• Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace blasts Trump for his unrelenting assault on freedom of the press
  • He defends the mainstream media for doing its job of reporting about Trump and his policies
  • He finds being praised as a "voice of reason" is "kind of depressing" because it reflects on the absence of fairness in our daily discourse

Veteran Fox News host Chris Wallace slammed president Donald Trump for his assault on freedom of the press and defended media's right to criticize Trump and his policies.

Wallace made an impassioned defense of the his profession, which Trump derides as the "fake news media," during an event on Wednesday night celebrating the First Amendment at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

A newspaperman for over 50 years and now the host of "Fox News Sunday," Wallace told his audience he's often complemented as the voice of reason.

"A lot of pepople come up to me these days and say how fair I am. Some even say that I'm a voice of reason ... I find this particular complement kind of depressing. Why? Because when I started in the news business half a century ago working as a reporter for the Boston Globe, fairness was not something to be singled out. It was the basic minimum requirement for your job ... Now it stands out."

He argues the news business needs to think of this change very seriously. He then let loose against Trump.

"I believe that President Trump is engaged in the most direct sustained assault on freedom of the press in our history," he said.

Wallace then went on to say Trump has done everything he can to undercut the media. Trump has tried to delegitimize the media. Wallace says Trump's purpose is clear -- to raise doubts that media can be trusted when media reports critically about Trump and his administration.

As proof of Trump's war on media, Wallace pointed to a Trump tweet from 2017, which said, "The FAKE NEWS media (failing @nytimes, @NBCNews, @ABC, @CBS, @CNN) is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American People!" tweeted Trump.

Wallace argues Trump's attacks have done some damage to the media. He reminded his audience of a poll that found 77 percent of Americans believe fake news is a serious threat to American democracy.

Wallace also warned media is making a big mistake to use Trump's attacks as rationale to counterattack and cross the line of journalism's basic tenets. He said he sees fact mixed with opinion all the time on the front page of major newspapers and the evening news. This type of journalism also makes the biases of the reporter and the editor as plain to see as the headline.

Wallace has been a voice of reason at the Fox News organization since the sudden departure of vocal Trump critic Shepard Smith in October. Trump has hammered Wallace in tweets time and again for the latter's criticisms. He once called Wallace "the nasty & obnoxious Chris Wallace."