Stephen Colbert and Fox News host Chris Wallace went head to head in a heated discussion about Donald Trump stoking fear with his base over the caravan of thousands of migrants headed towards the U.S. border.
The Late Show host asked Wallace—who became the recipient of the Freedom of Speech Award from the Media Institute prior to the interview—why he wouldn’t want to challenge Donald Trump’s lies as a journalist.
Wallace admitted that Trump inciting fear with the caravan was not good, “but the idea that three, or five, or seven thousand people from another country can just walk up to our border, knock on the door, and say, ‘We want in! We want to take jobs here, we want to work here’—no!”
He then advocated for the necessity of a border to protect the country.
“A country does need to have borders, and there does need to be some kind of system that determines whether people are allowed in the country or not. Seriously, do you believe in open borders?”
But Colbert was quick to point out the fallacy in Wallace’s statement.
“No, we don’t have an open border!” the Late Show host exclaimed.
“There is a system, and three to five thousand people will not make it here. This has happened many times before, and they never do, and you know that.”
“And you know that there is a system in place, and there is a legal system, and we have laws that allow asylum. So I believe in the law. Do you believe in the law, Chris Wallace?”
“Uh, yeah, sure, I believe in the law,” Wallace replied, but he was not finished.
The discussion intensified with controlled tension when Wallace proceeded to list ‘facts’ about the protocol for attaining asylum.
“They are put out into the country, we don’t have enough places to put them, so we do have a catch-and-release program, and about 10 percent of the people that are caught and released return for their hearings. And only about 10 percent get legitimate asylum.”
Colbert wasn’t buying it and asked an off-camera staff member to fact-check his guest.
“I’m not sure that that’s true. Those aren’t the facts that I’ve seen. We’ve got a long interview. By the time this is over we’ll know whether you’re right, OK?”
Fearing he may be proven wrong, Wallace nervously retracted his statement and clarified by saying:
“Only 10 percent of the people who seek asylum are granted asylum.”
An incredulous Colbert countered:
“Well, that’s different than what you said.”
Wallace emphasized again that the majority of those seeking asylum do not show up.
“If a majority show up for their hearing, how wrong would you be?” Colbert challenged.
The shifty journalist replied, “I would be about 40 percent wrong.”
It turns out Wallace was way off.
Watch the full interview here.
People called out Wallace for his lies on social media.
Wallace, being off by a minimum of 4x, was off by 400%, not by 40%. And its disingenuous to claim immigrants are "taking jobs", when the undocumented overwhelmingly do backbreaking work that US employers cant get citizens to do for the wages they want to pay.
— Karl Liljedahl (@karl_liljedahl) November 2, 2018
Towards the end of the interview, a PolitiFact fact check revealed that 60 percent to 70 percent of non-detained immigrants attended the immigration-court proceedings.
Viewers could see right through the Fox reporter’s erroneous statement.
It is amazing to me – we live in an age of instant information look-up & verification, yet lying is increasing. The numbers from legit sources are easy to find, but people are lazy & willing to believe their personal bias.
— Eric Little (@OntoEric) November 2, 2018
Wallace knows he is lying, and #Trump has also lied, about so many things. But he keeps lying for #Trump and to those that watch Fox. How sad that people believe these untruths, instead of doing research to find out the truth. #Resistance
— jackie (@GeminijlwWilson) November 2, 2018
Chris Wallace showed his true colors: highly partisan instead of objective, and willing to spout "facts" that are not true. He pretends he is not Hannity, but he is simply more subtle. Uninformed and biased–shameful!!!!
— Wayne Chinander, PhD (@WayneChinander) November 2, 2018
Colbert was lauded for calling out his guest during the program.
That’s what needs to keep happening; calling them out on their lies. Some media & journalists don’t call out lies so these myths are perpetuated. Good for Colbert.
— Belynda (@Belyndabythesea) November 2, 2018
Thank you Stephen Colbert! Thank you
— Mel McGrath (@melmcgrath10) November 2, 2018
Honesty in the face of lies…that's how to do it
— Ouida Hampton-Taylor (@Oui_Twit) November 2, 2018
This needs to happen EVERY DAY! We’ve gotta stop “letting it slide” when they shoot us BS…call em out…highlight the truth with proof!
— Scandal Netwerk (@ScandalWines) November 2, 2018
Seeing and hearing Wallace get knocked down is beautiful!
— Pam Lamb (@PamLamb20) November 2, 2018
The clash in perspectives, however, never turned hostile.
Their discussion may have gotten heated, but both maintained their cool and that made for a very riveting debate unfolding before the audience.