Rice, Interrupted: Vexatious Vieira Interviews Secretary of State

Warning to Bush administration officials: when being interviewed by Meredith Vieira, be prepared to make your point in 7-10 seconds, or risk being rudely caught off by the "Today" co-anchor.

Twice in the course of her interview of Condoleezza Rice this morning, Vieira distemperately interrupted just seconds after the Secretary of State began responding to her host's question.

View video here.

MEREDITH VIEIRA: Yesterday Senator John Warner asked General Petraeus whether the war in Iraq is making us any safer, and the general responded "I don't know." [Note: in subsequent testimony before the same committee, Petraeus made clear the link between Iraq and America's security interests, but Vieira and others in the MSM have been choosing to ignore that this morning]. What should Americans take from that if the commanding general in Iraq doesn't know if the war there is making us any safer?

CONDOLEEZA RICE: Well, the war in Iraq, when we are successful there, will make a more stable Iraq, and that will make a more stable Middle East --

VIEIRA [interrupting seven seconds into Rice's answer]: But that hasn't worked, clearly --
A bit later, the same scenario.


VIEIRA: So what's the purpose of the military surge if we still have dysfunction on the ground?

RICE: Well, first of all, I think both General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker made very clear yesterday that there have been security improvements in Iraq. Secondly, I hope we won't lose the forest for the trees here. Yes --
This time Vieira magnanimously accorded Rice 10 seconds before butting in.
VIEIRA: But very little! Very little!
Rice had had enough of Vieira's bad manners, and calmly responded.
RICE: Meredith, you asked me a question, now, the issue is --

VIEIRA: OK.
If Vieira's guest were, say, former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, do you think Vieira would interrupt her so impolitely? Just wondering.
Mark Finkelstein
Mark Finkelstein is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.