Patterico's Pontifications

9/25/2006

Kurtz Falsely Implies that Chris Wallace Never Put the Same Questions to a Bush Official that He Put to Clinton

Filed under: General,Media Bias — Patterico @ 6:17 pm



Howard Kurtz implies that Clinton was right when he accused Chris Wallace of one-sided questioning:

“It set me off on such a tear because you didn’t formulate it in an honest way and you people ask me questions you don’t ask the other side,” Clinton said.

“Sir, that is not true,” Wallace replied.

Asked about Clinton’s complaint, a Fox spokeswoman pointed to Wallace’s interview two weeks ago with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Wallace pressed her about the lack of prewar ties between Osama bin Laden and Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, but he did not ask about U.S. efforts against bin Laden before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Kurtz’s clear implication is that Clinton was right — Wallace never put the tough questions to Bush’s aides about Bush’s pre-9/11 failures.

But, as I noted yesterday, Chris Wallace has put the same tough questions to Donald Rumsfeld that he put to President Clinton. Wallace asked Donald Rumsfeld on the March 28, 2004 episode of Fox News Sunday:

I understand this is 20/20 hindsight, it’s more than an individual manhunt. I mean — what you ended up doing in the end was going after al Qaeda where it lived. . . . pre-9/11 should you have been thinking more about that?

. . . .

What do you make of his [Richard Clarke’s] basic charge that pre-9/11 that this government, the Bush administration largely ignored the threat from al Qaeda?

. . . .

Mr. Secretary, it sure sounds like fighting terrorism was not a top priority.

This is remarkably similar to what Wallace asked Clinton in yesterday’s interview:

[H]indsight is 20 20 . . . but the question is why didn’t you do more, connect the dots and put them out of business?

I realize that Kurtz didn’t get this spoon-fed to him by the Fox spokeswoman. But he could have seen it on Instapundit, Power Line, Michelle Malkin, Kausfiles, Hot Air, or any number of other blogs.

I have written Kurtz about this.

How about it, Howie? Will you correct your false implication?

34 Responses to “Kurtz Falsely Implies that Chris Wallace Never Put the Same Questions to a Bush Official that He Put to Clinton”

  1. Brit Hume mentioned it during Grapevine tonight. His people seem to get a lot of stories from blogs, so there’s a reasonably good chance they followed the link from one of the sites you listed and read about it right here.

    Allah (2ec92c)

  2. Ah, the direct pipeline to Fox News that you mused about the other day . . .

    Patterico (de0616)

  3. Howard Kurtz knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s protecting Bill Clinton, and he’s been doing it for over a decade, and he’ll keep right on doing it till the penalty for duplicity reaches his level.

    Black Jack (507b6e)

  4. Shorter Patterico: Not only was Clinton clearly right on the technical merits, but he was also correct in spirit, as three questions in six years clearly constitutes a lack of interest in questioning Bush officials.

    Kimmitt (80218d)

  5. Shorter Kimmitt: interviewers should not ask questions when they are relevant, such as when a recent book has made accusations that have gained wider currency, such as Clarke’s book, or the book that Wallace questioned Clinton about. Rather, interviewers should constantly harp on Bush officials about one topic — why didn’t you get Osama — even though most Americans agree that both sides failed to take terrorism seriously enough before 9/11. Wallace’s habitual relentless questioning of Bush officials (such as his grilling of Negroponte just one week earlier) must be ignored, because Wallace has not repeatedly asked Bush officials the question that he asked Clinton once.

    I guess that isn’t really “Shorter Kimmitt” — just “Why Kimmitt once again makes a terrible argument . . . as usual.”

    Patterico (de0616)

  6. What else do you ever expect from the left-wing news media they are all liberal left-wing demacratic voters and supporters

    krazy kagu (9baf51)

  7. Wallace’s Fox News Sunday Clinton questioning didn’t have the nudge-nudge gimmies that blazed an escape path for Rumsfeld. Wallace ran up various red flags and pondered aloud whether Richard Clarke was a partisan liar and showboat. For SECDEF, it was basically multiple choice.

