- “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace told President Donald Trump his claims about American news media made him a worldwide “beacon for repression.”
- In an interview aired Sunday, Trump railed against outlets he called “fake news,” which was a term Wallace said was part of the rhetoric that is similar to authoritarian rulers.
- Wallace also objected to Trump’s attempt to classify outlets, saying Fox News stood with the president’s usual targets CNN and The New York Times “in solidarity.”
“Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace pushed back against President Donald Trump’s claims about American news media and said his extreme targeting of news outlets made him a “beacon for repression” around the world.
In a lengthy interview that aired Sunday, Wallace told Trump that his oft-used characterization of mainstream media outlets as “fake news” is a dangerous departure from simply disagreeing with the coverage of his administration.
“Leaders in authoritarian countries like Russia, China, Venezuela now repress the media using your words,” Wallace said, specifically citing a February 2017 tweet in which Trump listed the New York Times, NBC News, ABC, CBS, and CNN as “the enemy of the American people.”
“I can’t talk for other people, I can only talk for me,” Trump said.
Wallace interjected, “But you’re seen around the world as a beacon for repression.”
Trump then insisted he only disagreed with outlets that consistently cover his administration negatively, which signalled they were unfair.
Wallace said the president doesn’t “get to decide what’s fair and what’s not.”
“I can tell what’s fair and what’s not,” Trump replied, adding that the media doesn’t report when he does something “very good.”
“[President] Barack Obama whined about Fox News all the time,” Wallace said, “but he never said we were the enemy of the people.”
Trump acknowledged his criticism of the press involved saying “something differently than anyone has ever said it before.” The president then tried again to distinguish the “fake news” from legitimate media when Wallace rejected a possible distinction.
“We’re all together,” Wallace said. “When you call CNN and The New York Times [fake news], we are in solidarity, sir.”
Fox News recently offered a major rebuke against the Trump administration when it supported a lawsuit that CNN brought against the Trump administration last week over the decision to revoke CNN correspondent Jim Acosta’s press pass.
The dispute came after a combative exchange between Acosta and Trump at a press conference last week.
A White House intern eventually attempted to grab the microphone from Acosta’s hand, though he twisted away from her and held onto it.
The Trump administration argued that the First Amendment didn’t grant Acosta the right to enter the White House and that the administration has “broad discretion” to revoke press credentials.
On Friday, a federal judge ordered for Acosta’s credentials to be returned.
Trump told Wallace the ruling was “not a big deal” but that his administration is now drafting a code of conduct for reporters to follow in onsite press conferences, as Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced last week.
“If he misbehaves, we’ll throw him out or we’ll stop the news conference,” Trump said.