Chris Wallace

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Chris Wallace
Chris Wallace (cropped).jpg
Wallace in Washington, D.C., in 2010
Born (1947-10-12) October 12, 1947 (age 72)
EducationHarvard University (AB)
OccupationHost of Fox News Sunday
Years active1964–present
Notable credit(s)
NBC Nightly News anchor (1982–1987)
Meet the Press moderator (1987–1988)
ABC Primetime correspondent (1989–2003)
Fox News Sunday anchor (2003–present)
Political partyDemocratic[1]
Spouse(s)
  • Elizabeth Jane Farrell (m. 1973; div.)
  • Lorraine (Martin) Smothers
    (m. 1997)
Children6
Parent(s)

Christopher W. Wallace (born October 12, 1947) is an American television anchor and journalist who is the news anchor of the Fox News program Fox News Sunday. Wallace is known for his tough and wide ranging interviews, for which he is often compared to his father, the renowned 60 Minutes journalist Mike Wallace. As a teenager Wallace became an assistant to Walter Cronkite during the 1964 Republican National Convention.[2] After graduating from Harvard University he worked as a national reporter for The Boston Globe where he was described by his boss as an "aggressive and ambitious reporter".[3] After seeing the impact television had on news at the 1972 Republican National Convention, he focused on working on broadcast news, first at NBC (1975–1988) where he served as a White House correspondent and the anchor for NBC Nightly News and host of Meet the Press. He then worked for ABC as an anchor for Primetime Thursday and Nightline (1989–2003). Wallace is the only person to have served as host and moderator of more than one of the major U.S. political Sunday morning talk shows, which he did during his time at NBC.[4] Since 2003, Wallace has hosted Fox News Sunday where he has gained praise and notoriety for his interviews with such politicians as Barack Obama, President Vladimir Putin, and Donald Trump.[5][6]

According to a 2018 poll, he was ranked as being one of the most trusted TV News Anchors in America.[7] Wallace is also known for his skills as a Presidential debate moderator. He made history when he was chosen to moderate the final 2016 United States Presidential debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, this being the first for a Fox News journalist. He was chosen again to moderate, this time the first, 2020 United States Presidential debate between President Trump and Former Vice President Joe Biden. Wallace has won a Peabody Award, three Emmy Awards, the duPont–Columbia Silver Baton Award, and a Paul White lifetime achievement award.[8]

Early life and education[edit]

Wallace was born in Chicago, Illinois,[9] to longtime CBS 60 Minutes reporter Mike Wallace and Norma Kaphan.[10] Wallace is Jewish;[11] both his parents were Jewish.[12][13] He was named Christopher because he was born on Columbus Day.[14] His parents divorced when he was one year old; he grew up with his mother and stepfather Bill Leonard, President of CBS News.[15] Leonard gave him early exposure to political journalism, hiring him as an assistant to Walter Cronkite at the 1964 Republican National Convention. Wallace did not develop a relationship with his father Mike until the age of 14.[16]

Wallace as a reporter for WBBM-TV, 1975

Wallace attended the Hotchkiss School and Harvard College.[17] He first reported news on-air for WHRB, the student radio station at Harvard. He memorably covered the 1969 student occupation of University Hall and was detained by Cambridge policemen, using his one phone call to sign off a report from Cambridge City Jail with "This is Chris Wallace from WHRB News reporting from Middlesex County Jail in custody."[18][19]

Career[edit]

Early career: The Boston Globe[edit]

Although accepted at Yale Law School, he decided to work as a national reporter for The Boston Globe where he was described by his boss as an "aggressive and ambitious reporter".[20][21] Wallace soon focused his attention towards broadcast television news when he noticed all the reporters at the 1972 political conventions were watching the proceedings on television's instead of in person. For a time in the early 1970s, he worked for the Chicago station WBBM-TV, which was owned and operated by CBS.[22]

1975-1988: NBC News[edit]

Nightly News, Meet the Press[edit]

Wallace began his network journalism career with NBC in 1975, where he stayed for 14 years, as a reporter with WNBC-TV in New York City. Wallace then transferred to NBC's Washington bureau as a political correspondent for NBC News and later served as Washington co-anchor and news reader for the Today show with Bryant Gumbel and Jane Pauley in 1982. That same year, he also served as chief White House correspondent (1982–1989), anchor of the Sunday edition of NBC Nightly News (1982–1984, 1986–1987), and moderator of Meet the Press (1987–1988).

