I’m wondering what the conversation around the Fox News water cooler is going to be like, next week?
“Fox News Sunday” host, Chris Wallace, seems to have taken exception to some of his colleagues, who are more opinion than actual hard news, ripping on the media as “fake news,” per the lead of their messiah, President Trump.
Wallace wants to see the success of Fox News, but in an interview with the Associated Press, he expressed a bit of discomfort with hearing the talking points of his colleagues.
“It bothers me,” Wallace said in an interview. “If they want to say they like Trump, or that they’re upset with the Democrats, that’s fine. That’s opinion. That’s what they do for a living.
“I don’t like them bashing the media, because oftentimes what they’re bashing is stuff that we on the news side are doing. I don’t think they recognize that they have a role at Fox News and we have a role at Fox News. I don’t know what’s in their head. I just think it’s bad form.”
It is bad form, especially when they work for a news channel that has, likewise, been accused of being “fake news.”
The problem is that the actual news part has been blended too seamlessly with the opinion spouters. While people like Wallace and Bret Baier are covering real news, Sean Hannity is yacking about conspiracy theories and people lose the thread of truth.
And no, Wallace didn’t call out Hannity, specifically.
It would have been sweet if he had, however.
Hannity has attacked the press in 90 percent of his opening monologues, all in service to Trump, between May and September of this year. He’s used the term, “fake news,” nearly 70 times.
Wallace generally steers clear of Fox News Channel’s opinionated shows when he makes appearances outside of “Fox News Sunday,” which is on the Fox broadcast network and is repeated on cable. He doesn’t go on the “Fox & Friends” weekday morning show, for instance, after he scolded that show’s hosts on the air in March 2008 for distorting remarks made by Barack Obama and giving excessive attention to them.
As president, Trump has given interviews to Fox News more than any other outlet, but he has favored Hannity and other supportive hosts like Jeanine Pirro and Jesse Watters. News anchors Wallace, Bret Baier and Shepard Smith and chief White House correspondent John Roberts have been shut out. Wallace spoke to Trump when he was president-elect.
And no more.
Trump prefers safe spaces and softball interviews, which he receives in nauseating abundance from people like Sean Hannity and Judge Jeanine Pirro.
“Ultimately, any White House decides who they want to go out and talk to,” Wallace said. “Would I rather they talk to me? Well, if that’s what they’re going to do, that’s what they’re going to do.”
Wallace also noted that during former President Obama’s time in office, he didn’t treat Fox News with the same respect that he treated other networks. That much is well known.
Obama did appear with Wallace in April of last year, however.
Wallace also described what has come to be known as “Trump Sundays,” where he has to scramble everything and reboot his plans for his Sunday show because of something new President Trump has done.
“When you’ve been covering the White House since 1980, you get a little bit jaded,” said Wallace, who followed the Reagan administration for NBC before moving on to ABC and, in 2003, to Fox. “I’ve seen it all. Now I feel like a cub reporter, because I’ve never seen anything like this.”
With Fox News the preferred network for conservatives, journalists there will often hear it from viewers about stories that don’t toe a party line. Wallace said he does, too, like when he hears grumbling about someone on his show who does battle with Trump, like Sen. John McCain.
He insists that those he encounters on the streets are supportive, appreciating his efforts to keep the line between opinion and news firm and visible. He’s also grateful that no one in management with Fox News has ever tried to influence the way he covers the news.
That’s good to know. Chris Wallace is the kind of evenhanded voice we need, as shelter from what has become something akin to a sideshow nightmare.