Following Hearst columnist Helen Thomas’ retirement, reporters have been chattering about who will take her front row seat at White House press briefings, with the main contenders said to be Bloomberg and Fox News. On Don Imus’ Fox Business show today, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace advocated for his network getting the chair, saying that it would be “the final, sort of, payment for, for Helen Thomas.”
“If this were to happen because obviously she was very far to the left wing and if her seat were to be taken by Fox News it would just be kind of poetic justice,” said Wallace. Imus quickly noticed that Wallace was all but saying that Fox was right wing and gave Wallace the opportunity to walk back his comment:
IMUS: But what are you suggesting about Fox News then?
IMUS: What are you suggesting about Fox News?
WALLACE: Well, I just realized that’s probably not the way to go on this. In any case.
IMUS: No it wasn’t, was it.
WALLACE: We’re fair and balanced. That’s the point.
IMUS: Let me dig you out.
WALLACE: She’s off to the left.
IMUS: Good. Why don’t we dig out out of the hole you’ve just dug for yourself.
WALLACE: You know what the old line is. Just stop digging. So, in any case.
IMUS: By the way, say hi to Roger when he calls you. It’s a little joke.
This isn’t the first time Wallace has slipped up on the Fox party line that denies the network’s right-wing leaning. In November 2009, when Wallace did an interview with Rush Limbaugh, the conservative talker included Fox News as an example of the “conservative media” that has been spawned in the wake of his success on the radio. Wallace didn’t push back on Limbaugh’s assertion about Fox’s ideology and instead just moved on to the next question, saying, “let’s talk about you.”