Some journalists have described Wallace's style as confrontational. During President Ronald Reagan's news conference in March 1987, when Reagan admitted to dealing arms for hostages, Wallace asked Reagan why he had denied that Israel was involved with the arms sales to Iran "when you knew that wasn't true."[23]

1989-2003: ABC News[edit]

Primetime Thursday, Nightline[edit]

Wallace left NBC in 1989 for ABC. Sam Donaldson, ABC's outgoing chief White House correspondent, said he was 'delighted' and 'very pleased' that Wallace, his journalistic rival, will be joining the network saying, 'I've always liked his work, I think he's going to be a plus.'[24] At ABC News, Wallace was the senior correspondent for Primetime Thursday and occasionally hosted Nightline. During the Persian Gulf War in 1991, he reported from Tel Aviv on the Iraqi Scud missiles attacks. At the time, the Israeli government did not want to advertise where the Scuds landed, to prevent the Iraqis from making adjustments to their launchers. On one episode of Nightline, Wallace started describing the location in Tel Aviv where a Scud missile landed. Host Ted Koppel cut him off and asked him to point to a general area rather than give a specific location.[25] Wallace received a News and Documentary Emmy Award nomination for his reporting on Primetime Live segment: Hope Sells.[26]

Wallace interviews Maryland governor Larry Hogan in 2015.

2003-present: Fox News[edit]

Fox News Sunday (2003-present)[edit]

After another 14 years at ABC, Wallace left in 2003 to join Fox News. Wallace began hosting Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace in 2003 after replacing Tony Snow. Wallace along with Shepard Smith gained a reputation at FOX for their reputable status as journalists on the network.[27][28] In an interview with The Chicago Tribune, Howard Kurtz wrote, "Fox seems to be inching toward more conventional journalism." When asked about his political opinions, Wallace stated, "Do I have political opinions? Absolutely. But I vote for the person, and I've voted for Republicans and Democrats and independents over the course of my life. I feel very strongly that you try not to let that affect the way you report the news."[28] Fox News Chairman Roger Ailes called Wallace "one of the best interviewers in the business. ... I have no idea what he thinks personally, but he asks tough questions of everybody."[28]

Throughout his 17 years at FOX, Wallace has participated in coverage of nearly every major political event and has also secured several high-profile interviews with dignitaries and U.S leaders. In February 2009, he secured Fox's first interview with President Barack Obama.[29] On March 3, 2016, Wallace joined Bret Baier, and Megyn Kelly in moderating the 2016 Republican Party Presidential debate on Fox News.[30] In 2017, he interviewed President Donald Trump for his first interview since being elected.

Third presidential debate (2016)[edit]

The Commission on Presidential Debates selected Chris Wallace as moderator of the third presidential debate, held on October 19, 2016, at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. This was the first time a Fox News anchor had moderated a general election presidential debate.[31] After he was selected, Wallace controversially said, "it's not my job" to fact-check candidates, but that it was the job of the opposing candidate.[32] He received notable praise from both sides of the aisle for his tough questioning of both presidential candidates at that last presidential debate of the 2016 election. Afterwards, Jennifer Rubin in The Washington Post said that, despite her strong disapproval of other Fox News commentators, "No one could watch the final debate and deny that Chris Wallace is among the best in the business."[33]

Interview with Vladimir Putin (2018)[edit]

