WALLACE ON ‘MEDIA UNFAIRNESS’
Fox News anchorman Chris Wallace recently received the Founders Award for Excellence in Journalism from the International Center for Journalism, a 33-year-old organization based in the nation’s capital which promotes better news media practices. Mr. Wallace’s award was a big deal. So were his closing remarks, made before an audience of 600 people, at an event moderated by CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer.
“If President Trump is trying to undermine the press for his own calculated reasons, when he talks about bias in the media — unfairness — I think he has a point,” Mr. Wallace told the crowd, citing melodramatic, alarmist headlines from The New York Times, CBS News, and CNN which suggested Mr. Trump and his administration were “divorced from reality” while Americans faced “an unimaginable scenario,” among other things.
“I’m sure some of you hear those comments and think they’re spot on. But ask yourself honestly. Do they belong on the front page of the paper, or as the lead of the evening news? Here’s what I think is going on. I believe some of our colleagues — many of our colleagues — think this president has gone so far over the line bashing the media it has given them an excuse to cross the line themselves. To push back. As tempting as that may be, I think it’s a big mistake. We are not players in the game. We are umpires — or observers — trying to be objective witnesses to what is going on. That doesn’t mean we’re stenographers. If the president or anyone we’re covering says something untrue or does something questionable, we can and should report it,” Mr. Wallace told his audience.
“But we shouldn’t be drawn into becoming players on the field, trying to match the people we cover in invective. It’s not our role. We’re not as good at it as they are. And we’re giving up our special place in our democracy. There’s enough to report about this president that we don’t need to offer opinions or put our thumb on the scale. Be as straight and accurate and dispassionate as we first learned to be as reporters,” observed the veteran newsman concluded.
“Thank you for letting me get some things off my chest,” Mr. Wallace added. Democrats say the effort is going well in the poll of 1,504 U.S. adults, conducted Oct. 25-30.