A longtime analyst for Fox News announced he is leaving the conservative cable news channel, bashing it as a Trump administration "propaganda machine" that is assaulting American democracy in order to turn a profit.
In a biting farewell email sent to colleagues on Tuesday, retired Army Lt. Col. Ralph Peters said he had decided not to renew his contract with the network. He blasted Fox for the toxic rhetoric of its primetime hosts and its soft coverage of an ethically questionable White House.
"Today, I feel that Fox News is assaulting our constitutional order and the rule of law, while fostering a corrosive and unjustified paranoia among viewers," Peters wrote in an email which was obtained by both The New York Times and Buzzfeed News. The network has become, Peters continued, a "mere propaganda machine for a destructive and ethically ruinous administration."
“Over my decade with Fox, I long was proud of the association,” he added. “Now I am ashamed.”
Without identifying them by name, Peters wrote that Fox News' primetime anchors "dismiss facts and empirical reality to launch profoundly dishonest assaults on the FBI, the Justice Department, the courts, the intelligence community (in which I served) and, not least, a model public servant and genuine war hero such as Robert Mueller."
"I cannot be part of the same organization, even at a remove," he wrote. "Fox News is now wittingly harming our system of government for profit."
The retired lieutenant colonel also alleged that Fox News hosts who "made their reputations as super-patriots . . . now advance Putin's agenda" and claimed that Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and seedy revelations in the Steele dossier are both true.
"As an intelligence professional, I can tell you that the Steele dossier rings true — that's how the Russians do things," he wrote. "The result is that we have an American president who is terrified of his counterpart in Moscow."
Fox News responded on Tuesday, saying it was "extremely proud of our top-rated primetime hosts and all of our opinion programming."
"Ralph Peters is entitled to his opinion, despite the fact that he's choosing it to use as a weapon in order to gain attention," the network said in a statement.
Peters, who once called former President Barack Obama a "total p*ssy" who was being "date raped" by Russian President Vladimir Putin, contributed to the network for about a decade. He parted ways with traditional conservative ideology, however, by pushing for a ban on assault-style weapons after last month's mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.
Peters' departure comes less than a week after Fox News anchor Shepard Smith told Time magazine that the opinion side of the network doesn't "really have rules" and exists "strictly to be entertaining."