Another moderate has left the Fox News Channel.
Chris Wallace (shown hee), 74, said today (Dec. 12) that he’s leaving the channel where he worked for 18 years. He’ll be an anchor at CNN+, a streaming service that CNN plans to start in the first quarter of 2022.
That comes two years after Shepard Smith, an anchor and a moderate, left Fox News.
Smith, now a CNBC anchor, eventually criticized Fox for the comments in opinion shows that followed his newscasts. “If you’re going to opine,” he said, “begin with the truth and opine from there. When people begin with a false premise and lead people astray, that’s injurious to society.”
Wallace, however, expressed no ill-will when he announced his departure on “Fox News Sunday.” Executives had promised not to interfere with his work, he said, and they “kept that promise.”
That was reflected in a comment by the Fox News founder. “I have no idea what he thinks personally,” the late Roger Ailes once said, “but he asks tough questions of everybody.”
Some of the toughest came in the first 2020 presidential debate, when Wallace questioned Joe Biden and Donald Trump. The latter kept talking before the questions finished. “Mr. President!” Wallace demanded. “I’m the moderator of this debate and I would like you to let me ask my question.”
Afterward, Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender wrote in “Frankly, We Did Win This Election” (Hachette Book Group, 2021), Trump acknowledged no blame for the evening. “It was Chris Wallace, he said, who was to blame for the constant interruptions.”
Wallace’s 50-plus-year career has made the rounds of the networks. At CBS (where his dad, Mike Wallace, was a superstar), he was briefly a teenaged convention assistant to Walter Cronkite. He went on to the Boston Globe, NBC, ABC and Fox.
Along the way, CNN said, he “has won every major broadcast news award,” including three Emmys, a duPont and a Peabody.
He arrives at a CNN time of trouble – Chris Cuomo, its most-watched anchor, was fired – and of expansion. No details of the streaming service have been released yet; Fox News already has a streamer, called Fox Nation.