Fox News host Chris Wallace accused President Trump on Wednesday of conducting an unprecedented attack on the constitutionally guaranteed right to freedom of the press.
The longtime newscaster took aim at Mr. Trump while speaking at an event about the Constitution’s First Amendment held at the Newseum in downtown Washington, D.C.
“I believe that President Trump is engaged in the most direct, sustained assault on freedom of the press in our history,” Mr. Wallace told attendees to applause.
“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,” Mr. Wallace said about Mr. Trump.
Video of Mr. Wallace’s remarks were made public by the Newseum late Thursday morning.
The White House did not immediately return a request for comment.
Mr. Trump has frequently lauded Fox News while accusing the cable network’s competitors and other mainstream outlets critical of his administration of reporting “fake news.”
He has spoken poorly of Mr. Wallace, however, and has previously characterized the Fox News anchor as “nasty & obnoxious.”
Speaking at the Newseum, Mr. Wallace cautioned other members of the news media from doing the same as Mr. Trump.
“I think many of our colleagues in the news business see the president’s attacks, his constant bashing of the media, as a rationale, as an excuse, to cross the line themselves, to push back. And that is a big mistake,” Mr. Wallace said.
“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,” Mr. Wallace added. “If the president or anyone we’re 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’re abandoning the special role our founders gave us in this democracy.”
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