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Son of ‘America’s Wallace’ deemed good, but not as good as dad by Chinese debate viewers

By Caryn Schwartz (People's Daily Online)    17:22, October 21, 2016

Chris Wallace

While most Americans tuned into the final U.S. presidential debate on the night of Oct. 19 (U.S. time) to see whether Trump or Clinton would emerge victorious, many Chinese viewers were focused on something else entirely: the moderator.

Chris Wallace is a Fox News anchor and host of the weekly “Fox News Sunday” program. While Fox News as a whole is known for being politically conservative, Wallace is generally recognized as a fair and effective journalist. Indeed, many debate watchers praised Wallace for successfully steering the third debate toward discussions of substantive policy issues, which some felt the first two debates lacked.

Chinese citizens, too, complimented Wallace’s performance, but many of their comments included a comparison – or at least a reference to – Wallace’s father, Mike Wallace, also a respected journalist.

In 2000, Mike Wallace was granted an interview with China’s then-President Jiang Zemin. In the interview, President Jiang and the elder Wallace enjoyed a comfortable rapport, with Jiang even breaking into song at one point, and reciting part of the Gettysburg Address from memory.

In a 2015 interview with the Wall Street Journal, the producer of the segment, Bob Anderson, recalled, “[What] was really unusual was that [Jiang] gave us a ton of time. He gave us a whole afternoon and then we had dinner with him. And in the middle of that dinner, Jiang and Mike broke into a chorus of ‘O sole mio.’ It was just loose and friendly.”

The experience left a positive impression on Jiang, too. Later that year, during a conflict with a group of Hong Kong reporters, he volleyed a now-famous insult that “America’s Wallace is way above all of you.”

Given the status that the late elder Wallace continues to enjoy in China, it comes as no surprise that Chinese viewers of the debate watched Chris Wallace’s performance through the lens of his father’s reputation. One commenter stated that Wallace was pretty good, though that should come as no surprise given his father’s success during the famous interview. Another Internet user cheekily captioned a photo of Wallace “tonight’s real winner.”

Naturally, not everyone thought the younger Wallace measured up to this father. One user, referencing Jiang’s famous retort to the Hong Kong journalists, wrote, “Looks like ‘Little Wallace’ is way below his father!” 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Wu Chengliang, Bianji)

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