Veteran Fox News anchor Chris Wallace set out what he believes it is the duty of reporters to do in the face of criticism from a president or any other powerful politician. He made the comments to Harris Faulkner Friday.
Faulkner asked Wallace to comment on a video of former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton talking about the press and how they don't have a special status though they are specifically mentioned in the Constitution.
"The media is not entitled to worship," Bolton said. "It's not entitled to respect as an institution. It's not entitled to deference by political leaders. It's entitled under the First Amendment to say what it wants to say... The notion that the press is somehow specially protected by the First Amendment and the institutional press, the mainstream newspapers and TV networks, that they have a special status is ridiculous."
"The opposition he faces is overwhelming," Bolton continued, referring to Trump, "from the establishment press and I think he's entitled to disagree with them, he's not threatening them."
"So the president isn't threatening to take away anything from the press," Faulkner began, agreeing with Bolton's assessment, "but he might be motivating them. And I would ask you what is he motivating them to do exactly?" She added, clarifying, "I mean, will we see an actual change in their actions at all, do you anticipate?"
"No, my experience has been," Wallace chuckled, "when a president or any official tells you what you should be doing, I mean look you're a sensible person you want to listen to what they have to say. If they have a fair criticism you want to take that to heart. But just because the president or some other powerful person says that you shouldn't fall into line."
He then compared the criticism of the media defying President Trump to that Fox received when they defied President Obama.
Look we got plenty of criticism at Fox from President Obama during the last eight years, and y'know we didn't fall into line because of that. And I think most of the viewers out there salute us for not falling into line. You have to consider if it's something that you don't like, how would you feel if it was the other way around? If you don't like the idea that president Obama is telling the press what to do, then you can't like it when it's President Trump, somebody who a lot of viewers here may admire, telling reporters what to do.They need to be accurate, they need to be fair, but they can report as long as it's accurate and fair, and it isn't going to endanger national security.
"John Bolton is right, halfway, we are not entitled to any deference," he concluded, "the president can say anything that they want, he can all on any reporter we wants whether it's a conservative reporter or liberal reporter, but we are constitutionally protected to report what we want.
Criticism of the media has become a contentious issue in President Trump's term as he continuously attacks the press for what he and his allies consider to be unfair treatment. Sheriff Clarke even said he would boycott CNN until Trump said they were "OK," while former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin called him a "fearless leader" for going after the media. CNN's Jake Tapper just recently responded to Trump's attacks saying, "get to work and stop whining."