I’m too much of a political junkie. I can almost quote in real time as the clips of President Clinton’s interview with Chris Wallace roll on endlessly on talk shows. I need a life.
But what strikes me about this is how many folks describe it as a sort of meltdown, or at best, a loss of temper. Maybe my family has too much Italian blood in it, because if you want to see someone blow a gasket… Well, let’s just say I hope I never see it on YouTube.
We are often critical of our politicians for being scripted, cautious and afraid to make a mistake. Indeed, there are some that think Clinton was scripted and feigned outrage to fire up the troops and deliver a roadmap for wimpy Dems. Maybe. But it comes off to me not only as a spirited defense, but a great example of questioning the motives, integrity and perhaps intelligence of a reporter. I don’t watch Chris Wallace that much to have an opinion as to whether he is a “right wing hit man,” though at least once I remember thinking his father must have cringed if he saw what clearly was to me a right wing bias in an interview I saw. But that was only one example. I’m willing to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. And the question was legitimate.
But Clinton was right to call out Fox News. There is honest debate about whether the MSM is liberal or a lackey for corporate America. But it is not debatable whether Fox news is right-wing, not just in its talk shows, which are typically stacked with conservative pundits, but in its delivery of the news.
But it goes beyond Fox News. I wish more politicians would take on their questioners. I think many pundits should too, but that would only ensure they were not invited back. Doesn’t help when you bite the hand that feeds you or insult your host in any venue. But politicians should more often say, “That’s really a dumb question” or “Your premise is not justified and reveals a bias that’s really not professional.” And then they should take a couple of seconds to debunk the premise or say why the question is dumb.
Clinton was not afraid (what has he got to lose?) to show a little flash of good old fashioned gumption. But it was hardly a meltdown or an out of control moment. It was a guy being himself and not being afraid of his own passion, although I guess you could say, in one sense anyway, that Clinton doesn’t have a reputation for that fear.