Chris Wallace Is Sincere And Deluded, But To Be Fair, It’s Understandable.

“I believe President Trump is engaged in the most direct, sustained assault on freedom of the press in our history,” Fox anchor Chis Wallace told the audience at an event honoring the First Amendment. “The president’s attacks have done some damage..A Freedom Forum Institute poll this year found 29 percent of Americans think the First Amendment goes ‘too far.’ And 77 percent say ‘fake news’ is a serious threat to our democracy,” Wallace continued.

“Ours is a great profession — maybe the best way to make a living anyone ever came up with. Think of it. We are paid to tell the truth—to cut through all the spin—all the distractions — and tell the American people what is really going on.”

Chris Wallace is a smart guy; I knew him a little when I was a sophomore and he was a senior in the same residential House in college. He’s also a journalist with integrity, the antithesis of stereotypes and smears that are routinely used to delegitimize Fox News reporting, often the only broadcast news source to counter the Left’s propaganda.  It would be weird if Wallace didn’t believe the myth about journalism, given his pedigree (icon Mike Wallace was Chris’s father) and the fact that he was immersed in his father’s world virtually from birth.

So I sympathize, but what an obviously ridiculous statement to make in public, literally from beginning to end! This might be the best example of how “Bias makes you stupid” of all time; I can’t think of a better one. Imagine: Wallace asserts one false position after another, then says “We are paid to tell the truth.” He would be lying, except I’m sure he believes it all. Chris, I’m sure, does try to tell the truth. He is apparently incapable of telling the truth about his friends and colleagues, because he is incapable of seeing it.

Let’s see:

We all have a right to do many terrible, unfair, wrongful and harmful things. People have a right to have children they can’t take care of, for example. They have a right to be unfaithful to their spouses, to misrepresent their affections to partners who think they are loved. Parents have a right to warp the values and education of their children. People have a right to accept jobs that they are unqualified to do well; they have a right not to retire long after they know they have become incompetent. We have a right to be biased, to be prejudiced, and to hate irrationally. We have a right to vote, even if we vote ignorantly and without meeting our duty to be informed citizens. The issue in which this rationalization was raised on Ethics Alarms was a news story about a grandmother who killed her cat and kittens to punish her grandchildren. Yes, she had a right to kill them, for they were her property. A billionaire could buy a great work of art and destroy it on a whim, too. Gratuitous, wanton or cruel destruction of property that others derive joy or practical use from, however, is still unethical.

Yes, we often have a right to do something wrong. Using rights that way, however, is to abuse them.

Wallace is really and truly saying that criticizing how a right is exercised poses a threat to the existence of that right. This is now a reflex defense by journalists, which is itself, ironically, a tactic designed to suppress speech. They want to criticize those they oppose, but criticizing the manner in which they frequently do it—incompetently, recklessly, dishonesty and with bias—is deemed an attack on their right to do it. Chris Wallace is smart enough to understand the distinction, or was, before his bias softened his brain.

How embarrassing. Virtually an entire political party, and the one that is dedicated to destroying the President, has vocally advocated censorship and the punishment of “hate speech,” on college campuses, by far left antifa mobs, by elected officials who support statue toppling, disrupting legal demonstrations advocating unpopular positions and banning offensive words. But Chris Wallace blames the decline in public support for the First Amendment on Trump?

Wow.

  • Incredibly, Wallace implies that 77% of the public seeing  fake news as a threat to democracy is the fault of President Trump, the target of the most fake news of any figure in American history, rather than the news media, which has betrayed its duty to the nation, the public and democracy by abandoning its obligation to inform the public for the pursuit of  the political agenda of its largely intellectually limited, narrow-minded and arrogant practitioners.

Ironically, Wallace is denying the dangerous proliferation of fake and manipulated news at exactly the moment when so much of it has been exposed by the Inspector General’s report on the FBI’s incompetent/biased investigation of the Trump campaign.

Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi , who has gained Ethics Hero status (along with The Intercept’s Glenn Greenwald) as a left-leaning journalist unwilling to maintain the lie that there is no mainstream media bias, wrote, “No matter what people think the political meaning of the Horowitz report might be, reporters who read it will know: Anybody who touched this nonsense in print should be embarrassed.”

The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway also took to Twitter to make the point:

Yet Mike Wallace’s son, keen and  honorable observor of the American scene, sees none of it. Poor Chris.

Bias makes us stupid.

Even the best of us.

 

25 thoughts on “Chris Wallace Is Sincere And Deluded, But To Be Fair, It’s Understandable.

  1. You’d think, perhaps more than anyone else, he’d know when to shut up or back track. But no. His professional arrogance and idiocy prevents him. Fool.

    • Journalist are better than the public. They hobnob with the rich and powerful, and people listen when they talk. They are paid outrageous sums to give their opinions disguised as news.

