Tag Archives: Chris Wallace

Trump engaged in frontal assault against freedom of the press

Leave it to Chris Wallace, the host of “Fox News Sunday,” a staple of Donald Trump’s favorite news/opinion cable TV channel, to put it in perspective.

Wallace said this to a gathering at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.: “I believe President Trump is engaged in the most direct, sustained assault on freedom of the press in our history.”

Oh, brother, is he ever!

The man who played on his “experience” as a reality TV celebrity host, who once courted the media because they found him, um, entertaining is now launching a full frontal assault on the constitutional guarantee of a free press.

He routinely bullies cable, broadcast and print media representatives. He accuses them of peddling “fake news.” He curries favor with media outlets and then blasts them to smithereens when they don’t do his bidding; Wallace and the Fox News Channel serve as a prime example. Trump has labeled the media as the “enemy of the people” and has applauded right along with the know-nothing faithful who cheer his frightening rhetoric.

Presidents dating back throughout the history of the republic all have noted the adversarial relationship with the media that is built into the presidency. None of them — not until Donald Trump came along — has blathered the kind of incendiary rhetoric toward the media that this president has spewed forth.

As a former full-time print journalist, I — along with many of my former colleagues — take this kind of treatment personally. Now that I am writing for myself, I still take it personally.

Moreover, I continue to salute and honor the great work that media organizations of all stripes continue to do in reporting the goings-on regarding this presidential administration.

The good news for all of them — and the rest of us — is that Donald Trump won’t be president forever. He’ll be gone from the halls of power and will no longer be able to bully the media.

I am waiting for that moment of deliverance from this attack on our essential press freedom.

Fox hasn’t changed, Mr. President; some of ’em just doing their job

What do you mean, Mr. President, that “Fox has changed”? And you say you’re “not happy with it”?

If you don’t mind my borrowing a phrase: “Big fu**ing deal.”

Fox hasn’t changed, Mr. President. To my way of thinking, it remains uber-friendly to you and what pass for your policies. You still have your friends hosting those talk shows. “Fox & Friends,” Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Jeannine Pirro, Laura Ingraham … am I missing someone? Probably.

It’s just that Fox also has some straight-away journalists who manage to do their jobs. Chris Wallace — who comes from solid journalistic stock, given that his dad was the great Mike Wallace — is but one example of what I mean. Shepard Smith is another. Neither of these men is an apologist for you the way Sean Hannity and the “Fox & Friends” co-hosts have proven to be.

I shouldn’t have to remind you, Mr. President, that answering difficult questions from the media is part of the job you inherited when you won that election in 2016. I know, it’s not written anywhere. But it’s in there, somewhere. Believe me, Mr. President. It’s there.

Your predecessors, every one of them from both political parties, have known that to be the case. You are cursed, though, with the thinnest of skins. As Jack Nicholson’s character, Marine Col. Nathan Jessep, said in “A Few Good Men,” You can’t handle truth!

Maybe you’re upset that Fox has a few token liberal commentators on its payroll these days. I saw where you referred to Juan Williams as “pathetic.” Hey, do you say the same thing about Donna Brazile, the former CNN and ABC News talking head? What about Geraldo Rivera, the grandstander who’s been with Fox since The Flood?

The fact that your perception that Fox has turned on you doesn’t make you “happy” doesn’t mean a damn thing. Presidents cannot dictate how the media do their job. The First Amendment protects the “press” and, by extension, all media from any government interference or coercion. You need to read the Constitution, sir. You took an oath to “defend” it; you damn sure need to know what you swore to protect.

So, my request of you, Mr. President, is a simple one. Pipe down. Shut the hell up. Worry about the important stuff … if you care enough to actually serve all Americans.

Can’t this guy run for high office?

The more I hear from Jon Stewart the more I like, respect and admire him.

He’s a comedian, a writer, a producer. He’s also become an advocate for 9/11 first responders who have been caught in a legislative sausage grinder. Congress has until just recently failed to renew a 9/11 first responders emergency fund. A House committee recently voted unanimously to provide an extension for the fund, but only after Stewart tossed aside his prepared remarks and reamed the members for their inaction, their cowardice and their insensitivity toward those who rushed into the fire on that terrible day.

Those police officers, firefighters, medical personnel and civilians are paying the price. They are dying of 9/11-related ailments. Stewart has taken up their cause.

This past Sunday, Stewart appeared on “Fox News Sunday,” and was asked by host Chris Wallace to respond to those who say the federal government should cede that assistance to the states, that the cost was greater than the feds could afford.

Wallace teed the question up perfectly for Stewart, who then proceeded to hit it out of sight.

