26 September, 2006


Two questions on fairness in the media have become the focus of much discussion in the last two days. They both relate to Bill Clinton’s explosive interview on 24 Sept. 2006 on “Fox News Sunday With Chris Wallace“:

1- Fair Question or “Kill Bill” Job?

Did Wallace ask a fair question “in good faith” or was he out to get Bill Clinton? Should fairness in this interview be also viewed in terms of th host's record and the political agenda of his employer?

Excerpt from the interview:

“WALLACE: I understand that hindsight is always 20/20. ...
CLINTON: No, let's talk about it.
WALLACE: ... but the question is, why didn't you do more, connect the dots and put them [Al Qaeda] out of business?
CLINTON: But at least I tried. That's the difference in me and some, including all the right-wingers who are attacking me now...
So I tried and failed...
So you did Fox's bidding on this show. You did your nice little conservative hit job on me. What I want to know is ...
WALLACE: Well, wait a minute, sir.
CLINTON: No, wait. No, no ...
WALLACE: I want to ask a question. You don't think that's a legitimate question?
CLINTON: It was a perfectly legitimate question, but I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked this question of.
I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked, "Why didn't you do anything about the Cole?"
I want to know how many you asked, "Why did you fire Dick Clarke?"
I want to know how many people you asked …”

Watch video here

Text of interview here

2- Fair Use or Copy Right Abuse?

Searching for a video of the interview I noticed most sites linked to Fox News and very few copies posted independently. Fox’s copy is OK if you can put up with the advertisements. But I was a bit surprised at the lack of other copies given the storm created by the high profile interview (the highest viewership rating since capture of Saddam Hussein). Then I read this on Webloggin.com and the mystery was solved:

“If you haven’t been made aware yet you may notice that all copies of the Fox News Sunday Bill Clinton - Chris Wallace interview on YouTube have been removed …This was done via a DCMA complaint that was filed by Fox News Network, L.L.C. against the YouTube web site…”

Full story here.

Is Fox News justified in its action or is it infringing on the idea of fair use of material relating to political speech and public debate?

As for the first question, I think Bill must have watched George Gallaway's interview on SkyNews during the recent Lebanon war and learned a thing or two from it!

And concerning the second question, we should feel lucky because it is more hypothetical for us here, thanks to Big Brother ETSalad who has blocked YouTube and such similar cyber forums!

Still, worth thinking about it though.


Lirun said...

irrespective of the media's agenda.. and as information gatekeepers every journalist is fundamentally at least subliminally bound by an agenda (even if it be no more than to objectively portray current events)- i was thoroughly underwhelmed by clinton's conduct..

dude.. you are a statesman.. an x president of the almighty us of a.. you have faced challenges that few will ever dream about.. and some pipsqueek journo who introduced a momentary lul into the ongoing cliton-fest is able to ruffle your feathers to the extent that you compromise your diginity and offer him the honour of your retaliation?!?! whats the go buddy?!?!

i dont know about you guys.. but i think he could have used many different techniques to provide the same answers without shrinking himself down to levels of schoolyard blaming and classroom tit for tat..

it was interesting watching the very mortal side of the image of a giant..

i thank the rude member of the media who brought this about..

Mme Cyn said...

I did not see the interview, as EggySalad is so slow it couldn't get it to run on my PC.

However, I did read the transcript. You go, Bill. I don't see that he compromised his dignity (by anything he said, at least), and I didn't read any schoolyard antics. I think he was quite restrained about GWB and that mess, personally. Sometimes you just need to tell it like it is, and I for one don't blame WJC for being fed up with the snow job FOX does on the American people. FOX expected he would just sit there and take it. Good on ya, Bill, for having your say.

Tim Newman said...

Bill Clinton learned something from George Galloway?!!

Good grief!

bandicoot said...

My last two comments in the post were made more with a sarcastic view than anything else. Galloway's interview and the controversy surrounding his brand of political activism and speech were debated on this blog extensively during the war. Whether Clinton can learn something from him or not I don't know; but Bill's outrage at Wallace and his aggressive turning of the table on his interviewer simply reminded me of the Galloway's episode; hence the reference!

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