Chris Wallace couldn’t ask for better publicity for his new CNN+ show’s Tuesday debut than Sunday’s “New York Times” interview.
Wallace, who departed Fox News after almost 20 years at the popular network, joined CNN’s streaming service, CNN+, in December, 2021. He joined the new venture after he decided not to renew his Fox contract when it ended, last year.
His Times interview created a lot of buzz over what had basically become old news when he called working for Fox “unsustainable”. The Times said Wallace spent much of 2021 looking for a new home for his brand of journalism.
“I’m fine with opinion: conservative opinion, liberal opinion,” Wallace explained about his decision to leave. “But when people start to question the truth — Who won the 2020 election? Was Jan. 6 an insurrection? — I found that unsustainable.”
Wallace added he noticed a shift at Fox News in the aftermath of former President Donald Trump’s 2020 defeat. During that same period, the network ended its 7 p.m. newscast, fired the political editor who helped project a Trump loss in Arizona on election night. Fox further promoted hosts like Tucker Carlson, who, the Times said downplayed the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot.
The former Fox host confirmed he was so alarmed by Mr. Carlson’s documentary “Patriot Purge”, which suggested the Capitol riot was a “false flag” operation intended to demonize conservatives — that he complained directly to Fox News management.
Wallace, 74, is the son of “60 Minutes” host Mike Wallace so was immersed in journalism from an early age. The Harvard graduate is a registered Democrat who hosted “Fox news Sunday” for years.
In a separate Times sitdown with Wallace, the veteran journalist seems to aspire to be — as Churchill famously said — a riddle, wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.
Presidents have regarded him with bipartisan suspicion, according to a 2020 Times report. “Bill Clinton once accused him of having a ‘little smirk on your face,’ Barack Obama avoided his program for eight years, and President Trump [on Twitter] declared him ‘nasty & obnoxious’ and a ‘Mike Wallace wannabe’,” the Times reported. Trump’s tweets are no longer viewable after Twitter permanently banned him.
The new CNN+ show “Who’s Talking to Chris Wallace?” will broadcast its first show Tuesday. The liberal-leaning network has suffered declining ratings since Trump left office and can use all the publicity they can get as they scramble for viewers. Revenue flow suffered so much that CNN’s parent company, AT&T, sold the network.
AT&T is spinning off CNN and the rest of WarnerMedia in the second quarter of 2022. Then, Warner and Discovery will come together and Discovery CEO David Zaslav will run the newly formed Warner Bros. Discovery.
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