Fox News host Chris Wallace argued on Sunday that President Donald Trump “crossed a line” when he called the media “the enemy of the American People.”
Following Trump’s Friday attack on the news media, Wallace reminded the hosts of Fox & Friends that the country’s founders believed that a free press was a vital component to the functioning of a free and fair democracy.
“When he said the fake news media is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American people, I believe that crosses an important line,” the Fox News host noted.
Wallace also agreed with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), who recently pointed out that shutting down a free press was “how dictators get started.”
“It’s a check on power, and he was saying that in dictatorships, there’s state-run media and there’s no opportunity for a free independent press,” Wallace explained. “So, I think he’s exactly right there.”
Fox News host Pete Hegseth defended Trump, opining that the president was “taking on the hidden bias” of the media.
“When our founders were there, there were partisan press,” Hegseth declared. “Papers were Republican or Democrat or Federalist and it was open about it. [Trump] is saying, they tell you they’re unbiased, but I know they’re biased because I see the fake news. It’s not about the independence of the press, it’s about the bias of the press.”
“If he had said that, you wouldn’t have heard a peep out of me,” Wallace replied. “Lord knows, Barack Obama criticized Fox News. If Donald Trump wants to criticize The New York Times, that’s fine. But it’s different from saying we are an enemy of the American people. That’s a different thing.”
“And I know there are a lot of [Fox News] listeners out there who are going to reflexively take Donald Trump’s side on this,” he added. “It’s a different thing when it’s a president because if it’s a president you like trying to talk about the press being the enemy of the people, then it’s going to be a president you don’t like saying the same thing. And that’s very dangerous.”
Watch the video below from Fox News, broadcast Feb. 19, 2017.