Hayes then directly questioned Stirewalt about Fox’s culpability in popularizing and helping to amplify Trump’s “big lie” about nonexistent mass voter fraud, which had enraged the ex-president’s supporters and led to the deadly storming of the Capitol to disrupt the certification of the election. “The deeper problem is that your network, the president, was feeding people substantive lies,” the host pressed. He then emphasized the “incredibly” consequential nature of these lies––describing them as “mistruths about the state of the world”––before firing back at Stirewalt’s vague media criticism: “That’s a substantive problem with what was being pumped out, not a formal question of the 24-hour news cycle,” said Hayes. Stirewalt quickly denied playing a role in how Fox pumped out “mistruths,” a response that triggered some raised eyebrows from the progressive host. Hayes’s guest did not appreciate his change in body language. “You raise whatever eyebrow you wanna raise,” Stirewalt exclaimed, leading Hayes to say that his brows were only raised “at the network where you worked.”

Stirewalt then doubled down to defend the work he produced at the network, insisting that he “did and said what I wanted to do and say.” Rather than takes shots at Fox News in particular, Stirewalt pivoted the segment’s media criticism away from specifics—yet Hayes was not having it. “There are people on the network you worked for that are lying to people, and it’s really bad for the country,” he said matter-of-factly. “I don’t know any other way to say it but that’s just where we are.” While Stirewalt agreed that “lying to people is a bad thing to do,” he stressed that he “didn’t lie” during his time at Fox. “Like you, I patrolled those boundaries and that’s not what I participated in.”