Yet Baier and Wallace keep quiet. We asked to interview them for this series and eagerly await a green light from Fox News. Pressed about the behavior of the opinion anchors in a February 2020 event at the Columbia University School of Journalism, Wallace said, “Nobody tends to ask people at the New York Times, ‘Well, how do you cover your beat when you’ve got Paul Krugman, who is expressing strong left-wing views, or Charles Blow expressing strong anti-Trump views?’ Just like there are people in my prime time who are very opinionated and generally pro-Trump. And the answer is: They do what they do; I do what I do. It’s a different piece of real estate.”

No way, Wallace: New York Times opinion columnists opine from a shared set of facts. And when they veer from that standard, there’s hell to pay. Fox News prime-timers opine from a shared set of conservative fantasies. And when they veer from that standard, their viewers give them hell.

Talents such as Baier and Wallace work at Fox News in the capacity of fig leaves. They provide cover — righteous distractions — from the horror that goes down on the opinion hours. This is a dichotomy hatched by Ailes, who realized that he could get away with lunacy at night if he balanced it with something approaching sanity during the day. Baier and Wallace, accordingly, serve as highly paid enablers whose silence allows Fox News to flit from one crisis to the next.