When will Chris Wallace apologize to Katie Pavlich? More than once, Wallace has insulted his Fox News colleague on the network, as in a January segment about the impeachment of President Trump, when Wallace barked at Pavlich, “Get your facts straight!” As it turned out in that case, Pavlich was right and Wallace was wrong — and not accidentally so. The question at issue was Democrats’ demand that the Senate trial over what was called “Ukrainegate” include testimony from additional witnesses. Pavlich said this was unprecedented, and contended it was not the Senate’s fault that “the House did not come with a complete case.” Wallace began barking about “facts” in an attempt to rescue Democrats from the consequences of their failure.
Why did Wallace use his position as moderator of a presidential debate to parrot Gov. Brown’s rhetoric by claiming that “white supremacists and militia groups” were somehow to blame for the Portland riots?
Wallace’s dismal performance as moderator in Tuesday’s presidential debate reminded many viewers of such previous instances in which the Fox News Sunday host has shown his prejudice against Trump. And this matters, not only because of how that ugly televised carnival might affect the election, but because of what it tells us about the sad state of journalism in America. If Wallace is, Dov Fischer says, “the fairest moderator we can hope for in today’s Left-dominated media,” there is no hope for fairness. But what about those “facts” that Wallace presumed to lecture Katie Pavlich about? Even if we must resign ourselves to partisan prejudice from the media, must we tolerate journalists trafficking in outright lies?
That’s what Wallace did in Tuesday’s debate. Consider this question he aimed at President Trump: “You have repeatedly criticized the vice president for not specifically calling out Antifa and other left-wing extremist groups, but are you willing tonight to condemn white supremacists and militia groups and to say that they need to stand down and not add to the violence in a number of these cities, as we saw in Kenosha and as we’ve seen in Portland?”
Where is the evidence that “white supremacists and militia groups” were to blame for violence in Kenosha or Portland, Oregon? Wallace’s question was not only tendentious, but counterfactual. As regards Portland, Wallace seemed to be echoing Oregon’s woefully misguided Democratic governor. After a man who described himself as “100% Antifa” murdered a Trump supporter on the streets of Portland Aug.29, Gov. Kate Brown issued this rather bizarre statement:
As elected officials and community leaders, we are coming together to condemn the acts of violence in Portland that have occurred as thousands of Oregonians have been peacefully protesting for racial justice and police accountability. The violence must stop. There is no place for white supremacy or vigilantism in Oregon. All who perpetrate violent crimes must be held equally accountable. Together, we are committing ourselves to do the hard work that will bring meaningful change for racial justice and police reform.
What did the murder of Trump supporter Aaron “Jay” Danielson have to do with “racial justice”? Danielson was white, but so was the Antifa radical who shot him to death, Michael Reinoehl. As for holding those “who perpetrate violent crimes … equally accountable,” why did Gov. Brown let Antifa wreak havoc in Portland for more than three months before deciding that violence is bad? Where is the evidence that “white supremacy” played any role in Portland’s anti-police riots?
More importantly, however, why did Chris Wallace use his position as moderator of a presidential debate to parrot Gov. Brown’s rhetoric by claiming that “white supremacists and militia groups” were somehow to blame for the Portland riots? Such a claim is not journalism but political propaganda, and that goes doubly so for what happened in Kenosha. In case you’ve been hiding in a cave for the past five weeks, riots erupted in this Wisconsin city on Aug. 23 after a police officer shot a black man, Jacob Blake, who had violated a restraining order and had a warrant against him on sexual assault charges. On the first night of what the national media insisted on calling “mostly peaceful protests” the BLM mob “hurled debris, smashed windows,” and set fire to the Kenosha County Courthouse and several vehicles.
The next morning, the Biden campaign issued a statement that declared, “We must dismantle systemic racism. It is the urgent task before us.” The BLM mob apparently took Biden’s words as a command to “dismantle” Kenosha. On the second night of riots in the city, the arsonists torched a car dealership, a furniture store, and a state Department of Corrections office, among other targets. Perhaps Chris Wallace can explain how “white supremacists and militia groups” were responsible for this violence, but probably what he had in mind were the events of the third night of the Kenosha riots. That was when a convicted child rapist named Joseph Don “JoJo” Rosenbaum attacked 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse.