    As for Clinton, posing an abdication-of-responsibility thread with the oily device, “A lot of people are asking….” WAS deserving of scorn.

    And on Sunday, Wallace never billboarded the notion people accusing the Clintonians of being derelict were “agenda driven.”

    MR. WALLACE: I think a lot of people in Washington are trying to figure out, to understand, Richard Clarke; to make sense of what he has said and of apparent contradictions in his story. Is he telling the truth or is he pushing an agenda? What do you make of his basic charge that pre-9/11 that this government, the Bush administration largely ignored the threat from al Qaeda?

    The same transcript shows Wallace asking Rumsfeld decent, responsible questions. And mugged with non-answers.

    The interview’s grab-your-knees finale:

    MR. WALLACE: You’ve anticipated exactly where I wanted to go in this interview, which is to ask you — we are still in the middle of the war on terrorism. U.S. troops are still on the front line in harm’s way. Does this kind of an investigation, post-mortem, if you will, make sense when we’re still fighting the war?

    (“No, Chris, it doesn’t and I sure appreciate your reminding me.”)

    steve (c65a01)

  8. Wallace ran up various red flags and pondered aloud whether Richard Clarke was a partisan liar and showboat.

    You tried pulling this stunt on the other thread, steve, and I’m not going to let you get away with it.

    If Clarke is a partisan liar and showboat, then there’s not a thing wrong with Wallace bringing it up.

    So, steve, do you want to have that debate? Has Dick Clarke elaborated his stories to the detriment of Bush? If not, then you have no point. If so, then make the assertion and we’ll hash it out right here.

    You ran from that debate on the other thread, protesting that it wasn’t your lot to defend Clarke. If that’s how you feel, then Wallace has every right to bring up his contradictions.

    As for Wallace making points in Rumsfeld’s interview that he didn’t make in Clinton’s: unlike Clinton, Rumsfeld didn’t come out of the gate like a wild-eyed rabid dog, furiously filibustering and leveling unfair attacks while barely giving Wallace a chance to respond. Who knows what points Wallace might have made if Clinton had answered the question like an adult, rather than as an angry, self-absorbed, and psychotically self-pitying paranoiac.

    Patterico (de0616)

  9. The thread is about Kurtz talking about Wallace interviewing Clinton and whether those tactics had been used on Bushco, not Dick Clarke’s quote contradictions. But keep trying. And break out more manhood-impugning references.

    I happen to think Wallace was good w/Rumsfeld. It made your point. Wallace had every right to ask Clinton what he did but failed by comparison in not allowing that the charges he briefed *could* be agenda rants.

    1. Wallace had every right to ask that question.
    2. Clinton had every right to respond as he did.

    Great news value, great entertainment. It was an unblinking, machine-gun history lecture. Richard Clarke was demoted, and Bill Clinton tried.

    The defense of his record was lost in the tantrum.

    steve (c65a01)

  10. Give it up P. Steve has been all over the internet with his left wing (actually communist) rants. Truth is not a word he understands.

    It amazes me that they can tell so many lies, get so many American soldiers killed and think they can make all of it go away if the American people will put them back in power. The National Security Data stolen by the democrats and printed by the NYT is out there forever and they continue to commit traitorous acts every day. I’m still telling every young person I know to make sure their discharge date is in the first quarter of 2009 if they join up. The democrats will get them in a firefight and then abandon them to be killed and dragged through the streets. Or maybe held captive by some moron for 444 days because the democratic president is a coward and an idiot. It will be nothing new for the cut and run democrats. History is doomed to repeat itself.

    Scrapiron (9f37aa)

  11. The thread is about Kurtz talking about Wallace interviewing Clinton and whether those tactics had been used on Bushco, not Dick Clarke’s quote contradictions. But keep trying. And break out more manhood-impugning references.

