Fox News Hosts, Chris Wallace and Shepard Smith, Take On Trump After he Calls the Media the ‘Enemy of America’

by Alicia Shepard

It’s no secret President Trump loves to loathe the mainstream press, as witnessed by a Friday tweet dismissing CNN, the “failing” New York Times, NBC News, ABC and CBS as “the FAKE NEWS media” and calling the press an “enemy of the American People!”

But Trump does have a soft spot for the morning show, Fox & Friends, the Fox network and its millions of loyal viewers.

At a presidential press conference Thursday — while mentioning “the fake news media” seven times — Trump singled out Fox & Friends as “very honorable people… It’s the most honest.” In an earlier tweet, slamming other cable channels as “unwatchable, he added “@foxandfriends is great!

Why shouldn’t he like Fox? A new Pew Research Center survey of Trump voters taken in late November revealed that 4 in ten said Fox News was their main source for election coverage.

This mutual love affair makes it all the more impressive that two prominent, well-respected, veteran Fox News anchors – Chris Wallace and Shepard Smith — just took on the president, publicly rebuking him for his press attacks and falsehoods. Their words earned praise from media colleagues and Twitter tongue-lashings from Trump supporters.

On Sunday morning, Wallace said Trump’s Friday tweet calling the media an enemy of the public went too far. (Fox was not on the list.)

‘‘Look, we’re big boys. We criticize presidents,” Wallace told his colleagues on Fox & Friends. “They want to criticize us back, that’s fine. But when he said that the fake news media is not my enemy, it’s the enemy of the American people, I believe that crosses an important line.’’

Wallace knew he was going to rile viewers. But that didn’t hold him back.

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Alicia Shepard is a veteran media writer and a former ombudsman for NPR. Follow her on Twitter @Ombudsman