Oct 2, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Chris Wallace to Fox News viewers: "Wear the damn mask"

Chris Wallace directs the first presidential debate. Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

Chris Wallace, the Fox News anchor who moderated Tuesday's presidential debate, urged the network's viewers on Friday to "wear the damn mask."

Why it matters: Fox News, particularly the network's opinions hosts, has been accused of spreading coronavirus misinformation, which one study suggested may have kept millions of Americans from taking the pandemic seriously.

  • Wallace's comments on Friday also came after Trump announced that he and the first lady had tested positive for the coronavirus. Wallace said he was seated about 10 to 12 feet away from the president during the debate in Cleveland, Ohio.

What he's saying: Appearing on several Fox News programmes, Wallace urged the audience to listen to qualified scientists and condemned turning the issue political.

  • “If I could say one thing to all of the people out there watching: Forget the politics. This is a public safety health issue," Wallace said. "The president of the United States is in the most secure bubble in the world in the sense that everybody who comes in contact with him has to take a test, and he still got it. Wear the damn mask and follow the science."
  • Wallace also pointed out the lack of qualifications of one of Mr. Trump’s top medical advisers, Scott Atlas, who has regularly appeared on the network. “I’m going to say something and, folks, I’m just trying to give you the truth,” Wallace said. “Dr. Scott Atlas is not an epidemiologist, is not an infectious disease specialist — he has no training in this area at all," he added.
  • “Listen to people like Anthony Fauci, listen to people like Deborah Birx, who have been largely cut off. Listen to the independent people who do not have a political ax to grind, and I frankly don’t think Scott Atlas is one of those people.”
  • Wallace also said members of Trump’s family removed their masks once they entered the debate hall on Tuesday. “A health person of the Cleveland Clinic came up to the first family when they were seated and offered them masks in case they didn’t have them, and they were waved away,” he added.

Worth noting: Wallace is waiting until Monday to take a coronavirus test, per the recommendation of his doctors, the NY Times reported.

Go deeper