Fox News host Chris Wallace on Wednesday said President Trump’s continued attacks against the media amounted to the most “direct, sustained assault on the freedom of the press” in U.S. history.
“He has done everything he can to undercut the media, to try and delegitimize us,” Wallace said at a Newseum event in Washington, D.C., honoring the museum’s legacy ahead of its shuttering at the end of the year.
“I think his purpose is clear: to raise doubts when we report critically about him and his administration that we can be trusted. Back in 2017, he tweeted something that said far more about him than it did about us: ‘The fake news media is not my enemy. It is the enemy of the American people.’”
Wallace went on to note that Trump’s sustained attacks have “done some damage,” pointing to a Freedom Forum Institute poll that found that 29 percent of Americans say the First Amendment goes “too far.”
“And 77 percent say ‘fake news’ is a serious threat to our democracy,” Wallace added.
Wallace also invoked William McRaven, the retired Navy admiral who oversaw the U.S. operation that killed Osama bin Laden and who called Trump’s anti-media sentiment the “greatest threat to democracy in my lifetime.”
“I’ve got to say I was a little surprised by that. This is a guy who fought the Soviet Union. This is an admiral who fought Islamic terrorism,” Wallace said. “But when I asked Bill about this, this was his response: ‘Those threats brought us together… The president and I swore an oath to the Constitution. When the president says the media is the enemy of the people, to me that undermines the Constitution. So I do think it is a tremendous threat to our democracy.'”
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