By the way, has Chris Wallace ever mentioned Rosenbaum’s criminal record on Fox News? He considers himself authorized to lecture others about how important to “get your facts straight,” why wouldn’t he want to share with Fox News viewers the fact that Rosenbaum was convicted of raping five pre-teen boys in Tucson? The story of what happened in Kenosha on the night of Aug. 25 doesn’t make sense if you don’t know that the man who attacked Rittenhouse was a very dangerous criminal who had served more than a decade in Arizona prisons.
Rosenbaum was captured on video that night taunting a group of armed men who were guarding a Kenosha business against the angry mob: “Shoot me n****!” When Rosenbaum later set a fire, Rittenhouse ran with a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze. Video shows Rosenbaum chasing the teenager across a parking lot where he cornered him, and Rittenhouse fired in self-defense, fatally wounding his attacker. As I explained last month (“The Media Lynching of Kyle Rittenhouse,” Sept. 3), Rosenbaum’s attack set off the chain of events in which two other rioters were shot, after the angry mob chased Rittenhouse. An 11-minute video produced by attorneys for Rittenhouse clearly shows that the teenager acted in self-defense.
Contrary to what Chris Wallace asserted to a TV audience of millions of Americans during Tuesday’s debate, Kyle Rittenhouse is not a “white supremacist,” nor is he a member of any “militia group.” That was made clear in a report Thursday by two young Wisconsin contributors to the Federalist, Evita Duffy and Kylee Zempel, who were on the scene in Kenosha during the riots:
In fact, the Anti-Defamation League found no evidence he [Rittenhouse] was or is connected to any extremist movements.
Yet Democrats and their friends in the corporate media, such as Wallace, have tried to paint Rittenhouse as a “white supremacist” in order to deflect all blame from the real agitators, left-wing groups such as BLM and Antifa.…
Not only was Wallace’s debate tactic dirty, but it is factually wrong to say the violence and destruction that consumed Kenosha was spawned by “white supremacists,” given that the overwhelming majority of arrests were of left-wing rioters.
To quote what Wallace shouted at Katie Pavlich: “Get your facts straight!”
You see that, as with the “Ukrainegate” impeachement controversy, Chris Wallace’s counterfactual claims about the BLM riots demonstrate a very peculiar sense of what is “fair and balanced.” As many viewers of Tuesday’s debate noticed, while Wallace invoked the violence in Portland and Kenosha to demand that Trump “condemn white supremacists and militia groups,” he made no similar demand that Biden condemn BLM and Antifa, who are directly implicated.
In essence, Wallace used his position as moderator to amplify the Biden campaign’s “racial justice” talking points, not only in regard to the riots but also concerning Trump’s executive order banning Critical Race Theory (CRT) from federal workplace training programs. Wallace dishonestly described this as innocuous “racial sensitivity training,” when in fact CRT is a radical ideology “rooted in Marxism,” as Eleanor Krasne of the Heritage Foundation has said. Wallace then permitted Biden to blabber on about “racial sensitivity,” as if Biden, who opposed school desegregation and praised Klansman Robert Byrd, were uniquely qualified to promote such sensitivity, or as if somehow a sensitivity deficit explains why America’s cities have been going up in flames since May.
This is a dangerous lie. Jacob Blake was not shot because Kenosha police lack “racial sensitivity”; he was shot resisting arrest while armed with a knife. The Black Lives Matter movement is built on a foundation of lies, demonizing police and fomenting a paranoid view of “systemic racism” as the all-purpose explanation for everything wrong in the black community. What is more dangerous to America than the dishonesty of the media in promoting BLM’s toxic rhetoric?
Chris Wallace could have used his role as debate moderator to be part of the solution to this problem. Instead, his undisguised hatred of Trump inspired Wallace to become part of the problem. What is even the point of having Fox News as a “fair and balanced” alternative to the liberal media if one of their most eminent journalists cannot meet even basic requirements of truthfulness? The damage Wallace did to Trump may perhaps prove temporary, but the damage done to America by media bias is cumulative and permanent.