“I mean. . .here I am on Fox News. . .”
A magenta-faced, sputtering Bill Clinton threw those words at interviewer Chris Wallace and didn’t bother to finish the sentence. He didn’t feel he needed to. And if he had still been inside the insular echo chamber of left-liberal cocktail parties in Manhattan, he wouldn’t have. It’s understood. Fox News is a byword.
By the time the former President got to the chair opposite Chris Wallace, he was well into a media tour designed to let Clinton humbly receive kudos for all the money he’d raised for his “Global Initiative.” At every stop, he was fawned over, praised and babied. If memory serves, Keith Olbermann handed Clinton a check and gave him a foot rub.
This explains Clinton’s gobsmack-ed fury when Chris Wallace suddenly went all “journalist” on his posterior and asked him a tough, but relevant question.
You see, Conservatives/Republicans know that almost every engagement with the news media is likely to involve tough questions, adversarial postures, and “gotcha” games. You will hear them complain (with ample justification) about liberal bias in the newsroom and left-wing agenda journalism. But, like adults, they keep showing up and make their case.
That brings us to today’s news that the Democratic presidential candidates refuse to conduct a debate hosted by Fox News—far and away the most watched cable news channel. There will be two, that’s right, two CNN debates. Another two on NBC/MSNBC, as well as one each on ABC and CBS.
What must we deduce from this? That, like Clinton, a critical mass of left-of-center politicians have now become so accustomed to dealing with a friendly press that they have come to view kid-glove treatment as an entitlement.
And after decades of posturing about the vital role of a free press in keeping government honest and accountable, they are prepared to send the following message to every major news division:
“Be our ally or we will shut you out.”