Chris Wallace’s ‘fair and balanced’ questions

Fox News is still Fox News.

CREDIT: (AP/John Locher)
CREDIT: (AP/John Locher)

Chris Wallace, a veteran Fox News journalist, was already a controversial choice to host Wednesday night’s final presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Wallace is noted for his close relationship with Roger Ailes, who is currently advising Trump on the debates, prompting media experts to raise ethical questions about his involvement.

Ultimately, Wallace did win praise for holding Trump accountable on several issues and keeping both candidates on task throughout the debate. Yet as much as he tried to play things equally, several of his questions showed a clear bias towards conservative ideals, policy positions, and talking points.

Here are a few.


Wallace frames his question using the term “partial-birth.”

“I’m going to give you a chance respond but I want to ask you Secretary Clinton I want to explore how far you believe the right to abortion goes. You have been quoted as saying that the fetus has no constitutional rights. You also voted against a ban on late-term partial-birth abortions. Why?”

“Open borders”

This quote mentioned below, often cited in conservative media, has been taken out of context.

“Mr. Trump you want to build a wall. Secretary Clinton you have offered no specific plan or how you want to secure our southern border. … We’ve learned from the Wikileaks that you said this, and I want to quote ‘My dream is a hemispheric common market with open trade and open borders,’ so that is the question…Is that your dream, open borders?”

Supreme Court

Wallace sets up the question so that — if Clinton disagrees with the conservative position — she will be arguing that the Founders didn’t actually “mean what they [said].”


“The first topic is the Supreme Court … First of all, where do you want to see the court take the country? And secondly, what’s your view on how the Constitution should be interpreted? Do the founders words mean what they say, or is it a living document to be applied flexibly according to changing circumstances? In the segment, Secretary Clinton, you go first.”

Clinton’s economic plan

Wallace implicitly blames Obama’s stimulus for slow GDP growth.

“Secretary Clinton, I want to pursue your plan because in many ways, it is similar to the Obama stimulus plan in 2009,which has led to the slowest GDP growth since 1949.”

“You told me in July when we spoke that the problem is that President Obama didn’t get to do enough of what he was trying to do with the stimulus. So is your plan basically — or even more — of the Obama stimulus?”

Second Amendment

In which Wallace pits Clinton against conservative justice Scalia.

“Secretary Clinton, you said last year — and let me quote, the Supreme Court is wrong on the second amendment. And now in fact, in the 2008 Heller case, the court ruled that there is a constitutional right to bear arms but a right that is reasonably limited. Those were the words of the judge Antonin Scalia who wrote the decision. What’s wrong with that?”