The thought that love has no pride is an old one. Indeed, it has become something of a cliché. Yet it is achieved the status of cliché by virtue of the truth in it.
CBS’s venerable 60 Minutes show brought us an example of the cliché in action over the weekend. 60 Minutes correspondent Steve Kroft is smitten with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. He put his professional skills aside to do public relations for Obama and Clinton in their joint interview with him for the show.
A serious journalist might have tried to learn something on the issues of the day from them. Not Kroft. Lest there be any misunderstanding, Kroft thrust his tongue down their throats as fast as he could and kept it there for the duration.
The Atlantic’s Conor Fridersdorf has performed a public service compiling Kroft’s 14 questions to Obama and Clinton during the interview as broadcast:
“This is very improbable. This is not an interview I ever expected to be doing. But I understand, Mr. President, this was your idea. Why did you want to do this together, a joint interview?”
“There’s no political tea leaves to be read here?”
“It’s no secret that your aides cautioned you against–actually were against you offering Secretary Clinton this job. And you were just as determined not to take it. And you avoided taking her phone calls for awhile because you were afraid she was going to say no. Why were you so insistent about wanting her to be secretary of state?”
“You’ve been quoted as thinking or telling people that there was no way you were going to take this job and you weren’t going to let anybody talk you into it. What did he say that night that made you [change your mind]?”
“What did he promise you? And has he kept the promises?”
Friedersdorf continues with Kroft’s next four questions:
“Has she had much influence in this administration?”
“How would you characterize your relationship right now?”
“It’s one thing to have disagreements between cabinet people. I spent time with both of you in the 2008 campaign. That was a very tough, bitter race. And I’m going to spare you reading some of the things that you said about each other during that campaign. But how long did it take you to get over that? And when did it happen?”
“You said the staff took a little longer to ignore, to forget the campaign stuff. What about the spouses? Is that an impertinent question?”
Go to Friedersdorf post for his commentary on these questions before he continues:
“This administration, I mean, you’ve generally gotten high marks. You’ve generally gotten very high marks, particularly from the voters for your handling of foreign policy. But there’s no big, singular achievement that- in the first four years–that you can put your names on. What do you think the biggest success has been, foreign policy success, of the first term?”
“What’s the, I have to ask you, what’s the date of expiration on this endorsement? No, no, I have to ask that question. I mean, come on. You’re – I mean, you’re sitting here together. Everybody in town is talking about it already and the inter- and this is- it’s taking place.”
Then Kroft turns to Clinton’s appearance before Congress last week to testify about the Benghazi massacre:
“I want to talk about the hearings this week. You had a very long day. Also, how is your health?”
“You said during the hearings, I mean, you’ve accepted responsibility. You’ve accepted the very critical findings of Admiral Mullen and Ambassador Pickering. 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?”
“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.”
Kroft gave viewers, as Bob Dylan might put it, too much of nothing. What an embarrassment.
Paying tribute to the occasional virtues of 60 Minutes, my daughter Eliana has compiled a video to illustrate CBS’s slobbering love affair with Obama (to borrow Bernard Goldberg’s formulation). Clinton is of course also in the circle of love. The video below contrasts Kroft’s treatment of Obama and Clinton with Leslie Stahl’s treatment of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.