What Happens When a Fox News Host Ventures Outside the Bubble

Compared to Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs, Tucker Carlson, and Laura Ingraham, Fox News host Chris Wallace is practically sane. I suspect that he would fall under the network’s classification of “reporter” rather than “commentator.” Perhaps that’s why Wallace ventured outside the right wing news bubble and appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert last Thursday. It didn’t go well.

In defending Trump’s fear mongering about the caravan of migrants in Mexico, Wallace said that they would simply show up at our border and demand entry. He suggested that this country needs a system of laws that determines if people are let into the country and asked Colbert whether or not he believed in open borders. Colbert responded by pointing out that the United States doesn’t have “open borders” and we actually do have a system of laws for handling asylum seekers. He then turned the tables on Wallace by asking if he believed in the law.

Wallace moved on to what the Trump administration calls “catch and release,” suggesting that asylum seekers are put out into the country and only 10 percent show up to their court hearing. Colbert suggested that his numbers were wrong and asked his own fact-checkers to look into that. Wallace immediately started backpedaling and revised his statement by saying “a lot of them don’t” show up for their hearing. Later on in the interview, Colbert returned with data from the Justice Department which documents that 60-70 percent of non-detained immigrants attended immigration court proceedings.

This is what happens when someone who touts themselves as a factual reporter from Fox News ventures outside the bubble of right wing media. Wallace tried to peddle two of Trump’s lies: (1) open borders and (2) only 10 percent of asylum seekers show up for their court hearing. If neither of those is true, the entire case the Trump administration is making to scare American voters about the caravan (filled with nothing but lies) falls apart. It took Stephen Colbert less than four minutes to debunk the entire case Wallace made.

It’s true that, given Colbert’s audience, he was preaching to the choir and the people who get their news from Donald Trump and his enablers on Fox News won’t be exposed to the truth. But an informed late night comedian just showed major news outlets how it’s done. For anyone interested in facts rather than fear mongering, it was a thing of beauty.

Nancy LeTourneau

Nancy LeTourneau is a contributing writer for the Washington Monthly.