Monday, September 25, 2006

"I'm Being Asked This on the Fox Network"

In 1988, presidential candidate George H.W. Bush was being dogged by questions concerning his role in the Iran Contra Affair. In the midst of that controversy, Bush did a live interview with CBS News anchor Dan Rather that was supposed to be about a pre-arranged subject. When Rather went off the script and asked about Iran Contra, Bush pounced and asked Rather how he would like his entire career to be remembered for previously letting the network go black when he walked off the set. A stunned Rather fumbled the moment badly.

Later reports indicated that Bush had prepared the ambush in advance. The goal was not to attack Rather, though that was thought to be a nice side benefit. The real goal was to change the subject, to get the public's mind off of Iran Contra and on to the Bush-whacking of CBS's vaunted anchor.

It worked.

This weekend, former President Bill Clinton pulled out a page from the same playbook. Clinton, lately pummelled with questions about his administration's effectiveness in the war on terrorism, decided to change the subject. Those on the political left would find an attack on the network they love to hate irresistible, and the subject would be changed.

It is hard to blame him for that. Clinton did not effectively counter an increasingly aggressive terrorism challenge during his administration. In his defense, it is at least arguable, perhaps probable, that a Republican administration would have done no more.

Changing the subject: I thought the execution a bit ham handed, but that, at the end of the day, is really what this was all about.

1 Comments:

Anonymous john h said...

Clinton's shortcomings re terrorism and the hunt for Bin Laden will be bandied about and debated for fox-years to come..but his administration did not give the Taliban 43 million bucks to theoretically eliminate the opium farms in Afghanistan. Not only did the Taliban not eradicate the opium, they continue to use the opium to finance their dirty deeds. Gee..wonder what that 43 million went for..considering that the gift was handed to the Taliban in 2001. If Fox wants to do an expose', they should start right THERE!

10:56 PM  

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