Accuracy in Media

During his acceptance speech last week after being awarded the International Center for Journalists’ Founders Award for Excellence in Journalism, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace said that even though President Trump is waging an assault on the press, he may have a point when it comes to media bias.

Wallace was honored for his 50-plus years in broadcasting and for “his unbiased, piercing approach to interviews.”

“President Trump is engaged in the most direct, sustained assault on a free press in our history,” Wallace said. “Since early in the campaign, he has done everything he can to delegitimize the media, attacking us institutionally and individually. And I think his purpose is clear: a concerted campaign to raise doubts that when we report critically about his administration that we can be trusted.”

Wallace then went on to talk about Trump’s attacks on the media via Twitter and his contention that negative reporting on his administration hurts the country. He also cited a recent Politico poll that revealed that 46 percent of voters believed that major news organizations make up stories about President Trump, saying that even if Trump is trying to undermine the press, he “may have a point” when he talks about media bias and unfairness.

Wallace then cited several instances of what he considered to be biased reports on Trump, and explaining why the media has acted this way.

“I believe that some of our colleagues – many of our colleagues – think this president has gone so far over the line to bash the media it has given them an excuse to cross the line themselves, to push back. And as tempting as that may be, I think it’s a big mistake.”

Wallace said the media are umpires, not players in the game and need 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 clearly over the line, we can and should report that,” Wallace said.

“But we shouldn’t be drawn into becoming players on the field, trying to match the people we cover in invective,” he continued. “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.”

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