Fox News has confirmed that it is laying off some digital employees as part of a reorganization, though it is not commenting on specific employees' status, for privacy reasons.
“As we conclude the 2020 election cycle, Fox News Digital has realigned its business and reporting structure to meet the demands of this new era,” the company said in a statement. “We are confident these changes will ensure the platform continues to deliver breakthrough reporting and insightful analysis surrounding major issues, both stateside and abroad.”
The layoffs, which reports have put at about 20 or under, reportedly include veteran politics editor Chris Stirewalt.
Stirewalt — who has been with Fox for at least a decade but has not been on-air in recent weeks — was one of the news executives involved in making the correct election-night call that Joe Biden had won Arizona.
The New York Times reported that Fox had "fired" Stirewait, based on three sources with knowledge of the matter.
Another executive involved in the Arizona call, Bill Sammon, 62, senior vice president and managing editor at the network’s Washington bureau, announced his retirement to staff on Monday.
Sammon, "who had editorial oversight of the network’s Decision Desk, had faced criticism from network executives over his handling of election coverage, despite the Arizona call ultimately being accurate," reports the Times.
Neither executive commented in response to requests from the press.
According to the Associated Press, which joined Fox in the Arizona call later on election night, ABC, CBS and NBC waited until Nov. 12 to call Arizona, after all of the networks had declared Biden the overall winner.
Fox News anchors were reportedly taken off guard by the call, Trump fumed that it was premature and told his followers to switch to right-wing outlets Newsmax or One America News, and some reports assert that it has contributed to a viewer backlash.
Fox News’ ratings have declined approximately 20% compared to pre-November 2020 levels, while Newsmax, as well as CNN and MSNBC, have seen ratings gains.
News Corp Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch and his son Lachlan, Fox Corp.'s CEO, are said to be taking a more hands-on role in positioning Fox News for the post-Trump era.
Fox News this week added another hour of right-wing opinion programming before its prime-time anchor shows.
In September, Fox News Media announced a restructuring “it said was necessary to make its operations more efficient after a period of expansion,” reports Variety. Fewer than 80 employees were reportedly affected at the time. Some sources said Fox had increased staff in its digital operations to handle the election.