    Wrong-o. The *post* is about Kurtz, Wallace, and Clinton. The *thread* — or, more specifically, the portion of the thread relating to your comments — relates to Dick Clarke’s “quote contradictions.” Let me ever so patiently explain why . . . yet again.

    steve, my fine feathered friend, *you* are the one who has (twice now) has mocked Wallace for referencing Clarke’s “quote contradictions.” For example, in a previous comment on another thread, you said:

    Patterico skips the “Is he [Clarke] telling the truth or is he pushing an agenda?” set-up, which endowed Rumsfeld barn door leeway.

    This *was* one tough “grilling.”

    And on this thread above, you say:

    Wallace’s Fox News Sunday Clinton questioning didn’t have the nudge-nudge gimmies that blazed an escape path for Rumsfeld. Wallace ran up various red flags and pondered aloud whether Richard Clarke was a partisan liar and showboat.

    Which he is. And (to reference your previous comment) Clarke is indeed pushing an agenda, as opposed to telling the truth.

    If Clarke is indeed a partisan liar and showboat — and if he is indeed pushing an agenda — then your little slurs against Wallace for raising the issue are pointless.

    I could swear I already explained this.

    Your little hit and run is transparent. “Ooooh, Wallace is biased because he questioned Clarke’s honesty” — and then when someone says “But Clarke is dishonest” you say “Why, when did I ever claim that he was honest?”

    If you think we can’t see through this then you’re stupider than you seem. And you seem (on some levels) pretty bright and knowledgeable, steve. So I know that you know we can indeed see through it.

    So what’s with the pretense that we can’t???

    Patterico (de0616)

  12. “I left a plan and the best guy in the country, Richard Clark, who got demoted.” – Bill Clinton

    Bill, your plan and the best guy in the country weren’t getting the job done. It was time for a new plan and a new guy.

    I also remember that Al Gore’s fight to the supreme court left the Bush administration with an extremely short transition period. President Bush was having trouble getting his team approved by the 50-50 Senate, and the Clinton White House staff complicated these problems further by trashing the White House on their way out.

    Mike S (d3f5fd)

  13. Scenario 1: Interviewer says, “Sir, a man of questionable character has criticized you for your actions prior to 9/11. What is your response to that man?”

    Scenario 2: Same interviewer says, “Sir, why didn’t you do more to protect our country when you had the chance?”

    You righties would try to have us believe this is the same question, with the same framing, that both interviewees are being “grilled.” Nonsense. Take your partisan glasses off. They are blinding you.

    chris (d28232)

  14. Kurtz has been pretty responsible, Pat, as you’ve noted in the past. Since you mentioned that you wrote to him about this, I hope you gave him a reasonable opportunity to print a correction or clarification before you posted. He’s earned a presumption of good faith. Not suggesting that you didn’t do the right thing or that your post was unfair, but Howie’s one of the good guys, and he’s usually fair, even when he disagrees. He deserves as much benefit of the doubt as Dean Baquet, for example.

    TNugent (58efde)

  15. […] The blogs did an incredible job of fact-checking Clinton – they were quick and accurate – they found files of articles from the NY Times and the WaPo utterly dismantling Clinton’s assertions. They floated the video from NBC News (not a known right-wing establishment) suggesting we had OBL more than “in our sites.” But it will be to little effect, I fear. In subsequent news reports, the “mediating intelligences” have not picked up a bit of the analysis, have not used any of the facts easily available on hundreds of blogs. […]

    The Anchoress » Clinton vs Condi; the limits of alt. media (1b383c)

  16. They floated the video from NBC News (not a known right-wing establishment) suggesting we had OBL more than “in our sites.”

    Link please?

    Chris (8074f4)

  17. Look, the difference between Clinton and this Administration is straightforward:

    CW: Do you think you did enough, sir?

    WJC: No, because I didn’t get him.

