Fox’s Chris Wallace Totally Busted Sarah Sanders Sunday. Here’s How Fox News Covered it Monday
Fox News anchor Chris Wallace committed an act of impressive journalism on Sunday when he completely debunked the Trump administration’s claims about terrorism at the border during an interview with Sarah Huckabee Sanders, but you’d never know it from Fox News’ coverage of the interview.
On Sunday’s edition of Fox News Sunday, Wallace doggedly broke down the Trump administration’s repeated lies about terrorists attempting to cross the southwest border of the United States.
He began by pressing Sanders on Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen‘s claim that Customs and Border Protection “has stopped over 3,000 what we call special interest aliens trying to come into the country on the southern border,” pointing out that “special interest aliens are just people who have come from countries that have ever produced a terrorist, they’re not terrorists themselves.”
When Sanders tried to throw a different statistic at him, Wallace was ready.
“We know that roughly nearly 4,000 known or suspected terrorists come into our country illegally, and we know that our most vulnerable point of entry is southern border,” Sanders began, but Wallace cut her off.
“I know the statistic, I didn’t know if you were going to use it, but I studied up on this,” Wallace said. “Do you know what those 4,000 people come where they are captured? Airports.”
Three times during the interview, Wallace stopped Sanders cold by citing a Trump State Department report that said there are zero terrorists infiltrating the southern border. It was a stunning performance which, had it occurred on any other network, would have been replayed every hour and subjected to glowing analysis.
But on Fox News, the interview was almost completely ignored. Aside from Fox News’ rebroadcast of Fox News Sunday, the exchange was mentioned only once on Fox News, in the 4 a.m. hour Monday morning.
And that single mention wasn’t to praise Wallace, but to diminish his interview and completely gloss over the facts. On Monday morning’s edition of Fox & Friends First, anchor Heather Childers was interviewing Republican consultant Ashley Hayek when she mentioned Wallace’s interview.
Childers said that Sarah Sanders was discussing “illegals”crossing the border, and “the numbers of those that include terrorists, and she used a number that we’ve heard quite frequently, that being 4,000.”
She claimed that “Chris Wallace pushed back on that a little bit, and said a lot of those actually happened at the airport,” but quickly excused Sanders’ lie by saying “we do have people crossing the borders who should not be here.”
As anyone can clearly see, Wallace did not “push back on that a little bit,” he completely destroyed it. And he didn’t say “a lot” of those were at airports, he said “they’re not coming across the southern border, Sarah, they’re coming and they’re being stopped at airports.”
In fact, according to the most recent data from Trump’s own Department of Homeland Security, 85 percent of those on the watch list were stopped at airports:
In fiscal year 2017, DHS had 2,554 encounters with individuals on the terrorist watchlist (also known as the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Database) traveling to the United States. Of those
encounters, 335 were attempting to enter by land, 2,170 were attempting to enter by air, and 49 were attempting to enter by sea.
Chris Wallace deserves to be rewarded for his aggressive fact-checking of Sarah Huckabee Sanders, but his own network has instead mostly ignored the stellar job he did on Sunday, and the one time they mentioned it, they misled viewers about it. That’s a shame, because this dogged pursuit of the truth is more crucial than ever, especially on the network that has the most access to Trump and his administration.
Watch the clip above, via Fox News.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.