Remember when the television show 60 Minutes was the pit bull of the press? Me neither, but Peggy Noonan seems to:
I refer to Steve Kroft’s interview, on “60 Minutes,” with Barack Obama and departing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. That made a big impression too. It didn’t remind us of a style or approach for which we feel nostalgia, but one about which we are feeling increased apprehension, and that is the mainstream media fawn-a-thon toward the current president.
The Kroft interview was a truly scandalous example of the genre. It was so soft, so dazzled, so supportive, so embarrassing. And it was that way from the beginning, when Mr. Kroft breathlessly noted, “The White House granted us 30 minutes.” Granted. Like kings.
What followed was a steady, targeted barrage of softballs. “Why did you want to do this together, a joint interview?” Because, said the president, she’s been one of the best secretaries of state ever, and theirs has been one of the greatest collaborations in history. Also, “I’m gonna miss her.”
“How would you characterize your relationship right now?” asked Mr. Kroft, the intrepid reporter. Hillary answered, “Very warm, close, I think there’s a sense of understanding that doesn’t even take words . . . a bond.”
Mr. Kroft said he’d “spare you reading what was said” during the heated 2008 Democratic primary battles. And boy, did he spare them.
How did they overcome the tensions and hard words of that battle? “We’re professionals,” said Hillary.
“What do you think the biggest success has been, foreign-policy success, of the first term?”
The president could think of a number of them.
Really, access isn’t worth this. The get isn’t worth it. The entire interview reminded me of an old radio insult: When an interviewer didn’t try to push and probe, didn’t even try to get the story, the resulting interview was called “soft as a sneaker full of puppy excrement.” No, they didn’t say excrement.
As a dog owner, I protest that scurrilous assault on puppies. Their poo merely induces mild waves of nausea. This interview, at least the part I’ve been able to sit through, brings on projectile vomiting and explosive diarrhea.
I also disagree with her insinuation that 60 Minutes sold its soul for the “get”. There was no quid pro quo here, just quo—happily offered and graciously received. Kroft auditioned for the role of court flatter, not grand inquisitor.
I haven’t watched 60 Minutes since they panicked over poisoned dental fillings (since before, actually). Compared to that, how could the savage slaughter of four Americans on the watch of these two criminally negligent reprobates warrant a single question?
Still, I’ll offer one for the addled Kroft to crib:
Mr. President, Madame Secretary, what do you think were the last thoughts of Ambassador Chris Stevens as smoke filled the annex and the pack closed in, as he realized that his entreaties for security, then rescue, had fallen on deaf ears, that no one was coming for him, that he, a gay man, had been abandoned to the Islamist mob?
Who wants to go first?