Sunday, September 24, 2006

The Clinton Interview on Fox

The Bush administration took a political hit during the investigation into the events of 9-11, when we discovered it had cut terrorism funding, ignored its terrorism expert, Richard Clarke, and failed to understand the warnings coming from intelligence experts in the summer of 2001. Its only response was to stonewall the 9-11 Commission and blame former President Bill Clinton for its own failures.

Fox is proud of Chris Wallace's interview of the former president, aired this morning on Fox News Sunday. He had agreed to spend the first 7 minutes of the interview talking about the Clinton Global Initiative, but had not asked even one question about it before sucker-punching Clinton with the following question, 4 minutes into the interview:

WALLACE: When we announced that you were going to be on Fox News Sunday, I got a lot of e-mail from viewers. And I’ve got to say, I was surprised. Most of them wanted me to ask you this question: Why didn’t you do more to put bin Laden and Al Qaida out of business when you were president?

And there we went, reliving the blame game begun by the Bush administration and relentlessly carried forward by its minions at Fox. Clinton was, quite rightly, annoyed. Wallace's question, his pretence at shielding himself by referring to e-mail that "surprised" him and his disregard for the ground rules of the interview were all highly unprofessional. He won't be winning any journalism awards for this one.

Clinton defended himself ably, alluding not just to Fox's right-wing hit tactics, but to the ABC dramatization which ignored the 9-11 Commission report. Bob Kerrey, a member of the 9-11 Commission, characterized Clinton's remarks as a "very spirited and accurate defense."

Still, it's early and the spin continues at Fox, which is looking for the clips that put Clinton in the worst light. The right-wing propaganda machine will not let this one go, because "Clinton" is one of its key words, intended to provoke a pre-determined response among 30% of the populace, like "ACLU" and "New York Times." It is a word intended to make Republican sheep salivate. (At this moment a Fox anchor who can only be described as a blond bimbo is rolling her eyes about Clinton's comment that no one knew Al Qaeda existed in 1993, although every one of her guests has corrected her and told her Clinton is correct.)

Video and transcript are available at Think Progress.

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