Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Chris Wallace is just clueless

I can't get too worked up about Chris Wallace's attacks on MSNBC or his protestations that Karl Rove is capable of speaking as a "straight political analyst."

Ever since he called out the bad-even-for-FNC bunch on "Fox & Friends" for "two hours of Obama-bashing," I've been pretty convinced that the guy really doesn't want to be thought of as a right wing hatchet man, and for all I know he doesn't want to be one. I thought it was visible earlier, too, in the aftermath of his interview with Bill Clinton when he got the Big Dog a little heated when he asked "Why didn't [he] do more" to prevent 9/11. He was quoted by Howie Kurtz:

"I thought it was a fair, balanced and not especially inflammatory question... But he went off. And once he went off, there was no bringing him back. He wanted to talk about it in detail. He wanted to conjure up right-wingers and conservative hit jobs and a theory involving Rupert Murdoch that I still don't understand."

It's one thing to play dumb, but it's an entirely different matter to be befuddled by the idea not only that Fox News is run by right wingers, but that right wingers exist at all, and aren't just mythical beasts that crazy Democrats conjure up. "Why didn't you do more to prevent the deaths of 3,000 Americans?" is not even an inflammatory question? Fox News is impartial while MSNBC is in the tank? Brit Hume is an anchorman to Keith Olbermann's pundit?

These are things you'd expect a conservative commentator to suggest, but not one with much interest in being seen as a remotely credible mainstream reporter. The Obama-bashing incident, along with several other moments of earnest evenhandedness I vaguely recall, suggest that Wallace really does want to be taken seriously.

My theory is that he really just doesn't have any inkling of how illegitimate Fox is as a news organization. Keep in mind he works for a network that was just recently caught doctoring the photos of two New York Times reporters who wrote a critical piece about them, including a rather audacious nose enlargement for Mr. Steinberg.

How can he still not put the pieces together? I think garden-variety stupidity plays a part, but more than that he's a great example of the Upton Sinclair quote: "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his job depends on not understanding it."

Hit jobs? By Fox?

No comments: