Ms. Magazine Calls on Fox News to Apologize for Chris Wallace's Unprecedented Attack on Teresa Heinz Kerry and Asks, "Has Wallace Swallowed Kool-Aid?"
July 28, 2004 -- Last night, following the primetime speech of Teresa Heinz Kerry, Fox News reporter Chris Wallace, speaking from the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Boston, said he expected Mrs. Heinz Kerry to begin singing “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.”
After laughter from Fox News anchor Brit Hume, the program continued as a panel of pundits denigrated the possible future First Lady, calling her “self-centered” and “odd.”
“I do not quarrel with the comments of the Fox News pundit panel, although I disagree with their characterizations,” said Elaine Lafferty, editor in chief of Ms. magazine.
“They are commentators, paid to offer opinion, and entitled to their First Amendment right to do so. But Chris Wallace is a respected veteran journalist. When he left ABC News to join Fox, he said, ‘All we want to do is the best, fairest most even–handed job of covering the news.’
“Crude name calling and comparisons with the wife of an Argentinean leader who headed a fascist regime can hardly be what Fox News was hoping for in a man with Mr. Wallace’s credentials. Chris Wallace was on the floor of the convention as a reporter. For him to compare Mrs. Heinz Kerry to the wife of Juan Peron is beyond all journalistic pale. His comments were not only offensive to women; they were offensive to Republicans and Democrats and all who respect American democracy as exercised in our national political conventions.
“I have appeared on Fox News many times, and I deeply respect the journalists who work there. But the network that calls itself 'fair and balanced' cannot allow a slur of this magnitude to go unaddressed. Millions of viewers were watching Fox Tuesday night.
"We call on Chris Wallace to offer an apology; and we call on Fox Chairman Roger Ailes to apologize for Mr. Wallace’s on air behavior, to admonish his reporter, and to participate in restoring a measure of respect to this process of American democracy that patriots of all stripes hold so dear.”
Prior to becoming editor of Ms., the nation’s oldest and largest feminist magazine, Ms. Lafferty was an award-winning correspondent for Time magazine.