During an interview with Fox News Radio’s “Kilmeade & Friends” on Thursday, and another interview with “Shep Smith Reporting” on the Fox News Channel, “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace stated that President Obama froze out conservative outlets without the mainstream media showing the same outrage it has over President Trump calling on conservative reporters, and that “If you don’t like the idea that President Obama is telling the press what to do, then you can’t like it when it’s President Trump, somebody who a lot of viewers here may admire, telling reporters what to do.”
During his interview with Kilmeade, Wallace said that Trump is going out of his way “to call on particular reporters.” He continued, “Did the Obama administration go out of their way to call on particular reporters? Absolutely. Did Fox News and conservative outlets get frozen out oftentimes in Obama news conferences? Absolutely.”
Wallace further stated that hearing complaints from outlets like CNN that they weren’t called on is laughable, considering they never complained when Fox was frozen out by Obama. Wallace pointed to the number of interviews Obama did with other Sunday shows compared to him.
He also argued that “to a certain degree,” it’s okay that mainstream outlets aren’t being called on, because “There’s more than one news source out there, and it’s kind of refreshing, because, you know, there’s a First Amendment, but there isn’t a mainstream is entitled to ask the first question in the Constitution, which might be a surprise to some of my colleagues.” Wallace also mockingly compared some of the questions that the mainstream press asked Obama compared to what conservative outlets asked Trump.
On Friday, Wallace said that “[T]here’s no question that there has been, for a long period of time, particularly in the mainstream media, negative reporting on this president. I think all you have to do is…turn on other broadcasts other than our own and you’ll see coverage that you may not think is quite as fair and balanced. I’m troubled by some of it that I see. I will also say, though, that a lot of it is accurate reporting of things the president doesn’t like.”
He also stated that there is a “concerted effort, obviously, to undercut this president with all the leaks that are coming out from intelligence communities, from the FBI, from investigative bodies, and those are accurate reporting. I can understand why the president doesn’t like it. I can understand why he believes that it’s illegal activity, but that doesn’t mean that the reporting of those facts, those leaks is fake in any way shape or form.” And that while reporters shouldn’t report things that are direct threats to national security, “reporting a leak, even if it’s an illegal leak, of what Mike Flynn was saying to the Russian ambassador, it’s political damage, but it isn’t national security damage.”
When the discussion turned to Trump’s criticism of the press, Wallace stated that if there’s “fair criticism, you want to take that to heart.” He added, “But just because the president or some other powerful person says that, you shouldn’t fall into line. Look, we got plenty of criticism at Fox from President Obama during the last eight years, and we didn’t fall into line because of that, and I think most of the viewers out there watching salute us for not falling into line. And, I think you have to consider, if it’s something that you don’t like, how would you feel if it was the other way around? If you don’t like the idea that President Obama is telling the press what to do, then you can’t like it when it’s President Trump, somebody who a lot of viewers here may admire, telling reporters what to do.”
Wallace concluded, “We’re not entitled to any deference. The president can say anything that they want. He can call on any reporter he wants, whether it’s a conservative reporter, or a liberal reporter, but we are protected by the First Amendment — constitutionally protected to report what we want.”
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