Unlike CBS, CNN Actually Grills Clinton on Foreign Policy

Contrary to CBS's Steve Kroft, CNN's foreign affairs reporters actually asked the tough questions of outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in their Tuesday interview on The Situation Room.

While Kroft spun his foreign policy questions into softballs for Clinton and Obama on Sunday's 60 Minutes, CNN's Jill Dougherty confronted Clinton on Egypt and Libya. She started off asking if the Egyptian state would survive amidst bloody unrest, and then zeroed in on Libya:

"You know, the signs were there. The British ambassador had been attacked. The walls of the embassy had been breached. Why didn't you connect the dots, ask the question, wasn't it too dangerous for Chris Stevens, the ambassador, who was one of the most valuable people you had in that region? Why didn't you ask those questions?"

Elise Labott followed up with some mixed praise and criticism for Clinton's record as Secretary of State from the L.A. Times:

"Madam Secretary, I want to read you the headline of a – of a article in the L.A. Times today. It said, 'Hillary Clinton's Legacy at State: Splendid, But not Spectacular.' That you were hugely popular in this administration and around the world, but some of these big ticket items that we've been mentioning, particularly the Middle East, Iran, North Korea, not solved, still intractable, and maybe even worse, in some instances. Is that how you see your legacy, hugely popular but didn't solve these horrible issues?"

In contrast, Kroft's first question to Clinton and Obama on foreign policy was a complete softball: "What do you think the biggest success has been, foreign policy success, of the first term?"

He spun the Benghazi disaster as one that resulted in much hardship for Clinton: "I want to talk about the hearings this week. You had a very long day. Also, how is your health?"

And when Kroft discussed Clinton's responsibility for the fiasco, he enabled her to express regret: "As the New York Times put it, you accepted responsibility, but not blame. Do you feel guilty in any way, in -- at a personal level? Do you blame yourself that you didn't know or that you should have known?"

Kroft's lone "tough" foreign policy question came on Syria, and even then he allowed President obama to explain why the U.S. hasn't intervened militarily:

"The biggest criticism of this team in the U.S. foreign policy from your political opposition has been what they say is an abdication of the United States on the world stage, sort of a reluctance to become involved in another entanglement, an unwillingness or what seems/appears to be an unwillingness to gauge big issues. Syria, for example."

Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro
Matt Hadro was a News Analyst for the Media Research Center's News Analysis Division from 2010 through early 2014