Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace on Thursday was awarded the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) Founders Award for Excellence in Journalism.
He was honored for his 50-plus years in broadcasting and for “his unbiased, piercing approach to interviews.”
During his acceptance speech, Wallace addressed the 600 members of the press in attendance and warned them about media bias.
“President Trump is engaged in the most direct, sustained assault on a free press in our history,” Wallace said. “Since early in the campaign, he has done everything he can to delegitimize the media, attacking us institutionally and individually. And I think his purpose is clear: a concerted campaign to raise doubts that when we report critically about his administration that we can be trusted.”
Wallace said that he thinks Trump “may have a point” when he complains about media bias and unfairness.
“I believe that some of our colleagues – many of our colleagues – think this president has gone so far over the line to bash the media it has given them an excuse to cross the line themselves, to push back,” Wallace said. “And as tempting as that may be, I think it’s a big mistake.”
He said members of the press should not be players in the game, but objective witnesses to what is going on.
“That doesn’t mean we’re stenographers. If the president or anyone we’re covering says something untrue or does something clearly over the line, we can and should report that,” Wallace said.
“But we shouldn’t be drawn into becoming players on the field, trying to match the people we cover in invective,” he continued. “It’s not our role. We’re not as good at it as they are. And we’re giving up our special place in our democracy. There’s enough to report about this president that we don’t need to offer opinions or put our thumb on the scale. Be as straight and accurate and dispassionate as we first learned to be as reporters.”