Fox News host Chris Wallace escalated the network's war with Trump, blaming him for the 'most direct sustained assault' on press freedom in US history

Donald Trump Chris Wallace

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP via Getty Images/Twitter/FoxNewsSunday

A composite image of President Donald Trump in October and Chris Wallace during a Fox News broadcast about the impeachment inquiry into Trump.

  • Fox News host Chris Wallace said President Donald Trump "is engaged in the most direct sustained assault on freedom of the press in our history."
  • He said Trump is trying "to raise doubts when we report critically about him and his administration that we can be trusted" and noted polls showing people doubting the first amendment of the US constitution as a result.
  • The comments come as a war between Trump and Fox News escalates, with Trump repeatedly criticizing the network that was once his close ally and many of its most prolific hosts and contributors hitting back.
  • Trump and Wallace have sparred previously, with Trump saying in October that Wallace "will never be his father" - a prolific CBS interviewer who died in 2012 - after Wallace's coverage of the impeachment inquiry.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Fox News host Chris Wallace said that US President Donald Trump has launched the most sustained attack on press freedom in the country's history.

Wallace said on Wednesday night: "I believe that President Trump is engaged in the most direct sustained assault on freedom of the press in our history," The Guardian newspaper reported.

He made the comments at the Newseum, a museum about the media industry and free expression in Washington DC, at an event celebrating the first amendment on Wednesday night. The event was also a farewell for the Newseum, which is closing at the end of this year.

"He has done everything he can to undercut the media, to try and delegitimize us, and I think his purpose is clear: to raise doubts when we report critically about him and his administration that we can be trusted," Wallace said.

He also noted Trump's repeated cry of "fake news" coming from the mainstream media, which was a claim he started using during his presidential campaign that he has now broadened to portray as a threat to the country.

chris wallace

REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk

Chris Wallace.

Wallace said of Trump: "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.'"

He also said that Trump's comments were changing people's view of the media and the US constitution.

"Let's be honest, the president's attacks have done some damage. A Freedom Forum Institute poll, associated here with the Newseum, this year found that 29% of Americans, almost a third of all of us, think the first amendment goes too far. And 77%, three quarters, say that fake news is a serious threat to our democracy."

Wallace also noted that Bill McRaven, who was a Navy Seal for 37 years, called Trump's comments about the media as maybe "the greatest threat to democracy in my lifetime" because they undermine the constitution, The Guardian reported.

Newseum

Alex Wong/Getty Images

Visitors browse newspaper front pages with the story of the 9/11 terror attacks in Washington DC's Newseum in September 2016.

The comments come as a war between Trump and Fox News escalates, with Trump repeatedly critcizing the network that was once his close ally, and many of its most prolific hosts and contributors hitting back.

Trump has started to direct criticism at the outlet and its main figures in light of slumping polling figures and coverage of controversies that surround him.

He reportedly fears that the network is not loyal enough to him, and has repeatedly said that Fox News has "changed."

Trump Fox News

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Donald Trump, then a presidential candidate, in a debate sponsored by Fox News in March 2016.

It is not the first time Trump and Wallace have sparred. In October, Trump tweeted after Wallace's coverage of impeachment proceedings against him that Wallace "will never be his father" - referencing Wallace's dad, Mike Wallace, a prolific CBS interviewer who died in 2012.

Trump also called Wallace "nasty" and "obnoxious" in November after his interview with House Minority Whip Steve Scalise about the impeachment inquiry into Trump.

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