    Can you conceive of anyone in this Administration not just admitting to a failure but practically leaping out to discuss it? Can you honestly tell me that someone who goes on national television and issues a mea culpa like that did or does not take the threat seriously?

    I suppose I should just get a copy/paste ready for the inevitable and relentless followups on this post:

    Shorter Patterico: I really hate Bill Clinton.

    Because there’s no other content, no other information, no other analysis.

    Kimmitt (80218d)

  18. Your little hit and run is transparent. “Ooooh, Wallace is biased because he questioned Clarke’s honesty” — and then when someone says “But Clarke is dishonest” you say “Why, when did I ever claim that he was honest?” – Patterico

    Clarke *could* be a partisan liar and showboat. And so might ABC producers and the commenters Wallace left blameless and nameless.

    The only “dishonesty” was Wallace singling out Clarke detractors/discrepancies to deflect the Rumsfeld black eye without entertaining any suspicions about Clinton’s accusers.

    steve (db6ba8)

  19. three questions in six years clearly constitutes a lack of interest in questioning Bush officials.

    What are some examples of any major media questioning Clinton or any other former members of his administration about their inaction?

    Gerald A (add20f)

  20. Can you conceive of anyone in this Administration not just admitting to a failure but practically leaping out to discuss it?

    He leapt out to complain about Fox News not asking the question of the Bush admin. which as this thread points out, is wrong. And said he did more (in his 8 years) than Bush did in (in his first 8 months). Which is debatable. Even if we say Bush did nothing. Other than that how was he “leaping out to discuss it”?

    Gerald A (add20f)

  21. Clinton is a snake oil salesman from the gitgo. always has been always will be. I can’t imagine what personal excuses you lefties have swimming around in your skulls that justifies the stupidity of defending that asshole.

    Then theres the Hilldebeast. she comes out of the gate swinging and instantly lies, shoving both her feet in her slash and burn mouth at once with: ….”I would say that if my husband had information that bin Laden was planning attacks in America he would have done a lot more than the Bush administration has…”

    – Sounds good. for about 5 seconds. then we recall that NDA/CIA daily briefs had been saying exactly that since 1997!

    – But WTF. In the world of the desperate, out of power Left, up is down, night is day, and lies are truth.

    – A case in point would be the NIE report they cherry picked to slip to their buds at the NYT Pravda. Nice timing. Bubba makes a complete ass of himself, and suddenly yet another fucker Lefty mole in the Gov. leaks some more carefully crafted/misrepresented operational secrets, purely for political reasons. This from the party that wasted three years on a totally fabricated witch hunt, screaming that the Bush people had done that with PlameOnaStick. You people are so fucked you can’t remember which lie you told 5 minutes ago.

    You guys are headed for real trouble if the shit doesn’t stop. If you think that kind of crap wins any hearts and minds, it’s just one more of 10,000 reasons to kick the entire Dem party the hell out of Washington.

    Big Bang Hunter (9562fb)

  22. Scenario 1: Interviewer says, “Sir, a man of questionable character has criticized you for your actions prior to 9/11. What is your response to that man?”

    Scenario 2: Same interviewer says, “Sir, why didn’t you do more to protect our country when you had the chance?”

    You righties would try to have us believe this is the same question, with the same framing, that both interviewees are being “grilled.” Nonsense. Take your partisan glasses off. They are blinding you.

    Scenario 1: interviewer says, “Mr. Secretary, it sure sounds like fighting terrorism was not a top priority.”

    Scenario 2: interviewer merely asks, “[H]indsight is 20 20 . . . but the question is why didn’t you do more, connect the dots and put them out of business?”

    Scenario 2 is much nicer, huh?

    Patterico (de0616)

  23. The only “dishonesty” was Wallace singling out Clarke detractors/discrepancies to deflect the Rumsfeld black eye without entertaining any suspicions about Clinton’s accusers.