Wallace interviewing Vladimir Putin in 2018

In July 2018, Wallace conducted an interview with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. Wallace questioned Putin about why so many of his political opponents end up dead, and sought to hand Putin papers containing the indictment of 12 Russian agents for interference in the 2016 election. Putin declined to touch the papers.[34][35] According to The Washington Post's Aaron Blake, Putin was "clearly frustrated by a journalist actually challenging him".[34] His interview earned himself a News and Documentary Emmy Award award for Outstanding Live Interview.[36] It was the first News and Documentary Award in Fox News' history.[37]

Covering of the Kavanaugh hearings[edit]

In September 2018, Wallace covered the Supreme Court hearings for Brett Kavanaugh, during which Kavanaugh was accused by multiple women including Christine Blasey Ford of sexual assault. Wallace described Ford's testimony as "extremely emotional, extremely raw, and extremely credible...nobody could listen to her deliver those words and talk about the assault and the impact it had had on his life, on her life, and not have your heart, go out to her. She obviously was traumatized by an event."[38][39] He also described the cross-examination format as "a disaster for the Republicans."[40] When Ford's testimony was criticized by conservative pundits, Wallace discussed how his daughters had related their own previously undisclosed experiences. Wallace said that they "hadn’t told their parents, I don’t know if they told their friends. Certainly had never reported it to police...But the point is that there are teenage girls who don’t tell stories to a lot of people, and then it comes up, and I don’t think we can disregard that, I don't think we can disregard Christine Blasey Ford and the seriousness of this. I think that would be a big mistake."[41][42]

Covering of the Impeachment of Donald Trump[edit]

On January 27, 2020 Wallace got into a heated exchange with conservative pundit Katie Pavlich of TownHall.com on Fox News Sunday as to whether or not additional witnesses should be allowed to testify during the 2020 Impeachment trial of Donald Trump in the Senate.[43][44] Pavlich argued that Republicans should be allowed to deny Democrats the right to call witnesses during the trial citing the 1998 Investigation and Impeachment of Bill Clinton. Wallace objected stating, "So we just shouldn't listen to what John Bolton has to say?, elaborating, "To say in the Clinton investigation, these people who were interviewed by the House — one, they weren’t — and to say that it wasn’t done by the Justice Department… It wasn’t done because the Justice Department refused to carry out the investigation! Get your facts straight!"[45][46]

Interview with Donald Trump (2020)[edit]

On July 19, 2020, Wallace sat down with President Donald Trump for a wide-ranging interview outside The White House. The interview gained widespread social media attraction and news attraction for its content. Wallace earned praise for holding Trump accountable and fact-checking him in real time.[47][48] In the midst of the ongoing nationwide Black Lives Matter protests over the killing of George Floyd, Wallace pressed Trump on his claim that Joe Biden, the presumptive 2020 Democratic presidential nominee wanted to "defund and abolish" the police by replying "No, sir, he does not."[49] In reference to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wallace also challenged Trump on his exaggerated claims concerning the mortality rate and testing for COVID-19. When confronted by the statistics, the President responded: "I'll be right eventually." Many have compared the interview style with that of Wallace's father, 60 Minutes journalist Mike Wallace. This includes Frank Sesno, a professor at George Washington University who teaches a class on "the art of the interview", who stated, "He's very good at this. He's been doing this for a long time. And he's got the Wallace DNA."[48] Many noticed Trump's awkwardness during the interview, including Meghan McCain who stated on The View that, "it was the first time I've really seen President Trump squirm."[50]

First presidential debate (2020)[edit]

The Commission on Presidential Debates selected Wallace as moderator of the first presidential debate, to be held on September 29, 2020, at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.[51]

Other appearances[edit]

In July 2019, Wallace appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to promote a documentary made on his father, journalist Mike Wallace, titled Mike Wallace is Here.[52]

In December 2019, Wallace stated at the Washington Media Museum that "Trump is engaged in the most direct sustained assault on freedom of the press in our history".[53] He also stated that in his 50-year career in journalism his highlights include "spending a week with Mother Teresa in Calcutta", as well as covering Reagan across the world for ABC News, and interviewing Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, asking him "Why do so many people who oppose you end up dead?"[54]

