March 29, 2004

SOFTBALL AND EGGS: A reader emails:

I’m wondering how long it will take for the scathing reproachments that are all over the blogosphere to start showing up as egg on the faces of the interviewers of such programs as Meet The Press. I was absolutely disgusted with the ‘free’ pass Clarke was given on that program this morning. If they had an audience and I had been in it, it wouldn’t have taken long for the egg to show up. As I would have been throwing them right then.

I didn’t see the show, but here’s a report characterizing their Clarke interview as soft as a baby’s bottom.

UPDATE: Reader Dan Chattos observes that Sixty Minutes dropped the ball:

I suppose I am naive, but is there any indication that the folks at “60 Minutes” are the least bit embarrassed by their interview with Dick Clarke?

Leaving aside Clarke’s assessment of the Bush administration, his claims on behalf of the Clinton administration (that fighting al-Qa’eda was an urgent priority) were obviously false (or at best spin).

Clarke acknowledged that Yugoslavia(!) was a higher priority for Clinton and thinks that was ok, but finds Bush’s concern with Iraq proof that Bush was not serious in fighting terrorism despite the fact that Clarke, himself, had made statements linking Iraq and al-Qa’eda.

Bottom line, much of what Clarke said over the last 10 years or alleged more recently was secret, insider information. It took most bloggers less that 24 hours to begin raising issues about Clarke’s credibility, yet “60 minutes” with Clarke’s book in hand, were apparently unable to identify any of these issues on their own prior to the interview.

I seems that a little preparation on the part of “60 Minutes” would have allowed them to encapsulated the entire debate of the last week within the context of a single show. Now that would have been investigative journalism at its finest…

Good point. And maybe the Sixty Minutes conflict-of-interest problem where Clarke’s book was concerned did some real harm, both to their program and to the national debate.

ANOTHER UPDATE: More here on Clarke’s statements about Iraq.

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