Do we need a Republican in the Oval Office for journalists to do tough, probing interviews? That would seem to be the implication of Steve Kroft’s softball interview on CBS last Sunday with President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The Atlantic’s Conor Friedersdorf offered a brutal synopsis of the "60 Minutes" interview, demonstrating that Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart, when given the chance to interview the world’s most powerful man, asked far more insightful and useful questions that pressed Obama much harder than the storied newsmagazine program. In fact, Friedersdorf was probably too charitable about Kroft’s star-struck performance.
Recently, we raised serious questions in this space about Clinton’s tenure as the nation’s top diplomat, pointing out that U.S. relations with much of the world have deteriorated under her watch and that she cannot claim any major accomplishments overseas.
Kroft was obsequiously deferential about her slender record: "[T]here’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?" Kroft then let Obama off the hook with the answer that he was winding down the Iraq and Afghanistan wars — an "accomplishment" that his predecessor had planned for roughly the same time frame.