Author[edit]

In June 2020, Wallace published his first book, Countdown 1945: The Extraordinary Story of the Atomic Bomb and the 116 Days That Changed the World, (ISBN 1982143347) with Mitch Weiss. The book received positive reviews[55] and spent multiple weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list.[56]

Accolades and honors[edit]

In addition to being awarded a Peabody Award and three Emmy Awards[57] he has been awarded:

Personal life[edit]

Wallace has said that despite his blood relationship with his father, Mike, his stepfather, Bill Leonard, had far more of an impact on his life. Wallace said that Leonard was "the single most important person in my life."[64] Wallace first developed a relationship with his father in his teens, after his older brother Peter died in 1962 climbing a mountain in Greece.[65]

Wallace has been married twice. In 1973, he married Elizabeth Farrell, with whom he has four children: Peter (father of William, Caroline, and James),[66] Megan (mother of Sabine and Livia), Andrew (father of Jack), and Catherine.[67] In 1997, he married Lorraine Smothers (née Martin, born 1959), the former wife of Dick Smothers.[68] Lorraine has two children from her previous marriage: Sarah Smothers and Remick Smothers.[69][70]

On October 11, 2006, The Washington Post reported that Wallace had been a registered Democrat for more than two decades. Wallace explained his party affiliation as pragmatism, saying that being a Democrat is the only feasible means of participating in the political process in heavily Democratic Washington, DC. He maintained that he had voted for candidates from both major parties in the past.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Argetsinger, Amy (October 11, 2006). "Chris Wallace, Card-Carrying Democrat?". The Washington Post. Retrieved November 5, 2008.
  2. ^ "Anchor Chris Wallace is Known For Tough, But Fair, Interviews". International Center for Journalists. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  3. ^ "Chris Wallace Used to be a Globe". The Boston Globe. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  4. ^ Bevan, Tom (September 18, 2015). "The New Dean of Sunday Mornings". RealClear Politics. Retrieved April 7, 2016.
  5. ^ "Chris Wallace to Vladimir Putin: Why Do So Many Of Your Enemies Wind Up Dead?". Real Clear Politics. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  6. ^ "5.8 Million Watch Chris Wallace Interview With President Trump". Forbes Magazine. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  7. ^ "America's Most Trusted TV News Anchors Revealed (Exclusive Poll)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 25, 2020.
  8. ^ Feloni, Richard (December 9, 2014). "50-Year Broadcast Veteran Chris Wallace On What Common Career Mistake To Avoid". Business Insider. Retrieved May 27, 2019. He's won three Emmys, a DuPont-Columbia Silver Baton award, and a Paul White lifetime achievement award.
  9. ^ Murray, Michael D., ed. (1998). Encyclopedia of Television News. Greenwood. p. 273. ISBN 978-1573561082.
  10. ^ Kennedy, Randy (October 24, 1994). "William Leonard, 78, Former Head of CBS News". The New York Times. Retrieved June 27, 2011. After retiring Mr. Leonard lived in Washington with his second wife, the former Norma Kaphan Wallace, ex-wife of the "60 Minutes" correspondent, Mike Wallace.
  11. ^ "7 Things About Debate Moderator Chris Wallace — Starting With He’s Jewish" by Thea Glassman, The Forward, October 19, 2016
  12. ^ Tim Weiner (April 8, 2012). "Mike Wallace, CBS Pioneer of '60 Minutes,' Dies at 93". The New York Times. Retrieved April 8, 2014.
  13. ^ Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk About Being Jewish By Abigail Pogrebin retrieved March 30, 2013.
