During Sunday’s Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace contrasted front-page headlines from The Washington Post the day after Republican Congressman Steve Scalise was shot at an Alexandria, VA baseball field by a Bernie Sanders supporter with The Post's headline following the capture of mail bomb mastermind and Trump supporter Cesar Sayoc. Not surprisingly, The Post made sure to emphasize that Sayoc's political views were mentioned in the headline while the assailant's political leanings were not mentioned in the Scalise shooting headline.
During his ongoing tour to promote his book -- A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership -- former FBI Director James Comey responded to a question on Wednesday from a reporter that he said he had never before been asked: Is the “smashing of cell phones and destruction of thousands of emails” by the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign in 2016 “obstruction of justice?” The query came from Joan Jones of the WTOP-FM radio station in Washington, D.C., and Comey replied: “Now that’s a great question. That’s the first time I’ve been asked that.”
It’s certainly no surprise that MSNBC's Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough and Sean Hannity, host of his eponymous weeknight show on the Fox News Channel, have been feuding over President Donald Trump and the Republican Party in general.
Of this past Sunday's political talk shows, NBC's Meet the Press went the furthest in informing viewers of Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez's recent statement against Democrats who hold pro-life views as host Chuck Todd brought up the issue with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and even raised the matter again during the show's regular panel segment. CNN's State of the Union also touched on the issue as CBS's Face the Nation only brought it up vaguely, while ABC's This Week and Fox News Sunday ignored it completely.
During the panel discussion on the January 8 episode of Fox News Sunday, Juan Williams claimed that last week's torture of a mentally handicapped white man by four black adults "stirs up racial tensions already hot from the campaign rhetoric of Donald Trump," and that "white nationalists" would see this as an excuse to "legitimize acts of white racism." After the panel spent a couple of minutes dealing with a viewer's question about a perceived overemphasis on the "politics" of this crime instead of the fact that it was "a racial hate crime," Laura Ingraham circled back to criticize Williams's comment as "completely off base."
At the end of the panel discussion on the most recent Fox News Sunday, host Chris Wallace asked the Associated Press's Julie Pace how big of a deal she thought President-Elect Donald Trump's "transparency" in moving away from direct involvement in his business interests would be.
Her answer came across to me as self-important, given that she basically said that the she and the press were going to consistently report on it "whether they (the public) care about it or not." Wallace appeared to react similarly. His response to her answer was delicious, especially because it ended the segment: "I think Donald Trump's going to determine his own interests, not Julie Pace." Ouch.
The liberals who thought Chris Wallace did a bang-up job as moderator of the third presidential debate were judging strictly by appearances, contended Daily Kos’s Laura Clawson and Salon’s Gary Legum in separate articles. Clawson pooh-poohed the praise for Wallace, sneering that he “really wasn’t all that. Unless the ‘that’ is ‘a purveyor of right-wing talking points masked as “fair and balanced” questions.’” Legum called Wallace “a creature of Fox News, a point of view he betrayed through both his selection of several questions and the right-wing frame he gave to them. Which might have tickled the amygdala of conservatives everywhere, but also managed to perpetrate for a mainstream audience a couple of the more pernicious policy myths that haunt our political discourse.”
While Fox's Chris Wallace has drawn near-universal praise for moderating the final presidential debate, the Hollywood trade paper Variety carried the contrarian headline: "Final Debate: Wallace Misses." TV critic Sonia Soraiya wrote Wallace’s questions “provided some of the most heartfelt responses from her [Hillary] , such as her articulate, emotional statement of purpose on abortion.”
She complained "Wallace’s questions had the effect of equalizing the two candidates, a journalistic tic that is admirable but unhelpful in 2016. Trump’s mendacious statements going unchallenged did not help anyone except Trump himself."
The New York Times coverage of the final presidential debate was dominated by what it termed “a remarkable statement that seemed to cast doubt on American democracy” -- Trump’s refusal to state he would accept the results of next month’s presidential election, along with a cutting front-page opinion on how Hillary flustered Trump. There was also another ideologically slanted fact-check of the debate.
Following the final 2016 presidential debate on Wednesday night between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Media Research Center president Brent Bozell issued the following statement about the debate and Fox News moderator Chris Wallace:
Appearing as a panel member on Fox News Sunday, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd recalled that GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump has caused the Times to change its policies so the word "liar" can be applied to politicians, and then pivoted to taking a swipe at former Vice President Dick Cheney as she recounted having to search for "synonyms" for the word "liar" when writing about him.
As Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine appeared on five Sunday talk shows, only CNN's Jake Tapper brought up Friday's reports that longtime Hillary Clinton friend and advisor Sidney Blumenthal tried to push anti-Obama birtherism into the media during the 2008 presidential campaign by pitching it to McClatchy's then-Washington bureau chief. The other Sunday talk shows failed to bring up the story even though Kaine in most of his appearances complained about birtherism, at several points calling it "bigoted."