      This breeds arrogance.

  2. Due to my line of work, I know a lot of journalists, and have for decades. Most are very sincere people. Only a handful of them are fully aware that their work, however brilliant, is not actually the product. Their work is the means by which the product is sold. And the product is the column inches, air minutes and pixels containing ad and underwriting space aimed at news consumers.

  3. I have come to believe that in this age of relationship marketing professional standards take a back seat to the peer community sentiments.

    It takes a rare person to break free of the hold of the groupthink of one’s professional colleagues . I am beginning to think many “professionals” are actually nothing more than mediocre placeholders who merely parrot the current technobabble or buzzwords to make them appear to be in the know.

    If journalism is a profession why do each of them use the same verbiage in their reports. I first noticed this when the word intransigence became the ubiquitous verb to describe a politicians unwillingness to buckle to its opposition. Now, almost to a person the same words are being uttered by tv ideologues. When plagerism of this magnitude exists it is no wonder that sincere but deluded journalist get caught up in their own bias; a candid self exam is terrifying so the safe route is taken.

  4. For some time now, I’ve been unable to discern whether Wallace is dishonestly or naively continuing to push the idea that “journalists” are honorable in their work, and that the fact that much of the public sees them otherwise is somehow the fault of other agents.

    If he’s really as smart as you think, can he be that naive?

    • I don’t know.

      Consider ourselves. Many of us are fairly certain in our beliefs, some of them dearly held for decades. Suppose some outsider came in and assured us that our beliefs were wrong?

      Further, suppose that there still existed evidence that they were right, even though an honest assessment provided an overwhelming likelihood that the outsider was actually correct challenging them. Would we be quick to abandon our long and closely held beliefs, or would we fight for them in the face of convincing evidence to the contrary?

      It’s difficult. When we become emotionally invested in propositions, abandoning them in favor of even overwhelming evidence to the contrary is hard. For some, it may be impossible.

      Which takes us back to journalism. Can we rationally conclude that people who are so emotionally invested in positions that deserve to be subject to public scrutiny are actually qualified to call themselves journalists? The idea, at least of hard news reporting, is that you go where the facts take you, not surrender to preconceptions when your sacred cows are slain.

      I submit that Wallace’s lifetime emotional investment in journalism disqualifies him from hard news reporting. He is incapable of any objectivity where journalism itself is concerned. He’s certainly qualified to offer opinions, but his objectivity is terminally compromised.

      • Glenn

        You captured my thinking exactly. By using using general belief constructs you were able to more clearly articulate the idea I was trying to communicate.

  5. Chris Wallace believes the Right is responsible for people not supporting the First Amendment because he is a true believer in the Democratic Party. A true believer believes hate speech is illegal and not free speech, therefore it is Republicans who are behind a lessening support for ‘free speech’. A true believer believes it is the media’s job to tell the public what they are supposed to believe, not what is true. It is the essential job of the media to do this or people might not vote ‘for the right side of history’, people might make the wrong choices if they were allowed to decide for themselves. He is correct that it is due to the Right that the public is aware of ‘fake news’. Before conservative news outlets were common, the public did not know how often the media lied to us. A true believer believes the media’s job is to mold the public’s reality and make us believe what they want us to believe. The Right is disrupting that. Ether he is a true believer or he is lying. Can he be either and still be a good person?

    As a related sidenote, I see the leftists in Hollywood and the media are trying to derail the movie, Richard Jewell. I am surprised that movie was allowed to be made at all. the Richard Jewell story is a good example of how the media and FBI have worked together for a long time to sell ‘fake news’ in order to control the attitudes and behavior of the public.

    • Legacies: 14%. They are not automatic: the acceptance rate used to be about 30%, I was one. I was told that I was strong candidate, but that my odds were significantly improved because my Dad was a grad. I have no idea what the celebrity kid % is. Higher than most colleges, but still not overwhelming. They still have to be smart.

      The only ones I can recall from my four years are Chris and his sister; the heir to a horseradish fortune (and known as “Hot Sally”), Bonnie Raitt, daughter of Broadway star John, my friend Bob Reese, of the Peanut Butter Cup family, actress Lindsey Crouse, duaghter of the playwright and Broadway producer, and that’s about it.

  6. Wallace is being taken out of context. Listen the whole statement. It doesn’t mean what everyone thinks it means.

    Here is a link:

    https://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2019/12/12/chris_wallace_trump_engaged_in_most_direct_sustained_assault_on_freedom_of_press_in_our_history.html

    WALLACE said: “I believe that President Trump is engaged in the most direct sustained assault on freedom of the press in our history . . .” to rousing applause. Then, he said:

    “Before you applaud, listen to the rest of this because I think many of our colleagues in the new business see the President’s attacks, his constant bashing of the media, as a rationale – as an excuse – to cross the lines themselves to push back. And that is a big mistake. I see it all the time on the front pages of major newspapers and lede of the evening news. Fact, mixed with opinion, buzz words like bombshell and scandal. The animus of the reporter and the editor as plain to see as the headline.

