When Chris Stirewalt watched rioters attack the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, he was a journalist for Fox News, which was attempting to recuperate from a rankings slump within the weeks after President Donald J. Trump lost his re-election campaign.
Two months later, Mr. Stirewalt was fired by Fox, where he had been an everyday on-air presence because the politics editor.
The network gave no public reason for his dismissal. But Mr. Stirewalt, who before his ouster was one in all the shrinking number of stories journalists left at Fox News, was on the team that had decided to call Arizona for Joseph R. Biden Jr. shortly before midnight on Election Day in 2020, effectively declaring the race over days before the outcomes could be settled.
On Monday, he discussed how he and the members of the Fox News Decision Desk relied on hard data to make that decision, which deeply angered Mr. Trump and blunted his ability to falsely claim that he had won.
In the times after the election, Mr. Stirewalt was one in all the Fox personalities who went on the air to defend the decision as Mr. Trump attacked the network, and his supporters voted with their remotes, switching over to Fox rivals like Newsmax and the One America News Network.
Mr. Stirewalt described the choice because the product of a cautious and rigorous internal process. “We’re careful about making calls,” he said the day after the election. “That’s why now we have those protocols in place — in order that we make good calls and that they arise.”
Since his ouster, Mr. Stirewalt has change into an outspoken critic of his former employer and what he has described as an information bubble that’s doing a disservice to Trump supporters. He has called the notion that fraud cost Mr. Trump the election a “lie” and said that the previous president’s initial success was partly the results of the “informational malnourishment” of his supporters.
In an opinion article for The Los Angeles Times that he wrote shortly after departing Fox, Mr. Stirewalt said he was hopeful that the reality would prevail. But he acknowledged that, after watching what happened on Jan. 6, he had doubts about whether that might “come quickly enough when outlets have the means to cater to each unhealthy craving of their consumers.”