In the days of the late Mike Wallace, "60 Minutes" was known for hard-hitting, aggressive journalism that asked the questions viewers wanted answered and held the powerful accountable.
The Jan. 27 program on which Steve Kroft interviewed President Obama (at his request, no less) and outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton fell far short of that high standard. It was the kind of softball toss you might have expected if Oprah Winfrey or Barbara Walters had conducted the interview.
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:
A truly shocking thing happened on the CBS Late Show Tuesday.
Host David Letterman actually challenged guest Al Gore about his recent sale of Current TV to al Jazeera saying, “So you, Al Gore, are doing business with this country that's enabling your ultimate foe of climate change” (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Did you see that hard-hitting report on “60 Minutes” on Sunday, the one that charged that one of our nation's most famous leaders and role models is a shameless liar, a ruthless intimidator and even “incinerator” of enemies, a man who operates like the Mafia?
No, that wasn’t the interview with Barack Obama, alongside Hillary Clinton. It was an interview later in the same show about the drug-enhanced bicyclist Lance Armstrong. That’s CBS News for you – a guy who pedals a bike through France is hammered as if he is the most powerful man in the world, while the most powerful man is treated like a lovable celebrity -- because that is precisely how they feel.
MRC Vice President for Business and Culture Dan Gainor appeared on CNBC's Kudlow Report on January 28, to discuss Steve Kroft's "60 Minutes" interview with President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Kudlow asked Gainor to comment on the interview. He told Kudlow, "I did a tally and there were 15 questions, and 11 of them were complete and utter softballs. I wrote a piece for Fox and said that if CBS had a team, they should sign him. And the four tougher questions, two of them were very quick about Hillary's health, and he really didn't press her on that, and then two nominal questions where he really let Obama get away with just awful claims including that things had gone well in Egypt.
"We've got Morsi there coming out--we've found out that he's bigoted and anti-Semitic. We, now we're sending him jets. The Arab Spring has been a disaster, we didn't talk about Iran, we didn't talk about expansionist plans from China. I mean, it was like he didn't read the international page before he asked his questions," Gainor said.
CBS's Steve Kroft made a statement Monday that totally epitomizes liberal media bias in the modern era.
Speaking to CNN's Piers Morgan about his interview with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on the previous evening's 60 Minutes, Kroft said the President likes doing his show because "he knows that we're not going to play gotcha with him" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
You see, according to Kroft (my paraphrase), "This whole interview thing was a surprise, and we were only allowed 30 minutes, and besides, there are so many other opportunities to ask tough questions in other venues. So why should I waste precious fawning time asking tough questions mere journalists ask when I can let the lovely pair go all gooey?" Exceprts from Bauder's butt-covering effort follow the jump (bolds are mine):
Brit Hume on Monday made some strong comments about Barack Obama's recent attacks on Fox News as well as the gooey interview CBS's 60 Minutes did with the President and Hillary Clinton the previous evening.
Of the latter, he said the theme was “Just How Great Is the Relationship Between You Two?” (video follows with transcript and absolutely no need for additional commentary):
As NewsBusters has been reporting all day, CBS's 60 Minutes on Sunday gave a gushing and fawning interview to President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that should be an embarrassment to the network.
On Fox News's America's Newsroom Monday, left-leaning contributor Kirsten Powers said of this fiasco, "It really was something you would expect from like the state-run media...60 Minutes was transparently being used as a campaign advertisement" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft "ought to hand in his journalism card" if there actually were such a thing, NewsBusters senior editor Tim Graham concluded in an interview with substitute host Eric Bolling on the January 28 edition of Your World w/Neil Cavuto. Graham was referring to the January 27 puff piece that the newsmagazine aired in which Kroft failed to ask any tough questions of the president and his departing secretary of state.
"Look, this is Steve Kroft's history," Graham told Bolling. "This is the reason why we wrote a report called 'Syrupy Minutes.' With the Democrats, this is what they do." And yet, "This is the same show that broke Abu Ghraib on Bush's head. This is the same show that tried to destroy Bush with fake National Guard records." [MP3 audio here; video embedded below page break]
It's a reasonable question to ask because the Extra host's interviews of celebs like Angelina and Brad couldn't have been any more of a puff piece than Kroft's starry-eyed interview of President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Sunday's 60 Minutes. A half hour of softballs were gently served up by Kroft who acted as if he were overjoyed to just bask in the glow of his interviewees who ate up almost all the time praising each other. Oh, there was the obligatory question that Kroft was almost required to ask about Benghazi but it was delivered in such a manner as to be easily deflected by Hillary before the interview returned to full empty calorie cotton candy mode.
On Monday afternoon, Human Events writer John Hayward stumbled upon Fox News' Bret Baier's discovery of bias by omission from CBS News. It seems out that a key portion -- regarding Benghazi -- of a 60 Minutes interview was cut out to protect the president and his re-election campaign.
