The phenomenon has been discussed right into the ground, here and elsewhere, and analyzed almost to death (“Obama is not just the white liberals’ perfect dream of a black president, he’s the white liberals’ perfect dream of a black liberal president”). So I’ll skip further analysis here and just note the continuing dangerous phenomenon of the starry-eyed liberal MSM when faced with the glory of the man. And then I’ll point out a few things that seem a tiny bit new.
What’s new is not the fawning, sycophantic, soft-ball questions of supposedly tough “60 Minutes” reporter Steve Kroft when facing both Obama and heiress-apparent Hillary Clinton—who gets a pass on her mediocre-at-best record, and her alarming performance at the Benghazi hearings, because she’s another liberal darling, and a liberal woman to boot.
What may be new is that it seems to be too much even for a liberal outfit such as the Atlantic, which actually published a fairly scathing indictment of the interview, written by its somewhat conservative writer Conor Friedersdorf. Friedersdorf’s focus is on how the interview diminishes journalism, although it’s hard to see how it could be more diminished than it already has been in the last decade or so, and especially in the last five years.
The 60 Minutes brand is associated with probing interviews, and Kroft is adept at using his tone and manner to create the impression of tough questions without actually asking any. For Sunday’s interview, Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who sat beside him, benefited from 60 Minutes gravitas while answering questions better suited to Ellen. It hardly matters whether Kroft is deliberately pulling his punches to secure ongoing access or is simply disinclined to fulfill the core journalistic duty of holding powerful people accountable for their actions; his Obama interviews ought to diminish his standing and the reputation of his employer.
Friedersdorf goes on to analyze some of the questions Kroft asked (the entire piece is well worth reading), and to contrast them with questions from a previous “60 Minutes” interview (by another journalist on the show, because Kroft hadn’t done one) with George W. Bush. Pretty different, as you might imagine.
But Friedersdorf’s attack is almost completely focused on the consequences of this failure for journalism, rather than for America. And it’s the latter that matters; I couldn’t care less about the former except as it affects the latter. And when “60 Minutes” becomes Pravda, we’re in a heap of trouble.
But of course, you already knew that.
My guess is that the Atlantic allowed this to be published because it carefully skirts clear of the deepest issues involved, and focuses on the black eye this gives to journalism. In a way, if you think about it, it’s a method of telling journalists, “Don’t be so blatant about your biases that even ordinary people can see what you’re up to.” Not that this is what Friedersdoft is trying to get at; but still, he should have pushed the larger point and connected a few more dots.
I continue to be mightily impressed by Kirsten Powers of Fox, however. I’ve written about her hard-hitting pieces before—and she has really come alive after the Benghazi incident, which seems to have outraged her regarding the performance of the administration and the news media’s collaboration. Watch her here; although she’s a liberal, she is much harder on “60 Minutes” than even Friedersdorf was, and that’s pretty hard indeed. He compared “60 Minutes” to “Ellen,” but she compares it to the “state-run media.” Bingo:
Of course, now that she’s on Fox, she can be safely ignored by liberals.