Despite an early vow to boycott Fox News Channel at the behest of liberal bloggers, Hillary Clinton recently appeared on the O’Reilly Factor and Barack Obama on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. And guess what? The world didn’t explode! Although the heads of a few liberal bloggers did, which can be seen both as an improvement of the general blogosphere, as well as a beneficial effect of global warming.
Truth is, Fox News Channel isn’t nearly as biased as the major news networks and liberal media elites are every day. Yes, Fox News Channel employs Bill O’Reilly and Sean Hannity, but it also employs Juan Williams, Greta Van Susteren and Allan Colmes. Yes, FNC talks to Republicans … and they’re more than willing to talk to Democrats, when the Dems aren’t thowing a hissy-fit about not being the only ones to have their opinions aired.
After their long luxury vacations from reality, both Dem contenders for the White House have realized that Fox News Channel isn’t exactly the devil incarnate. After all, it was so-called liberal allies like Tim Russert who dared to ask Hillary some hard questions and expect direct answers, a rare show of sanity on Russert’s part.
OK, that’s not completely fair; I will say that outside of Fox News, Russert has, for many years, drawn my admiration for asking tough questions of everyone who appears on Meet the Press, not just of Republicans.
That’s really all “fair and balanced” means or should mean; that the interviewer or reporter in question isn’t just going to lob softballs like “What kind of tree would you like to be?” at the politicians they like, while attacking, interrupting and talking over the ones they don’t like.
What “fair and balanced” means is, you ask the questions that need to be asked, regardless of who the guest is; whether you like or dislike them, you ask everybody the tough questions that gets to the real issues at hand.
Too often, network news has been cow-towed by top Democrats who threaten to take away “access” if the “wrong questions” are asked of them, and networks have bent over and thought of Texas the whole time. Asking tough questions is also not the same as “making crap up,” a lesson Dan Rather should have learned long before the Bush service record hoax.
What asking tough questions of everyone means is, you ask Barack about Rev. Wright; you ask Hillary about Whitewater; and you ask McCain about McCain-Feingold’s Constitutionality. You ask everyone the questions they’d rather avoid.
That’s what Bill O’Reilly does, essentially, in his “No Spin Zone” interviews; he asks questions and expects answers that address the question asked, not a bunch of spin that dances around the real issue. O’Reilly’s that way, it should be noted, with GOP as well as Democratic guests. Since when is saying, “Please give me the answer without the B.S.” evidence of a conservative bias? Quite simply, it’s not. Those are the kind of answers we want to hear from every candidate.
Barack’s interview with Wallace was no big whoop, because Wallace is a more genial interviewer. By showing she is unafraid to be interviewed by Bill O’Reilly, she faced a tougher interview and won more respect in so doing. In the battle of going back on their “no Fox News appearances,” it is Hillary who likely won the most respect in the process.