Wallace Discusses 'Fox & Friends' Tiff and What 'Fair and Balanced' Means

Who's the best political talk show host on television every Sunday? Tim Russert? George Stephanopoulos? Bob Schieffer? Wolf Blitzer?

Get real! There's nobody on the television landscape that comes close to Fox News's Chris Wallace. And, there's nobody on Fox News that better exemplifies and understands what the network's slogan "fair and balanced" means.

To drive home the point, Wallace was Steve Malzberg's guest on WOR radio Wednesday, and quite candidly discussed how his little tiff with the good folks at "Fox and Friends" last Friday demonstrates vividly why FNC is indeed the only fair and balanced news network on television (15-minute audio available here):

I would take mild exception to "scolding." I would say I took exception, or you know, offered a different point of view. No, I thought it was a legitimate story. I thought that what he said was regrettable and probably not, if he had, you know, it was in an off the cuff statement to a sports radio interviewer, and you could tell that as he went on he realized that's not really what I want to say, and he was trying to soften it, and say that someone who's been brought up and has a certain instinctive reaction to things. Uh, and, and, I thought it was a perfectly legitimate thing to talk about. I just thought that they talked about it, and talked about it. And so, all I was saying was, enough. But, you know, that was my opinion, and they obviously disagreed.

You know, the point is we really are, despite the sniffing or dismissals of our liberal critics, "fair and balanced" at Fox News. And, and we, you know, generally speaking, that means that we at least offer, not that we espouse, but that we offer the conservative point of view because that is not often represented in the mainstream media. But, occasionally, at least in my mind, if I think that, you know, you're going too far the other way, it means offering, in this case, Obama's point of view, or at least a caveat about it, and, and, I don't think that's a bad thing. I, you know, I don't think you want to do it all the time, but if that occasionally spills out on the air, I don't think that's a bad thing for Fox or our viewers.

Exactly, which was my point in originally covering this story.

Earlier in the week, Wallace further elaborated on this issue with the New York Observer (emphasis added):

Mr. Wallace later told The Observer that in fact he had received one e-mail from a Fox News executive (he declined to name names). “It was not at all in the sense of, you know, how dare you defend Obama,” said Mr. Wallace. “It was in the sense that, isn’t this the kind of thing we should be talking about off camera, not on camera? I e-mailed him back and said, ‘I think you’re generally right, and I’m not going to make a habit of it.’ He wrote me right back and said, ‘Fine, forget about it. Have a good Easter.’”

To date, over this prolonged primary season, Mr. Obama has yet to appear on Mr. Wallace’s Sunday program. In response, several weeks ago, Mr. Wallace introduced “Obama Watch”—essentially a running clock adding up the amount of time that has elapsed since Mr. Obama had failed to make good on his apparent promise to appear on the show.

Mr. Wallace said that in the wake of his Friday comments, he received two supportive e-mails from members of the Obama campaign. “But nobody offered to put Obama on the air,” said Mr. Wallace, chuckling. He hastened to add, “Which wasn’t the point of this whole thing in the first place.”

Any questions about what "fair and balanced" means?

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.