  14. ^ Grynbaum, Michael M. (June 14, 2020). "Chris Wallace, Insider and Outlier at Fox News". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved August 13, 2020.
  15. ^ Shea, Danny (April 13, 2009). "Chris Wallace On Playing Newsman With His Stepfather, Why Roger Ailes Is Like Roone Arledge". Huffingtonpost.com. Retrieved May 15, 2012.
  16. ^ "Newsman Mike Wallace dead at 93 –". Usatoday.com. April 8, 2012. Retrieved May 15, 2012.
  17. ^ Yung, Jim. "Famous Alumni: Your House's Claim to Fame". Harvard Crimson. Archived from the original on November 15, 2010. Retrieved October 12, 2016.
  18. ^ Levinson, Arlene (March 15, 1989). "Harvard Alumni Plan Reunion To Mark Shutting Down University in 1969". The Associated Press.
  19. ^ Lambert, Craig, ed. (March–April 2019). "Echoes of 1969". Harvard Magazine. Vol. 121 no. 4. pp. 52–60. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
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  21. ^ Singer, Jonathan (July 14, 2005). "Son of '60 Minutes' icon makes his own mark at Fox News". The Hill. p. 19.
  22. ^ Anonymous (April 13, 2010). "Harvard's WHRB celebrates 70 years – Cambridge, Massachusetts – Cambridge Chronicle". Wickedlocal.com. Retrieved May 15, 2012.
  23. ^ Church, George J.; Beckwith, David; Gorey, Hays (March 30, 1987). "Reagan: Well, He Survived". Time. Retrieved September 19, 2018.
  24. ^ "Chris Wallace, outgoing NBC White House correspondent, will go..." UPI.
  25. ^ Richmond, Ray (January 20, 1991). "Networks wary of broadcasting military secrets". Orange County Register. p. A05.
  26. ^ "Chris Wallace". IMDb.
  27. ^ Wade, Peter (October 12, 2019). "With Shep Smith Gone, Is Fox News' Transition to Propaganda Complete?".
  28. ^ a b c Kurtz, Howard. "'Straight-news man' Wallace to be 'Fox News Sunday' host". chicagotribune.com.
  29. ^ "Two U.S. Journalists to Receive Top Honors at Prestigious International Media Gala". International Center for Journalists.
  30. ^ "Bret Baier, Megyn Kelly, Chris Wallace return for March 3 debate". Politico. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
  31. ^ "CPD Announces 2016 Debate Moderators". Commission on Presidential Debates.
  32. ^ Why moderators aren’t the best option for fact-checking debates, By David Uberti, CJR, September 12, 2016.
  33. ^ The mainstreaming of racism on Fox News, By Jennifer Rubin October 26, 2016.
  34. ^ a b Blake, Aaron. "Analysis | Fox News's Chris Wallace gives Putin the grilling Trump won't". Washington Post. Archived from the original on July 17, 2018. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  35. ^ Wilstein, Matt (July 16, 2018). "Fox News' Chris Wallace Presses Vladimir Putin in Tense Interview After Donald Trump Gives Him a Pass". The Daily Beast. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  36. ^ "NOMINEES FOR THE 40th ANNUAL NEWS & DOCUMENTARY EMMY® AWARDS ANNOUNCED – The Emmys". theemmys.tv.
  37. ^ Joyella, Mark. "Fox News Gets Its First-Ever News And Documentary Emmy Nomination". Forbes.
  38. ^ "Fox News's Chris Wallace on the Kavanaugh hearing: "This is a disaster for the Republicans"". Vox. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  39. ^ "On Fox News, Ford Testimony Seen as 'Disaster' for GOP". Bloomberg L.P. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  40. ^ "Fox News' Chris Wallace Declares Start Of Christine Ford Testimony "Disaster For Republicans"". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  41. ^ "Chris Wallace: My daughters disclosed incidents from their youth after Kavanaugh allegations". The Hill. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  42. ^ "Fox News' Chris Wallace: My Daughters Revealed High School 'Stories' In Light Of Kavanaugh Allegations". Huffington Post. