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Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Things No One Seems To Have Mentioned About The Clinton Interview On Fox News


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Pundits were surprised this week when former President Clinton actually defended himself in a live television interview.

Some people have called it everything from a "smackdown of Fox" to "the ***whipping those liars over at **x have deserved ever since they started pretenting to be "Fair and Balanced" while in truth, being press agents for the Republican Party."

I'm not going to get into that. After all, this blog is about comedy, satire, and commentary. Not about politics. Whenever has anyone found politics to be funny?

But I have noticed a few things about the controversey.

1) Clinton talked in complete sentances. He even used long, complex thoughtful ones that required the knowledge of words with more than three syllables. Not like some Presidents, er, people.

2) Clinton answered quickly, without having to hesitate while thinking what to say next. He looked smart, intelligent, well-informed, and credible when talking about the issues. Not like...

3) Clinton was able to refer to events that happened in the past in detail. In fact, he could refer to information about the terrorist threat to America not only prior to 9/11 but prior to the election of President Bush. Not like some Presi..., er, people.

This confused me. From listening to President Bush, it seemed as if the "War on Terror" was his idea and that it began as a response to 9/11 and before that there were no terrorists. But apparently, Clinton knew about them, and could even talk about them.

4) After the interview, President Bush was able to refer to the attack by terrorists on the U.S.S. Cole. I was glad to hear that. I did not know that he had known about that because I had never heard him refer to it before. Perhaps he learned some things from reading the press summary of the Clinton interview. Perhaps he even watched it live on Fox.

5) President Clinton, like most Presidents have, admitted that he made mistakes about how he dealt with Osama Bin-Laden and the terrorist threat. Not like some Presi.., er people.

6) I think President Clinton was supposed to get drubbed and embarrased by Chris Wallace in the tradition of great Republican Fox Infotainment, but somehow it didn't work out that way.

7) It seems that when Fox released news footage of the interview to other networks, it did not show the same images that were in the original broadcast. They made some big deal about Clinton touching Wallace's ... clipboard. So what? Wallace & company decided how close the chairs were going to be, if he wanted an untouched clipboard he should have been sitting out of range.

8) Why was Wallace sitting so close? Some people might say that he hoped to intimidate Clinton by sitting really close to him! What a mistake! I can see that production meeting.

"OK, Chris, we need to have you intimidate the most charismatic former leader of the free world since FDR. A man who spent 8 years bending world leaders to his will. I know, we'll put your chairs really close together so you can try to stare him down. But don't make it obvious, we don't want to appear biased, O.K.?"

What a laugh.

9) It's obvious to me that Fox hoped to get Clinton into saying or doing something that they could use against Democrats in the mid-term elections in November. And maybe they did, we'll see what they do. What is not so obvious is the effect that this interview might have on the average hard core Fox viewer who might not be used to seeing Clinton, in the raw as it were, without benefit of carefully managed and interpreted sound bites.

Because for once, Fox viewers saw a Clinton that many of them might have hated, but at least they saw the real Clinton at his best and worst. And in that the humanity of Bill Clinton came out and touched at least some viewers who had to wonder if he was really the same guy as he was portrayed to be by the right wing.

This is a problem for Fox and the Right-Wing Conservative Publicity Machine, because if Bill Clinton is not the Dark Side of Evil that they portrayed him to be, but an intelligent, thinking person who has admitted mistakes but did his best, then what else have they been wrong about and what other truths have they bent?

10) Fox/Wallace got Clinton to agree to the interview by promising to spend at least half the time talking about The Clinton Global Initiative. Fox/Wallace made a huge mistake by opening with a question about Clinton's Presidential record* rather than by starting with a question about Initiative. In doing so, Wallace basically handed the interview on a platter and said "spank me, Bill, spank me" and Clinton delivered an Arkansaw double-switch spanking that none of us are likely to forget for some time.

(*...Why didn't you do more to put Bin-Laden and Al Queda out of Business?... Why didn't you do more, connect the dots, and put 'em out of business"? -Chris Wallace, Fox News Sunday)

Ready for bear, Clinton felt the opening question about his record with Bin-Laden broke faith with their agreement. And in a way, he was right, because in doing so Wallace was burying Clinton's lead, The Clinton Global Initiative. Had he waited until half the time was up to ask the question, Wallace would have probably had a more genial Clinton and not lost control of the interview.

As it was, Clinton now had an excuse to go over every weakness of the Bush administration's failure to prepare for 9/11 and respond afterwards, to plug Richard Clarke's book and the 9/11 report both of which are hugely critical of Bush, and to highlight the oratorical differences between himself and the current President.

Perhaps others noticed these things too.

But here's one thing more and this should really scare conservative Republicans:

11) With an "On the Record" attack on his record as President on the War on Terror, Clinton now has a brief to make public appearances and speak as the Democratic expert on that issue alone.

That's right, the door has been opened for Bill Clinton to return to the stage for the Democrats to talk about how badly the Bush Administration has bungled the War on Terror. Forget Monica, this is National Security we're talking about.

And that, is something to laugh about.

Here's the clip.

Some people say that Fox only wants the portions of the clips that show Clinton at his worst out. So if this clip is not available, do a You Tube search for Clinton Wallace to see if an 11 minute video shows up. Anything less and you may not be getting it all.


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