Stephen Hayes, the conservative political analyst who raised eyebrows in November when he took to The New York Times to announce his breaking ties with Fox News Channel as a longtime contributor, is taking up with NBC News in advance of the midterm elections.
Hayes is expected to appear regularly across all NBC News properties, including TV shows like “Today,” “Meet The Press” and the streaming outlet NBC News Now. His first appearance under his new contributor deal with the NBCUniversal news division is expected to take place this Sunday on “Meet The Press.”
Hayes is a founder of “The Dispatch,” a digital publication that espouses a center-right point of view. Hayes, a longtime habitue of Washington media circles, was previously editor in chief of “The Weekly Standard,” now defunct. In November, he and his colleague, Jonah Goldberg, took to the “Media Equation” column of The New York Times to say they were cutting ties with Fox News Channel, where they had been contributors since 2009. The duo expressed concern about the direction of the Fox Corp.-owned network in the aftermath of the 2020 election. “Fox News still does real reporting, and there are still responsible conservatives providing valuable opinion and analysis. But the voices of the responsible are being drowned out by the irresponsible,” they said in a post on “The Dispatch.” Fox News indicated at the time that it did not plan to renew the duo’s contributor contracts.
Hayes’ new role at NBC News is indicative of a continuing desire by many TV news outlets to find ways to broaden their appeal to conservative viewers, at a time when Fox News Channel draws more viewers than either MSNBC or CNN and continues to hold a significant degree of influence over Republicans and others. NBC News has in the past aligned itself with political commentator Hugh Hewitt and former Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly. CBS News enlisted Jeff Flake, a former Republican U.S. Senator from Arizona, as a contributor. And CNN has struck alliances with a range of right-leaning voices ranging from Jeffrey Lord to Ed Martin to Rick Santorum, often with issues surfacing around comments they’ve made on air on in public.
“I’ve known and worked with Steve Hayes on and off for nearly 25 years. He is a principled reporter and analyst who always puts truth and facts above emotion and sentiment,” said Chuck Todd, the “Meet The Press” moderator, in a prepared statement. In the past, Hayes was a strong proponent of the Iraq War, and backed the notion that Saddam Hussein and al-Queda had strong operational ties, which was discovered to be inaccurate.
Hayes is the author of “The Connection: How al Qaeda’s Collaboration with Saddam Hussein Has Endangered America” and “Cheney: The Untold Story of America’s Most Powerful and Controversial Vice President.” He is a native of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, and a graduate of DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. He studied public policy at Georgetown University and received an Master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.