Media

Fox's Neil Cavuto rips into Trump over attacks on Chris Wallace's impeachment coverage

Fox News's Neil Cavuto on Monday launched into a blistering critique of President Trump over his attacks against "Fox News Sunday" anchor Chris Wallace, saying that journalists are "obligated to question" the president and his defenders, even if it means "inviting your wrath." 

Cavuto made the statements just a day after Trump blasted Wallace as "nasty" and "obnoxious" following an interview in which the Fox News anchor repeatedly pressed House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) over the House's impeachment inquiry into Trump's dealings with Ukraine. 

"What makes something fake news?" Cavuto asked on Fox News. "I would assume if the news being reported is fake or wrong and the person presenting that news knows it is fake or wrong that is bad. But what if the news being reported is accurate?"

"My colleague Chris Wallace has discovered again the president doesn't distinguish," Cavuto added before noting that Wallace's interview with Scalise caused an "apparently furious" Trump to lash out at the broadcaster. 

Cavuto went on to note that Scalise has gained Trump's support given his consistent defense of the president on matters related to impeachment. 

"Let's just say [Trump] doesn't like Chris for challenging Scalise on that," Cavuto said, pointing to the questioning the Republican congressman received on Sunday. 

Wallace pressed Scalise on a variety of issues related to the public impeachment hearings that began last week in the House. After Scalise dismissed the three witnesses who testified as "Schiff's witnesses," a reference to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Wallace countered that they were all career diplomats who worked within the Trump administration. 

Wallace also pushed back after Scalise said that senior State Department official George Kent, chargé d'affaires for Ukraine William Taylor and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified they never witnessed impeachable offenses.

"With all due respect, that very badly mischaracterizes what they said," Wallace said. "They were asked, William Taylor, for instance, the acting ambassador to Ukraine, was asked whether or not these were impeachable offenses. He said, 'I'm there as a fact witness. I'm not there to pass judgment,' but he made it clear what he thought about what the president was doing."

Cavuto concluded his monologue by arguing that the president isn't entitled to glowing coverage from the network and that he isn't the first chief executive to believe the media "has it out" for them. 

"People will always see things through the prism of their own set of beliefs. I get that," he said. "The best we can do as journalists is be fair to all, including you, Mr. President. That's not fake doing that. What is fake is not doing that. What is fake is saying Fox never used to do that. Mr. President, we have always done that."

Fox News's stable of opinion hosts, including Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, have been outspoken in their support of Trump throughout his presidency. Hannity has dismissed the impeachment inquiry as an effort by "radical, extreme, socialist Democrats."

But Cavuto hasn't shied away from taking a critical view of Trump. In August, the longtime Fox anchor lambasted Trump after he declared that Fox "isn't working for us anymore," saying that "my job is to cover you, not fawn over you or rip you."

Trump has shown a greater willingness to target Fox News personalities such as Wallace in recent months. The president in mid-October lashed out at the anchor over his reporting on the administration's dealings with Ukraine, claiming in a tweet that Wallace would "never be his father," veteran broadcaster Mike Wallace. 

Trump used a similar line on Sunday while calling Chris Wallace's interview with Scalise the type of "dumb and unfair interview" that "would never have happened in the Fox News past."

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