He responded, “What about Pearl Harbor?” He said such a notion is as ridiculous as suggesting that the military attack against the United States in December 1941 should be a “Hawaii problem.” He said that the terrorists committed an act of war against this nation on 9/11 and, therefore, that makes it an urgent national priority.

I cannot stop believing that Wallace knew that his friend Jon Stewart would have a ready answer to that question and I also believe that Wallace appreciated — and likely agreed — with what his guest said in response.

I am left to wonder: Why isn’t this guy, Jon Stewart, running for high public office?

‘I didn’t need’ to declare emergency?

Did the president of the United States just shoot himself in the gut with that idiotic declaration of a “national emergency”?

I believe that’s the case. Donald Trump has declared an emergency because of what he alleges is a flood of human traffickers, killers, drug dealers, rapists and terrorists coming into the country through our supposedly “porous” southern border.

Then the Idiot in Chief stood on the White House lawn and said he “didn’t need to do this,” meaning that he seems to believe that he didn’t need to declare an emergency.

What kind of buffoon makes a declaration and then says he acted out of political concern? Donald Trump doesn’t know what in the name of governance he is doing with the office he occupies.

He wants to build The Trump Wall no matter what. So he declares an emergency where none exists, tries to foist the cost of the wall off on Americans after pledging that Mexico would pay for it.

Pathetic.

Then he trots out Stephen Miller, the right-wing fanatic who serves as a White House adviser to explain it all.

Get a load of the sequence on “Fox News Sunday.” I’ll just give host Chris Wallace props for trying to get Miller to justify what the president has done.

Nice try, Stephen Miller

POTUS seeks to rally the base, ‘er, nation?

Donald Trump wants to go on national TV to rally Americans to his side as he pitches the idea of building The Wall along our southern border.

I believe the networks ought to carry the president’s televised speech Tuesday night. Let the man have his say and let the public debate and decide on the veracity of what he is contending.

Trump is considering whether to declare a national emergency to obtain money for The Wall. Why? Because he contends that terrorists are crossing an “open border.” He is trying to gin up fear, in my view, among Americans.

Oh, but wait. We are now getting reports from other sources that say that a grand total of six suspected terrorists were apprehended along the border in 2018, not the reported 4,000 of them alleged by the Trump administration.

Indeed, “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace, interviewing White House press secretary Sarah Sanders on Sunday, challenged her 4,000-terrorist assertion by declaring that those suspects are being apprehended at our nation’s airports.

So now we’re going to hear from the commander in chief about what looks like a fabricated crisis along our border.

Please . . .

A+, Mr. President? I don’t think so

Mr. President, you are entitled to your opinion. As am I, sir.

You give yourself an A+ grade for the first two years of your presidency. I wouldn’t grade your performance anywhere near that high.

I laughed when I heard about Chris Wallace’s question to you, mentioning Presidents Washington and Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and Reagan. I also laughed when he asked if you belonged in those men’s company.

Then you gave yourself that A+ grade.

You’re killin’ me, Mr. President.

You keep taking credit for the economy. I applaud the job figures that keep coming in each month while you’ve been in office. Yep, they’re great. But you ought to know — and I wish you did realize it — that presidents can’t take all the credit they think they deserve. I must remind you — yet again! — that you inherited an economy that was in good shape, unlike the economy that your predecessor inherited when he took office in January 2009.

There have been more than the normal number of hiccups along the way. Your key staff keeps turning over regularly. Not to mention the Cabinet posts that keep opening up. You fire folks. They quit under criticism. And yet you keep yammering about the hordes of individuals who are just chomping at the bit waiting to come to work in the White House.

Whatever you say, Mr. President. I just don’t believe it. Nor do others of my ilk, who outnumber those of your ilk by a good bit.

Keep deluding yourself, Mr. President, into thinking you deserve an A+ plus. Others of us believe differently. I won’t assign a grade. I’ll leave that others.

Just know that it ain’t nearly as good as the one you gave yourself.

 

Trump hits back … at the warrior who got Osama bin Laden!

Donald Trump isn’t known for picking his targets with much care or thought. His “shoot-and-aim” approach to firing criticism scores points with his base; not so much with the rest of us.

Fox News’s Chris Wallace asked the president to respond to former Admiral William McRaven’s criticism that the greatest threat to America is Trump’s demonization of the media.

The president’s response? He wonders why McRaven, the former head of the U.S. Special Forces Command, didn’t bring justice to Osama bin Laden sooner than he did.