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  43. ^ "Fox's Chris Wallace, Katie Pavlich spar on impeachment: 'Get your facts straight'". The Hill.com. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  44. ^ "Fox News anchor Chris Wallace tells conservative commentator to get her 'facts straight' in heated exchange over impeachment witnesses". Business Insider. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  45. ^ "FOX's Katie Pavlich and Chris Wallace Spar Over Impeachment Trial Witness Rules: "Get Your Facts Straight"". Real Clear Politics. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  46. ^ "'Get your facts straight': Chris Wallace slams conservative pundit during impeachment debate". Washington Examiner. Retrieved July 21, 2020.
  47. ^ "Chris Wallace checkmates Trump in real time". The Washington Post. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  48. ^ a b "Fox's Chris Wallace gets praise for his interview with Trump". Associated Press. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  49. ^ "The 55 most shocking lines from Chris Wallace's interview with Donald Trump". CNN. Retrieved July 20, 2020.
  50. ^ "Fox's Chris Wallace gets praise for his interview with Trump". Associated Press. Retrieved July 22, 2020.
  51. ^ Flood, Brian (September 2, 2020). "Fox News' Chris Wallace to moderate first Trump-Biden presidential debate". Fox News. Retrieved September 9, 2020.
  52. ^ "Chris Wallace: People Were Scared When Mike Wallace Showed Up". YouTube. Retrieved June 10, 2020.
  53. ^ "Fox host lambasts Trump over 'most sustained assault on press freedom in US history'". The Guardian.
  54. ^ Hains, Tim. "Chris Wallace to Vladimir Putin: Why Do So Many Of Your Enemies Wind Up Dead?". realclearpolitics.com. RealClearPolitics. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
  55. ^ "Book Marks - Countdown 1945: The Extraordinary Story of the Atomic Bomb and the 116 Days That Changed the World". Book Marks. Retrieved July 13, 2020.
  56. ^ "Hardcover Nonfiction Books - Best Sellers - The New York Times". The New York Times. July 19, 2020. Retrieved July 13, 2020.
  57. ^ Feloni, Richard (December 9, 2014). "50-Year Broadcast Veteran Chris Wallace On What Common Career Mistake To Avoid". Business Insider. Retrieved May 27, 2019.
  58. ^ "Chris Wallace". National Press Foundation.
  59. ^ "Chris Wallace". Distinguished Speaker Series.
  60. ^ "Paul White Award". Radio Television Digital News Association. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
  61. ^ "Chris Wallace, Winner of the 2017 ICFJ Founders Award for Excellence in Journalism". International Center for Journalists. Retrieved November 10, 2017.
  62. ^ "Fox News Sunday Anchor Chris Wallace Honored With 'Tex' McCrary Journalism Award". Mediaite. September 16, 2018. Retrieved January 3, 2019.
  63. ^ Kaplar, Richard T. "Chris Wallace and Cathy Hughes To Receive Media Institute Awards at Oct. 24 Gala in Washington".
  64. ^ "Fox News anchor Chris Wallace credits his success to 'three giants of broadcasting'". The Washington Post. March 8, 2012.
  65. ^ Deborah Solomon. "The Newsman Makes News". The New York Times. October 8, 2006.
  66. ^ "Weddings/Celebrations; Jennifer Breheny, Peter Wallace". The New York Times. June 27, 2004.
  67. ^ Martha Smilgis. "For Chris Wallace of NBC's Prime Time, His 60 Minutes Rivals Are Dan, Morley, Harry—and Dad". People. July 30, 1979.
  68. ^ "Ex-wife Of Dick Smothers". Chicago Tribune. September 21, 1986.
  69. ^ Erik Meers. "Passages". People. July 21, 1997.
  70. ^ Film Reference: Chris Wallace Biography (1947–). Retrieved April 8, 2012.

External links[edit]

Media offices
Preceded by
Marvin Kalb
Meet the Press moderator
1987–1988
Succeeded by
Garrick Utley
Preceded by
Tony Snow
Fox News Sunday anchor
2003–present
Incumbent