For NewsBusters types, the question has always been whether Meredith Vieira would be as liberal as her Today show predecessor, Katie Couric. As of this morning, we have our answer. Yesterday, Hugo Chavez stood on the world stage and called the President of the United States a "devil" and claimed the speakers platform still stunk from his presence. Today, Meredith Vieira went on national TV and warned us not to be too quick to dismiss his message.
Interviewing Bill Clinton, she said:
"Now, it's easy to dismiss somebody like Chavez -- and some have -- as a nut. But do you think he is giving voice to to wider frustration in the developing world about this country and this country's policies? Do we need to change the way we act?"
And then: "Is the developing world frustrated with the way we treat them?"
When Clinton suggested the Third World thinks the US acts too unilaterally, that we cooperate when we have have to but otherwise do what we want, Vieira interjected:
Vieira surely knows she is under the microscope for signs of liberal bias. She obviously doesn't care. Beyond her implied endorsement of Chavez' message, she conducted a fawning interview of Clinton that was embarrassing in its unctuousness:
- Speaking of his Clinton Global Initiative, she claimed "everyone is calling you a genie" for his ability to accomplish good things.
- When asked to speculate as to Bin Laden's whereabouts, Clinton said he had no [military] intelligence. Vieira jumped to correct the record: "You have lots of intelligence!"
- She reminded him that while he was in office, "you were very popular." True. Well, other than that impeachment thing. And never winning a majority of the, ahem, popular vote. And unpopularity so great it led to the historic GOP tidal wave of 1994.
- And how's this for a hard-hitting question, referring to a New York Times article about his marriage: "Do you think that's fair?"
An aside: Clinton obviously hasn't lost his fastball when it comes to slinging whoppers. He didn't come close to breaking down in laughter while claiming he never discussed with Hillary her presidential ambitions.
Bonus Coverage: A later segment focused on falling gasoline prices. All the good news was obviously too much for NBC's Anne Thompson who concluded by warning that "we're just one headline away from a reversal of fortune." Do you remember any such caveat from NBC when prices were "soaring"?