Fox News hasn’t had the best 12 months in the history of the network, but rarely do we see the channel’s on-air personalities “go against the family.” The conservative-leaning network has prided itself on standing strong against all detractors – and there have been plenty of them over the years. Still, things are definitely different in the era of Donald Trump, so if there was any time when we would begin to see intra-network squabbling, this would be it. And the man doing the squabbling – Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace – has dipped his toe in criticism of the network before.
This time around, Wallace told the Associated Press in an interview that he cringes when his colleagues go after mainstream journalists. Though Fox News made a name for itself by providing another viewpoint of current events than viewers are going to get from any of the other major news networks, Wallace said by criticizing the press so viciously, the other personalities on the network were actually harming Fox News reporters as well.
“It bothers me,” Wallace told the AP. “If they want to say they like Trump, or that they’re upset with the Democrats, that’s fine. That’s opinion. That’s what they do for a living. I don’t like them bashing the media, because oftentimes what they’re bashing is stuff that we on the news side are doing. I don’t think they recognize that they have a role at Fox News and we have a role at Fox News. I don’t know what’s in their head. I just think it’s bad form.”
Unlike some of what’s come out from behind the scenes at Fox News over the past year, we think this kind of introspective critique is healthy now and again. Pundits like Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson absolutely should be on the other side of the dividing line from straight anchors like Chris Wallace and Shepherd Smith, or else Fox News becomes a caricature of conservative news rather than a vessel for it.
If everyone on the network from Fox & Friends on down is just parroting the White House line on every story, the channel becomes a joke. If you have (excellent) points being made about the media in your punditry and (fair and balanced) journalism in the news segments, you get a better balance and you open the network up to viewers who might otherwise get their news from CNN or MSNBC. That’s exactly what we need, because the fewer Americans we have getting their news from biased sources like that, the better.