Fox’s Chris Wallace Doesn’t Like Colleagues Echoing Press Attacks

NEW YORK (AP) — Sunday host Chris Wallace generally lives in peaceful co-existence with Fox News Channel’s opinion folks, except when he hears some of them echo President Donald Trump’s criticism of the news media.

Fake news? He’s fighting back.

“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.”

He doesn’t call out press-bashing colleagues by name. It’s no secret that prime-time star Sean Hannity is the president’s fiercest defender on Fox, with frequent references to the “destroy Trump media.” Hannity criticized the press in 90 percent of his monologues from May 15 to Sept. 1, according to the liberal media watchdogs Media Matters for America, and used the term “fake news” 67 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.


“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 said there were periods when the Obama administration did not keep “Fox News Sunday” on the same rotation with ABC, CBS and NBC shows in terms of offering interview subjects. President Obama went two years without giving Fox an interview before appearing with Wallace in April 2016.

Wallace refers to “Trump Sundays” for the days he’s hurriedly had to revamp his show in the hours before going on the air to respond to something the president has done or said. Such changes on the fly were rare before this year.

“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.

For the most part, the people who recognize him on the street support his efforts to ask tough questions of everyone, he said.

“When I go out and when I’m with people, people feel a tie to you because I’m an anchor at Fox News that I’ve never felt anyplace else,” Wallace said. “There’s a sense of kinship, if you will. That doesn’t mean they want it one way. I’m not one of the opinion guys … They know I’m not going to sell a party line, and the people who come up to me respect that.”

Both during former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes’ reign and after, Wallace said management has not second-guessed his show’s content.

Wallace and his wife recently bought a second home on the water in Maryland, where he happily retreats after each Sunday show is done. He’s starting to appreciate the experience of his father, the late “60 Minutes” legend Mike Wallace, who did some of his best work in his 70s and even beyond.

“I actually feel like I’m coming in to my own, as a journalist, as an interviewer, as a debate moderator,” he said. “I feel like I’m in a really good stage in my career, not at all like I’m on the way out.”

Comments (5)

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Gregg Palermo says:

October 20, 2017 at 9:12 am

It doesn’t take much to recognize the difference between a Republican and a Democrat in the White House. Trump may be an extreme case, by his own choices, but for decades the media have treated the two parties in vastly different manners. Reagan, Bush, Trump: Big firestorm, daily upheaval. Clinton, Obama: Long periods of adoration punctuated by an occasional negative thread. We get it. Journalists prefer Democrats. Always have, always will.

Brian Bussey says:

October 20, 2017 at 9:49 am

the primary reason republicans were treated differently by the national media is because Republicans were either borderline criminals or actual criminals. Going all the way back to the Watergate burglary which launched the right wing attacks on democrats to create a false sense of equally criminal behavior, Republican administrations don’t end in victory tours, they end in criminal court and pardons. Ford for Nixon, Bush for his Iran-contra, crack cocaine epidemic / CIA stooges, Bush 2 for war crimes against humanity. Honestly, I did not like Bill Clinton but it was not because of his skirt chasing. I did not like his fine art of “triangulation”. The white house occupants have a history of skirt chasing. ( pants chasing in the case of Abe Lincoln with Josh Speed). The national media spent way way way more time on Hillary Clinton bogus email issues (Colin Powell ) than any of Trump’s bankruptcies or Russian investment funds. You might choose to look over the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people as a result of Republican policies. I do not and expect our national media not to either.

    Bo Berezansky says:

    October 20, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    And this is an example of “fake news”. Thanks Hope for providing that

Julien Devereux says:

October 20, 2017 at 11:27 am

When the occupant of the Oval Office says something, on camera, and it’s replayed verbatim, how can that be called fake news? How does simply playing that recording be considered slanted? And yet, what we are being told by the White House, and some people actually believe, is that what comes out of Trump’s mouth didn’t come out of Trump’s mouth even though it’s recorded, and it’s fake. Most folks reading this aren’t old enough to remember, but I do; hello Herr Goebbels.

Ellen Samrock says:

October 20, 2017 at 1:30 pm

The adversarial relationship between Fox and the other networks was well established during the Obama years. So Wallace is spitting into the wind by expressing his distaste for criticizing the media. The left has been doing it a long time with respects to Fox. If anything, Sean Hannity’s “destroy Trump media” catchphrase has strengthened the Fox brand as the only network that provides fair and balanced coverage on the president and his administration in contrast to the other left-leaning news outlets. The criticism has actually worked in FNC’s favor and their ratings prove it.