You see, McRaven — a retired Navy SEAL — was on duty in May 2011 when U.S. commandos flew into Pakistan and engaged in a firefight with the al-Qaeda leader’s garrison. The troops then killed bin Laden — the 9/11 mastermind — and transported his corpse to the USS Carl Vinson, where he was given a “burial at sea.”

Trump said to Wallace that McRaven could have gotten bin Laden sooner than he did. He seemed to imply incompetent military and intelligence leadership as the reason that bin Laden was able to hide in plain sight in Abbattobad, Pakistan. He called McRaven a “fan” of Hillary Clinton and “backer” of Barack Obama. I’ll add here that Clinton was the secretary of state at the time of the raid and, oh yes, Obama was the president who issued the order to launch the mission, which I should add was carried out with no loss of American lives.

Take a look at Trump’s answer to Wallace’s question about whether the president would give credit for the mission that took down bin Laden: “They took him down but — look, look, there’s news right there, he lived in Pakistan, we’re supporting Pakistan, we’re giving them $1.3 billion a year, which we don’t give them anymore, by the way, I ended it because they don’t do anything for us, they don’t do a damn thing for us.”

Huh?

Hell freezes over: POTUS expresses ‘regret’

I guess hell has frozen over, finally.

Donald J. Trump says he “regrets” not attending a Veterans Day commemoration at Arlington National Cemetery. He stayed at the White House during the day. He had no public events. His schedule was clear.

The president did manage to fire off nine tweets during the day.

Yet he now expresses a bit of regret over his no-show at Arlington.

He made the admission to Fox News’s Chris Wallace, to whom he said “in retrospect” he made a bad call on a day set aside to honor the nation’s veterans.

It’s an unusual step for a president who says he never apologizes. He has said he hasn’t ever sought forgiveness. Donald Trump doesn’t look back on his deeds or statements. Introspection isn’t included in the Trumpian vocabulary, according to the president.

What do we make of this semi-contrition?

I don’t know. It might signal an awakening by this president. Or, it might just be a touch of pandering.

I’ll reserve any final determination for later. In the meantime, I’ll hope for the best — but prepare for the worst.

Let’s call him ‘Slippery Mitch’

In the spirit of Donald J. Trump’s knack for attaching pejorative nicknames on certain politicians, I want to hang a label on the U.S. Senate majority leader.

Let’s call him “Slippery Mitch” McConnell.

Oh, my. The fellow is hard to pin down, no matter how direct the questioning becomes. Consider what happened this morning on “Fox News Sunday.”

The program moderator Chris Wallace sought to ask McConnell whether the Senate would consider a U.S. Supreme Court nomination in 2020 if one were to become available. Why did Wallace pose the question? Because McConnell blocked then-President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland in 2016 after the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.

McConnell said the president shouldn’t be allowed to pick a justice in an election year. He prevented Garland from getting a hearing before the Senate.

But, Wallace wondered … what about 2020, when we’ll have another presidential election?

McConnell wouldn’t answer Wallace’s direct question, which was whether he would proceed with a confirmation process if Donald Trump nominated someone in 2020. McConnell then tossed out the notion that he blocked Obama’s nomination of Garland on the fact that the Senate was led by a party that differed from the president.

Wallace picked up on McConnell’s change of motivation and wanted to know if that rule still applied, given that both the Senate and the presidency could be controlled by Republicans.

McConnell still refused to answer the question, casting it as a hypothetical.

Wallace grills McConnell

And … so it goes on and on.

None of this is a surprise. Politicians by their nature are prone to slip and slide away from direct questions … which I reckon explains why the media and others are so quick to praise those rare politicians who are willing to speak directly and candidly.

“Slippery Mitch” McConnell has shown just how elusive an experienced pol can become.

‘What wars have we started?’

Allow me to throw a bouquet at Chris Wallace, the host of “Fox News Sunday,” who this morning asked national security adviser John Bolton a most pertinent question.

“What wars have we (the media) started,” Wallace asked Bolton, who — quite expectedly — dodged the question, avoided giving a direct answer.

The question came from a tweet fired off this morning by Donald J. Trump, who said the following:

The Fake News hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People only because they know it’s TRUE. I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People. They purposely cause great division & distrust. They can also cause War! They are very dangerous & sick!

The danger and sickness, allow me to respond, are coming from the president of the United States, whose Twitter messages are sounding increasingly hysterical and detached from reality.

According to The Hill: “That’s the president’s view, based on the attacks the media has made,” Bolton responded, citing past administrations that have clashed with the media.

“I think this kind of adversarial relationship is typical,” he added.

What is not typical is for the president of the United States to accuse the media of potentially causing “war” by offering critical analysis and commentary of public policy.

Scary, man!