    “Two days after Donald Trump was elected President – two days (gesturing with two fingers raised), this was the sentence in the lead story in the New York Times: ‘The American political establishment reeled on Wednesday as leaders in both parties began coming to grips with four years of Donald J. Trump in the White House, a once unimaginable scenario that has now plunged the United States and its allies into a period of deep uncertainty about the policies and impact of this Administration’. That’s a lot to unpack in one sentence. It hasn’t stopped since.

    “I know this is going to be controversial, but I came here today from having spent all day at Fox News covering the Senate Judiciary Committee’s IG Report. Some things in the report (are) very supportive of what the FBI did, some of it very critical. We covered it all. One of our fellow networks, CNN, today ignored the IG Report, ignored all of the statements about terrible conduct, perhaps illegality on behalf of the FBI in its seeking the FISA warrants against Carter Page. Now, that last time I checked, CNN was pretty interested in the Russia Investigation, but they didn’t seem interested in this.

    “The fact is the President has given us plenty to work with but when we respond to him like that, we are playing – when we respond with bias, we are playing his game, not ours. We are not participants in what we cover; we are umpires, we are observers trying to be objective witnesses to what is going on. If the President or anyone we are covering says something untrue, or does something questionable, we can and should report it. But, we shouldn’t be drawn into the fight, we shouldn’t be drawn into taking sides as tempting as that is. We’re not as good at it as they are and we are abandoning the special role the Founders gave us in this democracy.

    “Now, let’s talk about the President. He has done everything he can to undercut the media, to try and delegitimize us, and I think his purpose is clear: to raise doubts when we report critically about him and his administration that we can be trusted. Back in 2017 he tweeted something that said far more about him than it did about us. Quote: ‘The Fake News Media is not my enemy; it is the enemy of the American people.’ After that statement, Retirement Admiral Bill McRaven (sp?), a Navy Seal for 37 years – the man in charge of the missions that capture Saddam Hussein and that took down Osama bin’.Laden – Bill McRaven said this, ‘This sentiment may be the greatest threat to democracy in my lifetime’.

    “Now, I gotta say, I was a little surprised by that. This is a guy that fought the Soviet Union. This is an Admiral who fought Islamic terrorism. But, when I asked Bill about this, this was his response: ‘Those threats – the Soviets, Islamic terrorism – those threats brought us together. Both the President and I swore an oath the Constitution, and the First Amendment to that Constitution is freedom of the press. When the President says the media is the enemy of the people, to me that undermines the Constitution. So, I do think it is a tremendous threat to our democracy’.

    “Let’s be honest: the President’s attacks have done some damage. A Freedom Forum Institute poll, associated here with the museum, this year found that 29% of Americans, almost a third of all of us, think the First Amendment goes too far. And 77%, three-quarters, think that fake news is a serious threat to our democracy. But on this night, as we celebrate freedom of the press, and we commemorate the museum, I think we should remember some essential truths. First, ours is a great profession – maybe the best anyone ever thought of to make a living. Think of it – we get paid to tell the truth. How many people can say that, to cut through all the spin, all the distractions, and to tell the American people what is really going on, what our leaders are really doing, what is happening in our schools, in hospitals and in our neighborhoods, and with our environment. I have been blessed to do this for fifty years. I spent a week with Mother Theresa in Calcutta just after she’s won the Nobel Peace Prize. I covered President Reagan for six years going with him to China and the Korean DMZ and covering four Reagan-Gorbachev summits. Last year, I interviewed Vladimir Putin in Helsinki just after that summit. And I asked him, ‘Why do so many of the people that oppose you end up dead?’ And I lived to tell the tale.

    “Sure, we take our share of incoming. A couple of weeks ago President Trump tweeted after one of my interviews, ‘Steve Scalise blew away the nasty and obnoxious Chris Wallace’. Afterwards, one of my sons said, ‘nasty? No. Obnoxious . . . well, . . . .’

    “The bottom line is we have seen presidents come and go. We will endure. So will freedom of the press. So, I am confident, will the newsy.”

    jvb

    • He still says the President, not his colleagues, are responsible for the public’s lack of trust in the press. He describes CNN’s conduct and the rest as if they are outliers. They aren’t. Fake news is a serious threat to democracy. And the cant about reporting the truth is boiler plate.

      Frankly, the whole speech is Wallace talking out of both sides of his mouth, giving the Fox company line and rationalizing at the same time. I’d respect him more if he had the guts to take a position and stick to it.

    • I don’t see that changing anything, except maybe adding “cognitive dissonance” to the possibilities of why Wallace behaves as he does.

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