    Which is no dishonesty at all. The question to Rumsfeld was prompted by Clarke’s book. The question to Clinton was prompted by a book called “The Looming Tower”:

    There’s a new book out which I suspect you’ve read called the Looming Tower. And it talks about how the fact that when you pulled troops out of Somalia in 1993, Bin Laden said I have seen the frailty and the weakness and the cowardice of US troops. Then there was the bombing of the embassies in Africa and the attack on the USS Cole. may I just finish the question sir. And after the attack, the book says, Bin Laden separated his leaders because he expected an attack and there was no response. I understand that hindsight is 20 20. . . . but the question is why didn’t you do more, connect the dots and put them out of business?

    Dick Clarke had serious credibility issues. steve now suggests that the author of “The Looming Tower” has similar credibility issues. I’d like to know what those are, steve. Somehow, I don’t think I’m going to hear about them.

    Patterico (de0616)

  24. You skipped the first part, unsurprisingly:

    CHRIS WALLACE: When we announced that you were going to be on FOX News Sunday, I got a lot of email 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 Qaeda out of business when you were President?

    Wallace raised no motive or credibility issues respecting either his emailers or the author..much less suggest they might be “pushing an agenda.”

    Was ‘Tautology 101′ taught at Austin? Seems like we’re circling back, here.

    steve (db6ba8)

  25. OK, steve, yes we are. What is your evidence that Chris Wallace’s e-mailers made dishonest and contradictory statements that were relevant in some way to their accusations re Clinton?

    What’s that? You got nothing?

    Now, what’s my evidence that Clarke made dishonest and contradictory statements that were relevant to his accusations about Bush?

    Please don’t make me go through the mountain of evidence again.

    Your complaint is utterly and completely baseless, steve, because Wallace was RIGHT to raise the evidence of contradictions by Clarke, which were relevant — and also RIGHT not to raise the nonexistence of evidence of contradictions by e-mailers or the author of “The Looming Tower.”

    Was “Making a Baseless Argument Again and Again” taught wherever you went to school?

    Patterico (de0616)

  26. I’ll make it simple: There should be no impulse to run interference for a guest by implying the question itself may be freighted with partisan agenda.

    If that’s the template, Wallace might well have have thrown “Path to 9/11″ in his indictment and done what he did for Rumsfeld: allow that some critics may have played around with reality and are being publicly challenged.

    steve (db6ba8)

  27. There should be no impulse to run interference for a guest by implying the question itself may be freighted with partisan agenda.

    Even if the question itself may be freighted with partisan agenda?

    Patterico (de0616)

  28. What is softball about this?

    Mr. Secretary, it sure sounds like fighting terrorism was not a top priority.

    That’s tougher than anything he asked Clinton. It’s a declarative statement.

    Patterico (de0616)

  29. The first Bush went after Dan to excite the base.

    Seems like the Dems have taken a play from the Republican book.

    steve (db6ba8)

  30. Right. Because Chris Wallace “went after” Bill Clinton, and not the other way around.

    You still seem to be taking the position that relevant truths should not be discussed in an interview. I find that bizarre.

    Patterico (de0616)

  31. Clinton went after Wallace and probably intended to.

    “Relevant truths” with downfield blocking are relative truths.

    steve (db6ba8)

  32. Shorter Gerald A: See shorter Patterico.

    Kimmitt (80218d)

  33. […] Howard Kurtz follows up on that Clinton interview, which Kurtz recently implied was tougher than interviews Wallace has done with Bush officials. But Howie doesn’t note Chris Wallace’s previous tough questioning of Donald Rumsfeld, despite the fact that I had e-mailed Kurtz about it, and news of the Rumsfeld interview was all over the blogs and mentioned on Brit Hume’s show. […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » Kurtz Officially Drops Ball on Clinton Interview (421107)

  34. January 21 1998 Clinton has lost the keys and
    codes to the Nuclear Football,they were never
    found…

    Black Elk (c16eb8)


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