Tuesday, January 29, 2013

'60 Minutes' softball interview with Obama, Clinton: What if it had been George W. Bush?

Hypocrisy in the mainstream media continues, and the "60 Minutes" interview Sunday with Democratic President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was a blatant confirmation of that.

"Soft ball" doesn't even begin to describe that interview conducted by Steve Kroft who basically said he was not going to "play gotcha" and at one point noted he would spare the two former presidential candidate opponents some of the harsh things they said about one another during the 2008 campaign. "Please do," said Clinton.

Brit Hume, the wise sage at Fox News, had a good commentary Monday night pointing out the hypocrisy. Twitchy called it a "drooling lovefest." Reporter and conservative commentator Ben Shapiro wondered out loud if it was "60 Minutes" or "60 Shades of Grey."

Greg Gutfeld of Fox's "The Five" also commented on the "60 Minutes" interview, noting:
“[The] media subsists on lies that they keep telling themselves. Some examples: Polar bears are dying. fracking poisons water, Hillary is a great secretary of state. About that one — I don’t know, did she do a great job with Iran three years ago when people died in the streets pleading for help? Do you think Benghazi was anomaly? What about Russia, Egypt, or Syria? Well, at least our relationship with Mars is stable and there has been no invasion from Middle Earth yet. So yeah, Hill is doing great, hence the love fest with Obama on ‘60 Minutes’ last night."
“Seriously, I thought I was watching the ‘Bachelor’ finale, waiting for Steve Kroft to whisper, ‘When did you first decide she was the one?’ ” Gutfeld said.

“ ‘60 Minutes’ has become the longest hour you can spend outside a dentist chair. You know where every story is going, and it’s always left. No surprise that Obama blames FNC again, this time for hindering compromise. The real truth — in absence of media scrutiny — is FNC is all America has between them and lock-step. Hence the whine about FNC. Obama is like a quarterback complaining about the one cheerleader who won’t put out. How presidential of him. What is next? Is he going to crank call O’Reilly’s house? Amazing that a man that sees himself in grand terms can be so small. He is a diva. No wonder he and BeyoncĂ© get along so well.”
Even political reporter Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic, not known for being a conservative bastion, questioned Kroft's softball questions in an indepth analysis of his questions to the President and Secretary of State, and concluded:
Judged journalistically, Kroft's interview was an embarrassing failure. It neither uncovered important new information nor added to the public understanding.
Conservatives began raising questions after hearing the fluff questions compared to media interviews with Republicans including President George W. Bush who was excoriated over and over by the left-leaning mainstream media.

The Atlantic noted the hypocrisy and compared Sunday's Obama interview with an earlier "60 Minutes" interview with President Bush:
I searched without success for a Kroft interview with George W. Bush as a point of comparison.

But I did find a 60 Minutes interview with George W. Bush. Here are the questions Scott Pelley asked him:
  • "The war on terror, in a sense, began in this room, began in this cabin where your Cabinet meeting was held. Back then the whole country was with you. And now you seem to have lost them. Why do you think so?"
  • "Most Americans at this point in time don't believe in this war in Iraq. They want you to get us out of there."
  • "But wasn't it your administration that created the instability in Iraq?"
  • "It's much more unstable now, Mr. President."
  • "You mention mistakes having been made in your speech. What mistakes are you talking about?"
  • "Fair to say there are not enough American troops on the ground to provide security for Iraq?"
  • "Do you think you owe the Iraqi people an apology for not doing a better job?"
  • "You are gambling a lot, Mr. President, on the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Why do you think that's a gamble worth making?"
  • "I was on the battlefield in Najaf when al-Sadr's people killed your United States Marines."
  • "Do you believe that the House has the constitutional authority to prevent you from the troop build-up? Can they stop you?"
  • "Do you believe as commander-in-chief you have the authority to put the troops in there no matter what the Congress wants to do?"
  • "You know better than I do that many Americans feel that your administration has not been straight with the country, has not been honest. To those people you say what? Like the weapons of mass destruction? No credible connection between 9/11 and Iraq."
  • "The Office of Management and Budget said this war would cost somewhere between $50 billion and $60 billion and now we're over 400."
  • "When was it that you first found out or it dawned on you that, indeed,there were no weapons of mass destruction? And I wonder, did you think, 'What have I done?'"
  • "What should the American people look for in this war plan? When will they know whether it's working or not?"
  • "What would you say right now in this interview to the Iranian president about the meddling in Iraq?"
  • "I wonder if you feel like you've been ill-served by your Cabinet members, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, perhaps even Vice-President Dick Cheney. Wrong on WMD. Wrong on the connection between 9/11 and Iraq. And now you're in a fix. And I wonder if you look back and wonder who let you down."
  • "The vice-president suggested there was a connection, not necessarily 9/11, but certainly to al-Qaeda."
  • "Final question. How can you escalate the war when so many people in this country seem to be against it?"
A stunning contrast, isn't it?
Stunning, indeed, and typical of the usual treatment by the press with that president as well as Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin, Dick Cheney (who basically chewed them up and spit them out but they didn't realize it at the time), and just about every other Republican out there. Friedersdorf continued:
I won't speculate about personal ideological bias. It's possible that Pelley is just a much better journalist than Kroft. I will say that there is a glaring double standard in the coverage that 60 Minutes has afforded the two presidents, and that the tough coverage of President Bush was entirely appropriate. In fairness to 60 Minutes, they are hardly alone in giving Obama a pass even on issues that would've gotten George W. Bush excoriated.
Due to [Kroft's] shameful willingness to conduct fluff interviews, journalists who'd ask Obama tougher questions never get the chance, and the public is less informed than it would otherwise be.
There was a day when the mainstream media were the only outlets available for news and information. When Fox News and conservative talk radio came along, they provided another perspective so viewers and listeners could make up their own minds. The "60 Minutes" interview and constant complaints from Obama about Fox are yet more reminders of why it is very important to have coverage from both sides of the aisle.

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