Chris Wallace conducted one of the better interviews in recent years on national television. His interview of Illinois Senator Barack Obama on FOX News Sunday, April 27 was polite, respectful, substantive and penetrating. Unlike the ABC tandem of George Stephanopoulus and Charles Gibson’s shameful race-baiting during their Philadelphia “debate,” Mr Wallace demonstrated a capacity to rise above the usual partisanship on his own network as well and frankly display significant journalistic talents. I hope Ruppert Murdoch can tolerate such objectivity and lack of bias on this component of News Corp.
Senator Obama (l); Chris Wallace (r) Courtesy of FOX News
FOX news had made a big issue of the senator’s reluctance to appear on FOX and used a Jack Bauer “24” second clock–no N.B.A. pun intended–to update the period since the Democratic senator was initially offered an invitation for an interview. Perhaps, Chris Wallace ironically felt it was preferable to display journalistic independence and skill than to affirm, through an ersatz, vicious attack ad for the Republican party, Senator Obama’s hesitancy to appear on the conservative Murdoch-run network. I remember when President Bill Clinton was interviewed by Mr Wallace, that the former was so furious, so enraged and so vituperative that Mr Wallace was barely able to ask his questions. Perhaps the journalist wanted to avoid a repetition of such a failed endeavor–although Senator Obama is not prone to histrionics– and frankly to merely ask questions that could elevate the rather banal state of political discourse in the country.
This is a link to the written transcript–thanks to FOX news–of the interview. I noticed it lasted forty-five minutes which is quite a bit longer than their usual format. Perhaps that also contributed to the in depth reportage of this significant exchange.