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Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Fox News’ Chris Wallace: ‘Facts Are Clearly Under Attack’

Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace says he believes “facts are clearly under attack” in America, but he believes that in the long run “the truth will win out.”

Wallace, who found himself trying to wrest control of the first presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, spoke at the Future of News conference with Financial Times editor Matthew Garrahan.

Asked if Americans’ trust in the media has been damaged by President Trump, Wallace said “absolutely. There is no question.” Wallace said the president’s regular attacks on the news media—and his repeated claims that news stories he doesn’t like are “fake news” has eroded the media’s standing—but also impacted the way journalists cover the White House and the president himself.

“My concern, in terms of the media, is that his attacks on the media and his polarization of the whole process has infected some people in the media,” Wallace said. “And I’ve tried very much to stay out of this. And I think that some of the people, I’m not talking about opinion people, I’m talking about straight news reporters. I watch you know, I covered – you talked about I was the White House correspondent for NBC – I covered Ronald Reagan for six years. And I am actually shocked by the animosity, the hostility, the kind of advocacy in White House briefings now, because I think that his license in attacking the media has given reporters, I think, either lulled them or enraged them, that they have become advocates themselves, often against him. And I think that’s a terrible mistake.”

Wallace said that he learned a lot about television news—and the world from his father, legendary 60 Minutes correspondent Mike Wallace. “I remember when I was in high school, my father was doing the morning news on CBS
and he said, ‘hey, you got to come down today.’ And I was on vacation from boarding school and I came down and I got to meet Malcolm X,” Wallace recalled.

“As a father of six children, I’ve long come to believe that the real impact you have on your kids is not what you say, but what you do. That’s what people pick up,” Wallace said. “And so to the degree that my father influenced me wasn’t by any advice he gave me about how to stand when you’re presenting on camera or how to pitch your voice. It was just seeing the level of professionalism, the depth of research and preparation, and, you know, that just gets by osmosis that you get that. So that was the impact he had on me.”

Wallace also shared that he still gets mistaken for his father, and he’s come to enjoy these random moments with people he admired him. “People will say, ‘hey, Mike,’ and I love it because my dad has been dead now for eight years and I love – you know, to me, it’s like I still remember him. And so that I find actually, you know, kind of a grace note.”

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