Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Why Chris Wallace Was Right

It's too timely involving our discussion over the role of a journalist to ignore.

You've probably seen or heard about Fox News' Chris Wallace explosive interview with Former President Bill Clinton by now. But the debate continues about whether Wallace was fair or over-the-line? Some straight sparring? Or a conservative hit job?

To me, Wallace proves the point I've been trying to make over the past 3 days. He was aggressive, he was tough, he even chose to (dare I say!) interrupt a former President of the United States. What he got was a revealing, emotional, raw interview with the former commander-in-chief about some of the most important historical decisions of our time. It is Wallace's right, job and duty to ask those questions. I admire the interview and the job he did.

The only question I would have is whether Clinton was led to believe the interview was mostly to be about his global initiative, including climate change. While a journalist must always be honest about the topic of the interview and what's going to be covered, I do not believe a journalist doesn't have the right to ask other timely questions, especially when sitting down with a former President.

Below is just some of the exchange. (It has been edited down to just show some of the Q & A.) If you believe my questions to Alan Keyes and Rick Scarborough were out of line, I'm sure you will conclude Wallace's interview was also disrespectful, biased and over-the-top; "a TV personality out to get soundbites." I'm quite curious to see where people stand on this.

CHRIS WALLACE, HOST, "FOX NEWS SUNDAY": Do you think you did enough, sir?

WALLACE: You don`t` think that`s a legitimate question?
CLINTON: It was a perfectly legitimate question, but I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked this question of. I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked, Why didn`t you do anything about the Cole? I want to know how many people you asked, Why did you fire Dick Clarke? I want to know how many people you asked...

WALLACE: Have you ever watched "Fox News Sunday," sir?
CLINTON: I don`t believe you asked them that.
WALLACE: We ask plenty of questions...
CLINTON: You didn`t ask that, did you. Tell the truth!
WALLACE: About the USS Cole?
CLINTON: Tell the truth, Chris.
WALLACE: I -- I -- with -- with Iraq...
CLINTON: Did you ever ask that?
WALLACE: ... and Afghanistan, there`s plenty of stuff to ask, sir.
CLINTON: Did you ever ask that?


David Catanese said...

Marcus - Below is the link to my TV story on Keyes and Scarborough. To be clear, this is not the full interview. This is just what was aired. More of my interview can be viewed in a blog post if you scroll down.


KathyG said...

It seems to me from the transcript I read and from watching the interview that President Clinton thought the interview was solely about his global initiative. Wallace sandbagged him by asking about whether or not he did enough about OBL when he was in office. I distinctly remember the GOP screaming "wag the dog" "wag the dog". So it seems President Clinton was damned for doing too much then or damned for not doing enough then. They, being the GOP, need to make up their minds and quit trying to revise history.

The Libertarian Guy said...

Fear not, Clinton fans - if the Mrs. gets elected, the "Fairness" Doctrine will be pounded on the desks of every TV and radio station, and we'll have... government-controlled TV and radio.

The Libertarian Guy said...

Forgot to add... what WAS in those documents stolen by Sandy Berger?