WAL­LACE ON ‘ME­DIA UN­FAIR­NESS’

The Washington Times Weekly - - Politics -

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.

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