The original interview conducted by CBS’ Steve Kroft on September 12, 2012, left out an exchange where Kroft asked the president if this was a terrorist attack. He refused to say – outright – that the Benghazi attack was the work of terrorists. Now, with Election Day less than twenty-four hours away, CBS has graciously released the unexpurgated version of the interview.
On Sunday's 60 Minutes, CBS's Steve Kroft tried to paper over Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's role in fostering deadlock in the Senate. Kroft spotlighted Reid's "responsibility" for setting the body's agenda, but quickly added that the Nevada senator has "just as much of a responsibility as Senator McConnell - to make the system work and to do some things."
The correspondent also turned to Steven Smith, who hinted that the Republican minority in the Senate was to blame for the "deadlock" in Congress, despite Reid's Democratic majority not passing a budget in over 3 years: "If you're in the minority...you know that if you can slow down everything, the majority will have less time to get to its entire agenda....when the minority blocks a piece of legislation, who does the public blame? Is it the minority for its obstructionism, or is it the majority that just wasn't willing to compromise enough?" He failed to mention that Smith is a former fellow at the liberal Brookings Institution.
Sunday's 60 Minutes couldn't be bothered to air Steve Kroft pursuing President Obama about "nasty and negative campaign ads under your name, or under the name of your various PACs." Obama begrudging admitted, "Do we see, sometimes, us going overboard in our campaign, or the mistakes that are made, or...areas where there's no doubt that somebody could dispute how we are presenting things? You know, that happens in politics." The news program relegated the exchange to CBSNews.com.
Despite the fact the clip didn't make it on the air, correspondent Jan Crawford mentioned it on Monday's CBS This Morning: "And even last night...the President, on that 60 Minutes interview, acknowledged that some of his attacks - some of his ads - have gone, as he put it, 'overboard', and he said there is no dispute that someone could have an issue with the way the campaign has been presenting some things."
"We got about 10 minutes on the three evening newscasts" last night about "how Romney must have made a mistake" with his statement on the deadly Benghazi consulate attack instead of devoting any significant attention to the question of "What is wrong with the state of our security at our embassies in the Middle East?" NewsBusters senior editor Tim Graham complained to Fox News Channel's Neil Cavuto on his September 13 Your World program.
The liberal media are a "pathetic pack of politicizers" who have "done nothing" but "politicize this issue," Graham added. Indeed, when President Obama was interviewed by 60 Minutes, "he gets asked, 'did Romney screw this up?'" the Media Research Center director of media analysis noted. The president probably gets "tougher questions from his daughters at the supper table than he's getting from Steve Kroft at CBS," Graham quipped. [MP3 audio here; video follows page break]
On August 5, Chris Cillizza at The Washington Post announced he was playing with a “somewhat controversial idea” that Mitt Romney should be the favorite to win the presidential election. Debatable, maybe. But controversial? Well, yes. It violates the pro-Obama mandate of our national press corps.
The usual political measures look terrible for Obama, he noted. “The unemployment rate has been over 8 percent for 42 straight months, a streak unparalleled in American history.” Obama must win despite the crippled economy – the most important issue for the voters.
CBS's Bob Schieffer certainly wasn't in an Obama-loving mood Sunday.
Having asked the President's senior campaign adviser "Whatever happened to hope and change" early in the program, the Face the Nation host in a subsequent segment laughed out loud after playing a clip of Obama bragging about his accomplishments on 60 Minutes last year (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Eh! No big deal. Barack Obama is better...at least in his own mind. Such was the laughably absurd claim of President Obama on 60 Minutes last Sunday. What? You didn't see it? That was because 60 Minutes conveniently left it out of its broadcast. If you want to see Obama engage in this latest bit of over the top braggadocio you can only see it at the online 60 Minutes Overtime which has a video of the entire interview. You can catch Obama's excessive praise of himself at the tail end of the interview starting with Steve Kroft's question just before the 55 minute mark:
CBS’s Steve Kroft challenged President Barack Obama a few times during the two-part 60 Minutes interview aired Sunday night, but managed to ignore the scandals (Solyndra, Fast & Furious and collapse of MF Global run by ally Jon Corzine) while mostly cuing up Obama to knock down criticism of him or pressing him with complaints from the left that he hasn’t done or gone far enough: “They thought that you were gonna be bolder.”
“Since the midterm elections, you made an effort at bipartisanship. It hasn’t worked out that way,” Kroft fretted in crediting Obama with the noble effort before seemingly conveying the liberal complaint the stimulus didn’t spend enough: “There’s a general perception that the stimulus was not enough. That it really didn’t work.”
There was an astonishingly revealing moment on Sunday's 60 Minutes when President Obama said, "Some of the most damaging behavior on Wall Street, in some cases, some of the least ethical behavior on Wall Street, wasn't illegal."
For what should be obvious reasons, CBS's Steve Kroft didn't bother asking his guest who created, voted for or signed the pieces of legislation that allowed this "damaging behavior on Wall Street" to be legal (video follows with transcript and commentary):
Last month, NewsBusters reported60 Minutes cherry-picking Peter Schweizer's book about Congressional insider trading to make it appear the problem was largely a Republican one.
