with Steve Hayes on and off for nearly 25 years,” Meet the Press anchor Chuck Todd said in a Friday morning statement announcing Hayes’ new role as a network contributor. “He is a principled reporter and analyst who always puts truth and facts above emotion and sentiment.”
Hayes was a Fox News contributor for 12 years and was once a writer for the now-defunct Weekly Standard before co-founding The Dispatch, a center-right website offering an anti-Trump alternative for conservative audiences. He will make his first appearance as an NBC contributor on Sunday morning during Meet the Press, a show on which he has frequently appeared in years past.
Hayes did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s request for additional comment on his new job.
Hayes and longtime colleague Jonah Golberg, now editor-in-chief of The Dispatch, resigned from Fox News in November after the network aired Carlson’s Patriot Purge docuseries, which presented a range of bonkers conspiracies about the Jan. 6 riots, including a far-right claim that the violence was a “false flag” orchestrated by federal agents to punish and prosecute MAGA supporters.
At the time, the pair decried Carlson and the network’s direction, with Hayes in particular describing feeling disturbed that the network would suggest “there’s a domestic war on terror and it’s coming for half of the country.” Carlson celebrated their departure, calling it “great news” and declaring “viewers will be grateful.”
Hayes rose to prominence as one of the most vocal supporters of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and played a key role in promoting the false but deeply consequential claim of operational ties between Saddam Hussein and al Qaeda.
As such, the news of Hayes joining NBC News was met with some scorn online from critics both left and right.
Glenn Greenwald, for example, blared on Twitter: “Congratulations to one of America’s most fanatical and bloodthirsty warmongers, whose claim to fame was his 2002 book about the nonexistent alliance between Saddam and Al Qaeda, becoming the latest warmonger on NBC and proving neocons are fully back!”
Others mocked the hiring by posting the cover of Hayes’ 2004 book, titled, The Connection: How al Qaeda’s Collaboration with Saddam Hussein Has Endangered America, which centered around the debunked claim of an operational relationship between the two.