Fox News host Chris Wallace lambasted President Donald Trump for spearheading "the most direct sustained assault on freedom of the press in our history."
"I believe that President Trump is engaged in the most direct sustained assault on freedom of the press in our history," Wallace, the host of "Fox News Sunday," said to applause in a speech Wednesday at the Newseum, an interactive gallery devoted to the media, in Washington.
"He has done everything he can to undercut the media, to try and delegitimize us, and I think his purpose is clear: to raise doubts when we report critically about him and his administration that we can be trusted.
"Back in 2017," he continued, "he tweeted something that said far more about him than it did about us: 'The fake news media is not my enemy. It is the enemy of the American people.'"
Wallace's comments were first reported by The Guardian.
He is the son of storied CBS News journalist and "60 Minutes" host Mike Wallace — and Wallace has been admired among his colleagues, and vilified by President Trump, for breaking ranks with the Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox and challenging the White House.
Trump bashed Wallace as "nasty and obnoxious" on Twitter last month after he confronted House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La., on some of his assertions about the Democratic impeachment inquiry.
Wallace, 72, is a former host of "Meet the Press" on NBC News, later moving to ABC News, where the occasionally hosted "Nightline" and covered the Persian Gulf War.
He spoke at an event marking the closing of the Newseum at its current location after nearly 12 years. First opened in Northern Virginia in 1997, the Newseum is moving for the second time in its history because of financial challenges.
In his speech, Wallace noted that Ret. Navy Adm. Bill McRaven, a SEAL for 37 years, once said that Trump's "sentiment may be the greatest threat to democracy in my lifetime" because it undermined the U.S. Constitution.
"Let's be honest," Wallace acknowledged, "the president's attacks have done some damage."
He cited a poll by the Freedom Forum Institute, a Newseum affiliate, from earlier this year finding that 29% of Americans said they believed the First Amendment "goes too far" in protecting the press — but that 77%, "three quarters, say that fake news is a serious threat to our democracy."
However, Wallace cautioned the media against overreach, the Guardian reports.
"Many of our colleagues see the president’s attacks, his constant bashing of the media as a rationale, as an excuse to cross the line themselves, to push back, and that is a big mistake," he said.
"I see it all the time on the front page of major newspapers and the lead of the evening news: fact mixed with opinion, buzzwords like 'bombshell' and 'scandal.'
"The animus of the reporter and the editor is as plain to see as the headline."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.