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Opinion Fox News’s Chris Wallace blasts Trump, again

Moderator Chris Wallace guides the discussion between Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during the Oct. 19, 2016, presidential debate in Las Vegas. (Joe Raedle/AP)

Chris Wallace, host of the excellent “Fox News Sunday,” didn’t harm his reputation as a truth-teller with these words: “I believe President Trump is engaged in the most direct, sustained assault on freedom of the press in our history,” said the host.

Did the Fox News host say those things on “America’s Newsroom”? On “Special Report w/Bret Baier”?

No, he said those things at a speech at the soon-to-close Newseum in a forum titled, “Celebrating the First Amendment and the Newseum.” It seems that Wallace has something of a template for such events. In accepting an award at a 2017 confab of the International Center for Journalists, Wallace riffed, “Let’s start with a basic fact. President Trump is engaged in the most direct, sustained assault on a free press in our history. 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.”

Should we dock Wallace for speech-language recycling? Heck no. To the contrary, this fundamental truth needs to be repeated, stressed, pounded into Americans’ ears. And Wallace’s peers on cable news do a good bit of it: CNN hosts — particularly Brian Stelter of the Sunday media show “Reliable Sources” — carefully document Trump’s media clampdown, as do the folks on MSNBC.

Yet the folks who share corridors and email domains with Wallace over at Fox News could stand to hear this message straight from one of the most respected people in television news. And so could their large and eager audience across the country.

So, a modest proposal: Give Wallace a week off from his “Fox News Sunday” grind and use the show to replay any and all remarks he has made at journalistic advocacy events. Then convene an all-hands meeting at Fox News headquarters. Play the same tape. That way, Wallace can speak directly to the most important accomplices of the most direct, sustained assault on freedom of the press in our history.

Fox News watchers are more committed to President Trump than other Americans. Post media critic Erik Wemple went to Fox Nation's Patriot Awards to find out why. (Video: Erik Wemple/The Washington Post, Photo: Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

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