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Chris Wallace helped Fox News claim it engaged in "journalism"
Leaving for CNN doesn't absolve him. And Fox, now full-on white supremacist, should be banned from the White House and military bases
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When Chris Wallace signed off of Fox News on Sunday it ended 18 years of Wallace helping give Fox a veneer of credibility.
Whenever Fox was criticized about the long-time distortions and the hate-mongering, and, more recently, the Covid denialism, the anti-vax promotion and the pushing of outright white supremacist ideology, they pointed to Wallace and his thorough, sometimes hard-hitting interviews.
Nevermind that Wallace more often than not gave a pass to Republicans — no matter that he pressed Donald Trump and a few others in some newsmaking moments — and even yesterday he didn’t ask Senator Lindsay Graham about being shown a PowerPoint presentation on overturning the election that we’ve now learned was presented to him and other members of Congress. Sure, compared to Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson, he had a background in journalism and, as he said while signing off, he was never told by Fox News executives what to put or not put on the air.
But the fact that he had to tell us that as he left actually said a lot. More importantly, Wallace gets no points for leaving ABC News after 14 years to join Fox in 2003 and help Rupert Murdoch claim journalistic credibility as Murdoch grew a far-right propaganda machine that has caused enormous destruction to American society. The insurrection on January 6th ties directly to Fox News and the lies it promoted — and Wallace enabled Fox News.
Wallace made millions of dollars in this endeavor. And now as Fox goes just too much to the dark side for his taste, he goes to CNN’s new streaming channel, to make even more money. It doesn’t say a lot for him, nor for CNN, all of the accolades and backslapping I saw on social media notwithstanding.
Everything is relative and Wallace, while surely not a Fox News extremist, is still a conservative, openly and proudly. So CNN gets a new openly conservative interviewer for its new streaming service. I’m not sure how much progress that is — not unless I see them bring on openly progressive reporters and interviewers instead of people who claim to be “objective” and then engage in “both sides” journalism, fearful of being “unfair” to a Republican Party that is now controlled by dangerous, violence-inciting seditionists.
It is a good thing though that Fox News now loses a big name that they hauled out as an example of their being involved in some semblance of real journalism. Bret Baier or anyone else at Fox who they’ve also pointed to in that regard in the past doesn’t come near Wallace in stature and recognizability.
So it’s a positive that Fox can no longer hide behind him. And they’ve lost other people in recent weeks, including pundits Stephen Hayes and Jonah Goldberg. And remember when Shepard Smith felt pushed out too and abruptly left in 2020.
But Fox doesn’t care about any of that, and that’s what’s truly frightening. They’ve got Newsmax and OAN and a bunch of other conspiracy-mongering upstarts cutting into their ratings. It’s all about the bottom line.
Fox is now proudly Tucker Carlson’s network, promoting white replacement theory, authoritarianism exported from Hungary, conspiracy theories about Covid and glorification of domestic insurrectionists. Carlson’s new “Patriot Purge” series on Fox’s streaming channel is all about making the Trumpers the real victims, and claiming the insurrection was a false flag promoted by the “deep state” in order to destroy them and Trump.
With Wallace gone and no veneer of journalism left, the White House should not allow Fox “correspondents” in the press briefings or on Air Force One — not while it is now openly peddling white nationalism and violence that may well be sparking another Civil War. And Fox shouldn’t be shown on military bases, where we already have a problem with white supremacists in the ranks — and when so many of the January 6th insurrectionists were military veterans, with one in five of the 1/6 defendants having served.
I know many are doubtful any of that will happen. But if we can’t ban outright racist ideology and fascist, Nazi-influenced propaganda at this point for fear of outrage and backlash, what does that say about this moment?
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