Chris Wallace, Cheney Groupie?

Andrew Sullivan’s take on Chris Wallace’s interview with former Vice President Dick Cheney yesterday on Fox News Sunday:

Now look: there are softball interviews; and then there are interviews like this. It cannot be described as journalism in any fashion. Even as propaganda, which is its point, it doesn’t work - because it’s far too cloying and supportive of Cheney to be convincing to anyone outside the true-believers. When it comes to Cheney, one of the most incompetent vice-presidents in the country’s history, with a record of two grotesquely botched wars, war crimes and a crippling debt, Chris Wallace sounds like a teenage girl interviewing the Jonas Brothers…

When future historians ask how the United States came not only to practice torture but to celebrate it and treat torturers as heroes, a special place in hell among the journalists who embraced and justified it should be reserved for Chris Wallace.

While Time’s Michael Scherer (a onetime CJR staffer) concludes:

Chris Wallace was able to get an important, and clarifying, admission from Vice President Dick Cheney in an interview that was broadcast today. Wallace mentions a list of techniques that CIA agents are accused of using in violation of the legal guidance that the Bush Administration established. These include threatening a naked detainee with a power drill and a gun, and staging mock executions. Then Wallace asks Cheney this question:

WALLACE: So even these cases where they went beyond the specific legal authorization, you’re OK with it.


Having read the transcript, I’d call the interview rather friendly (which Jonas brother would Cheney be?), more so than Wallace’s farewell interview with Cheney, but not without, as Scherer notes, valuable moments, (whether or not Wallace had much to do with making those moments; I’ll update if I have more thoughts on that after watching the video.)

And, a media-centric moment: Cheney called it a “mistake” for President Clinton to have gone to North Korea to negotiate the release of Current TV reporters Laura Ling and Euna Lee, saying that “it is a big reward for bad behavior on the part of the North Korean leadership,” as “they are testing nuclear weapons.”

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Liz Cox Barrett is a writer at CJR.