The first impression of President Joe Biden’s inauguration speech that Fox News viewers received on Wednesday was from anchor Chris Wallace, who uniformly praised it as “the best inaugural address” he has ever heard.
Following Biden’s powerful address in which he declared “democracy has prevailed” and called upon Americans to “end this uncivil war,” the 73-year-old Wallace turned to his Fox colleagues and likened it to all the other presidential speeches he’s witnessed over the years, including that of President John F. Kennedy in 1961.
“I thought this was the best inaugural address I have ever heard,” he flatly stated. “A lot of this event today, a lot of the president’s speech, was colored by the emotion of the fact that exactly two weeks ago, 14 days ago, there was a mob, a buzz of insurrectionists, of domestic terrorists on the inaugural stand.”
Invoking Biden’s remarks about democracy prevailing, the Fox News Sunday moderator said the new president delivered a message of unity, assuring Americans that they “were able to get through” the insurrectionist riot that former President Donald Trump—unmentioned in Biden’s speech—incited.
“I think it was less an inaugural address and more part sermon, part pep talk,” Wallace observed. “Talking directly to the American people, saying, hear me out. We have a right to dissent peacefully, but our disagreement must not lead to disunion.”
Wallace further described the speech as a “call to our better angels,” and nodded at Biden’s broadside against disinformation, especially in light of how conservatives and right-wing media stirred up the MAGA mob with election conspiracy theories.
“He said that ‘There is truth and there are lies, lies that are told for power and lies that are told for profit,’” the veteran anchor noted. “And I think it was a call to all of us, whether it’s us on the air, on cable or broadcast, whether it’s us on social media, on our Twitter accounts, understanding that we have to deal from fact, from the truth, to hear each other out, a right to disagree, but not a right to violence.”
Fox News, along with other pro-Trump outlets such as Newsmax, has been at the forefront of boosting and disseminating the now-former president’s unhinged conspiracy theories about a “stolen” election, eventually resulting in the network airing a debunking of its own lies under the specter of legal action.
“Now he’s got to turn word, rhetoric, into reality and action,” Wallace concluded. “But I thought it was a great start.”