Less than two hours after Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace abruptly announced that he was leaving Fox News, competitor CNN announced that Wallace would be joining the network as an anchor on its streaming service CNN+.
Aside from the timing of the CNN announcement, the idea that Wallace, who is Democrat, would land at the network made sense to Fox News viewers, who have been complaining about a perceived liberal bias from the anchor for years. While CNN may prove to be a great fit for Wallace, it may not be entirely smooth sailing, given his history with Jake Tapper, the lead Washington anchor for CNN.
In one example, a 2017 email to then-Treasury spokesperson Tony Sayegh, obtained by the advocacy group Democracy Forward through a FOIA request, Wallace took a shot at Tapper over an interview the State of the Union host did with former Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, writing: “As much as I hate the expression ‘fake news’ — this is a perfect example of it.”
Other examples cited by Mediaite that followed that incident include Tapper being critical of Wallace in July of 2020 for failing to confront former President Donald Trump in an interview on reporting that Russian operatives were paying the Taliban bounties to kill U.S. service members — the claim was never fully corroborated and Military Times reported in April that a senior Biden administration official said the U.S. intelligence community “assesses with low to moderate confidence that Russian intelligence officers sought to encourage Taliban attacks.”
Tapper was also critical of Wallace’s disastrous performance as moderator of the first 2020 presidential debate — which is essentially low hanging fruit, given how poorly he did: “He did not have control of the debate stage for much of the evening.”
In a matter of days, Tapper followed up on that jab when he abruptly shut down an interview with a Trump spokesperson by saying, “You know what? I’m not Chris Wallace.”
He was interviewing Trump campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh, and grew frustrated after repeatedly pressing the aide to comment on the president’s alleged failure to condemn white supremacists — a popular media narrative that ignored the reality that Trump did on several occasions do just that. Wallace would soon fire back: “He’s right, he isn’t Chris Wallace. It’s easy to criticize from the cheap seats.”
There was also a Tapper shot across the bow over the “Big Lie” narrative repeated ad nauseam by the liberal media to dismiss any concerns over the outcome of the 2020 election — the CNN anchor would not invite guests on his show who had concerns about election fraud, which Wallace dismissed as “moral posturing.”
“This isn’t an easy conversation for some folks — especially for journalists who work for organizations where the Big Lie was platformed — but that’s all the more reason to have this conversation,” Tapper countered.
Tapper responded online to Wallace’s announcement Sunday to offer him best wishes, indicating in the process that he was unaware that they would quickly become coworkers at CNN.
“Congrats to Chris on a very impressive run at @FoxNewsSunday and best wishes for whatever’s next,” Tapper tweeted.
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) December 12, 2021
Just three minutes after that tweet, CNN announced in a tweet that Wallace was coming aboard at the network:
We’re thrilled to welcome Chris Wallace to CNN as an anchor for @CNNPlus. His new weekday show will feature interviews with newsmakers across politics, business, sports and culture & will contribute to CNN+’s slate of live programming available at launch. https://t.co/6dgFzBd2QT pic.twitter.com/h8djkxClsB
— CNN Communications (@CNNPR) December 12, 2021
Wallace did not mention his new CNN gig while announcing his departure on Sunday.
“After 18 years — this is my final FOX News Sunday. It is the last time — and I say this with real sadness — we will meet like this,” he said. “Eighteen years ago, the bosses here at Fox promised me they would never interfere with a guest I booked or a question I asked. And they kept that promise.”
“But after 18 years, I have decided to leave Fox. I want to try something new, to go beyond politics to all the things I’m interested in,” Wallace added. “I’m ready for a new adventure. And I hope you’ll check it out.
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