Chris Wallace on White House Efforts to 'Marginalize' Fox News
This is a RUSH transcript from "Fox & Friends," October 23, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
GRETCHEN CARLSON, "FOX & FRIENDS" CO-HOST: Let's deal in a friend who we haven't seen for a while, Mr. Chris Wallace out of Washington. Good morning, Chris.
CHRIS WALLACE, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY" HOST: Good morning.
STEVE DOOCY, "FOX & FRIENDS" CO-HOST: Hey, Chris, I was just talking to Peter Johnson, Jr. about the war on Fox that got stirred up last Sunday. And of course you've got your "Fox News Sunday" and you're going to be talking about all sorts of stuff. What's your perspective on what's going on with the White House right now?
WALLACE: Well, look, there's a long history of presidents not liking individual news media. I was just thinking back, I can remember as a kid, John Kennedy canceled his subscription to the Herald Tribune, which sounds kind of quaint in this day and age. And I think Dick Cheney threw the New York Times off his plane, although not in midair. So, you know, there is some history of that, but I can't think — and you know, and Nixon obviously went after the liberal media. But I can't think, at least in my lifetime, of a concerted effort like this to isolate and marginalize an individual news organization. I tell you, that took a serious turn last Sunday when you had Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod go on the Sunday talk shows and in effect lecture ABC and CNN and say, we don't want you treating Fox News as a legitimate news organization, and you saw that again when they went to the White House pool yesterday and said we'll make Ken Feinberg, the pay czar, available to the pool, but not to Fox News, which is a member of the pool. Thankfully and rightfully the rest of our colleagues in the news media, the three major networks and CNN, stood by us and said, if you don't give it to Fox News, none of us in the pool will do the interview. What I think it's really about is, is I think after Van Jones and after ACORN, I think the White House got very upset and very nervous. There's a very interesting story in the New York Times today. When the New York Times, of all people, said, you know what, we're not covering the conservative news media and their issues well enough, we're going to start covering it more, I think they worried that more legitimate stories that Fox News breaks were going to end up going out into the mainstream media, and I think they thought, enough, and let's try to cut Fox News down at the knees.
BRIAN KILMEADE, "FOX & FRIENDS" CO-HOST: Is it going to affect the way you do your job?
WALLACE: No, of course not. I mean, it will affect me to the extent that, you know, we'd like to have a White House official or a Pentagon official to talk about a national security issue like what is the president going to do in Afghanistan and since August, they haven't made anybody available. But no, we are going to do our job. We're covering Afghanistan this week. We'll have the Democratic chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Carl Levin. We'll have a Republican, Jon Kyl. We're going to be talking to one of the two contenders in the runoff, Abdullah Abdullah. So we'll continue to do our business and we'll continue to represent what the White House is saying and doing accurately. But no, it is not going to shut us down and it certainly isn't going to cow us.
CARLSON: Interestingly enough, the whole war basically started with your show, though, Chris, because when President Obama made himself available to all the other Sunday morning talk shows, you were singled out as not being allowed to have him as a guest. And then we move forward to Tuesday, where they made this decision about the pool camera. I mean to me, that may go down as the biggest tactical error here, because do you believe that the White House thought that the other news organizations would side with them and not with Fox News?
WALLACE: Yes. I certainly don't think they went into that fight thinking they were going to lose. So yes, the direct answer to your question is, I think they thought NBC and CBS and ABC and CNN were going to side with them, and rightfully, because a pool is all the groups getting together — the five major networks — and, you know, a pool, what's done for one network is done for all of them, said no. And you know, you've seen other instances of this. Jake Tapper, the ABC News correspondent at the White House calling us one of their sister organizations. I think you get into very dangerous territory. And I know, as somebody who worked at NBC and at ABC, if I were being told by a White House, you can treat this organization as a legitimate news organization but not that one, that would get my back up, and I think it's gotten our colleagues' backs up. You know, I think they're gone too far.
DOOCY: Yeah, you never know when they're going to come after you. Chris Wallace, you gave us a preview of your program on Sunday. We can hardly wait. It's our favorite brunchtime show at the Doocy house.
WALLACE: Brunch time? What do you, put it on tape? I think we're on at 10 o'clock.
KILMEADE: That's brunch.
DOOCY: We have a huge meal. That's brunch, it's not breakfast. It's not lunch, it's brunch.
KILMEADE: If you don't mind, we have French toast at our house. You don't mind, do you?
CARLSON: If you don't mind, I TiVO you.
WALLACE: Well, I do mind that a little bit, I mean, French toast? I mean, what's that, freedom toast?
KILMEADE: Yeah, it's freedom toast, absolutely.
CARLSON: All right, Chris, have a great weekend and a good show. Thanks so much.
WALLACE: See you guys.
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