Schweizer did a phone interview with NewsBusters last week to discuss this matter in greater detail including how with the exception of Fox News, despite this being a bipartisan issue, the media have largely ignored it to protect liberal politicians they revere (video follows with transcript):
Serious question: who do you think the liberal media loathes more: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Grover Norquist? I'm going with 'b.' After all, Mahmoud merely wants to build an atom bomb and wipe Israel off the map, for starters. But Grover Norquist wants to keep taxes from increasing and thereby limit the growth of government.
In a 60 Minutes hit piece tonight, CBS correspondent Steve Kroft claimed Norquist, head of Americans for Tax Reform, "likes things ugly." For good measure, Kroft claimed that Norquist's strategy has some of the characteristics of a "protection racket." Video after the jump.
As NewsBusters previously reported, 60 Minutes on Sunday cherry picked Peter Schweizer's book "Throw Them All Out" to give the appearance that Congressional insider trading was mainly a Republican problem.
On Fox News's Special Report Monday, host Bret Baier cited our article on this subject (video follows with transcript and commentary):
When CBS's Steve Kroft recently asked House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) some penetrating questions about stock purchases she and her husband made, the internet was abuzz with rumors about an upcoming 60 Minutes installment about the wealthy couple that have been known to use her political interest for their mutual benefit.
Unfortunately, this Sunday's 60 Minutes piece about Congressional insider trading cherry picked from author Peter Schweizer's soon to be released book "Throw Them All Out" to make it look like this is largely a Republican scandal (video follows with commentary):
Conservatives thought CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft was typically soft and deferential toward Barack Obama on Sunday night, but his fellow liberal journalists are high-fiving him. On Twitter, NBC’s Luke Russert oozed: “Steve Kroft was a friend to the nation tonight. Clear concise questions that got us important answers.” That’s an interesting tweet from the son of Mr. Two-Minute Question. But it sounds to many that you're somehow patriotic and nonpartisan or a "friend to the nation" when you rally around Obama.
Over at the Poynter Institute’s website, Al Tompkins interviewed Kroft and praised his “laser-focused” questioning. He even praised him for avoiding political questions (like enhanced interrogation). Questions that sounded to Obama critics like pathetic whiffle-ball questions were hailed for their professionalism:
On Sunday's 60 Minutes, CBS's Steve Kroft failed to bring up key issues related to the killing of Osama bin Laden during an interview of President Obama, such as the enhanced interrogation of captured al Qaeda leaders which provided the first intelligence that ultimately lead to the Navy SEAL raid in Pakistan.
The journalist set the overall tone of his interview, which he conducted on Wednesday, by tossing a softball in his lead question to Obama: "Mr. President, was this the most satisfying week of your presidency?" After the chief executive gave his initial answer, Kroft followed up by asking, "Was the decision to launch this attack the most difficult decision that you've made as commander-in-chief?
On Friday, CBS's Early Show previewed President Obama's upcoming 60 Minutes interview by showing a clip of the softest moment of the exchange and skipping over a series of more challenging questions from correspondent Steve Kroft.
While the preview featured Kroft sympathetically asking the President if he hadn't "sold his successes well enough," the 60 Minutes correspondent began the interview by questioning Obama's policies: "At your news conference, you seemed unwilling to accept the idea that this was a rejection, in any way, of your agenda and your policies. Is this a defeat, a reflection on your leadership?" Obama responded by lamenting: "And people looked at that and they said, 'boy, this feels as if there's a huge expansion of government,' and-" Kroft interjected: "Well, it was a huge expansion of government."
In a preview of President Obama's upcoming 60 Minutes interview on Friday's CBS Early Show, correspondent Steve Kroft is shown commiserating with the commander-in-chief over midterm election losses: "People have made the argument you lost control of the narrative, you've let other people define you, that you haven't sold your successes well enough."
Kroft was understanding as he lamented Obama's political problems: "People who were among your most ardent supporters...feel a little disappointed, that they think that you've lost your mojo, that you lost your ability, that touch you had during the campaign to inspire and lead." He noted how "everybody in Washington writes about this sort of aloofness that you have. And I'm sure that drives you crazy."
While attending the Radio Television Digital News Association conference in Las Vegas on Monday, 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft spoke to a crowd of young journalists and claimed that his dream interview would be with Dick Cheney, but complained how the former vice president and Bush adviser Karl Rove simply "make hay" in criticizing 60 Minutes coverage, but would not go on the show.
If one looks at a recent history of 60 Minutes reporting, it's easy to see why Cheney and Rove would not be eager to appear on the CBS program. On the May 11, 2008 broadcast, correspondent Morley Safer conducted a fawning interview with left-wing actor Alec Baldwin and light-heartedly remarked: "Your eloquence, if that's the word, can get you into deep trouble....perhaps excessively eloquent, as in your description of Dick Cheney, who you said was a sociopath and a terrorist, and you later apologized by just calling him a 'lying, thieving, oil whore and a murderer of the US Constitution.'"