The two sides of the aisle are split, as always, as to the veracity of Bret Baier and Greta Van Susteren’s interview with Hillary Clinton on Fox News the evening of June 17, 2014. While there was a lone voice at MediaIte apparently hoping that if they cried “Fox relentlessly hammered Hillary” it would come true, it was actually the mainstream media getting it right. Jason Easley from PoliticsUSA rightfully said, “Hillary Clinton sat down live on Fox News and owned the conservative network.” Sadly, it is those claiming Fox soft-balled the staunchly Democratic presidential hopeful who are dead-on.
Hillary’s much-awaited half-hour on the major conservative network was undoubtedly marked on the calendars of many who both oppose and cheer for her, but the actual event fell rather short of the expected mark. Bret Baier opened the discussion explaining the 7 minutes allowed to himself and Greta Van Susteren – which, yes, works out to 14 minutes of airtime, not 30 – and proceeded to recite questions no doubt approved by Hillary’s publicist in advance.
Although Baier did open with the eagerly anticipated Benghazi questions regarding blame and the White House’s misleading of the public, he did not dispute the evasive words he received in return. Interestingly, Hillary managed to avoid using the word “Benghazi,” let alone referring to the victims in any way, shape, or form. Instead, she mentioned the Beirut terrorist attacks on the Marine barracks in 1983 and the Kenyan and Tanzanian embassy attacks; specific references to Benghazi were neatly avoided. These non-answers are what CIA officers refer to as a “failure-to-answer lie.” And considering the importance and weight of her excuses related to the deaths of former SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, US Ambassador Chris Stevens and former USAF Foreign Service Operator Sean Smith, it was more than a slight letdown to watch Baier and Van Susteren simply let it go.
When it was Greta Van Susteren’s turn, she sank her teeth into the Fourth Amendment issue without hesitation. According to the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution, the American people’s right “to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated,” and yet recent NSA spying has proven we the people seem to have no rights. When Van Susteren asked Hillary point-blank about her feelings on recent Fourth Amendment violations, the former-Secretary-of-State waffled skillfully, saying “I voted for some, and I voted against some” of the post-9-11 rulings.
“Hillary’s smiling, non-answer-filled interview was simply further proof of the veil of silence wrapping in ever-tightening swaths around the White House today.”
Moving on, Van Susteren asked whether Hillary agreed a warrant was required to seize an American’s “stuff,” to which the reply was a simple “Yes.” Wording is important, especially to politicians and journalists, and in the statements to follow, Hillary was careful to weigh the blame more heavily on the Republicans than Democrats, saying the laws Americans feel as infringing on their rights today came from their own knee-jerk reaction desiring protection after 9-11. And while there is some truth to her words thanks to the Bush-era adoption of the Patriot Act, even the left-leaning AP news has been forced to admit the Obama administration is more than 50% more secretive and closed-down than Bush ever was. Hillary’s smiling, non-answer-filled interview was simply further proof of the veil of silence wrapping in ever-tightening swaths around the White House today.
Unfortunately, the relaxed atmosphere of the entire Fox News interview had a certain “the-emperor-has-no-clothes” feel. Those who were hoping for tough questions to be asked and real answers to be insisted upon were left disappointed, although some say there is a silver lining to this cloud, after all. It is undeniably true Fox would have received a merciless onslaught of complaints and insults if they had stuck to the expected right-wing agenda too tightly, and by maintaining a rather neutral air, Baier and Van Susteren avoided a negative frenzy from mainstream media.
Does maintaining some sort of uneasy peace mean they proceeded correctly? Not necessarily. One of our great presidents, Ronald Reagan, once said “We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.” Was it morally right for Fox to attempt to pander to both sides of the aisle in order to maintain a brief political détente? Do these actions minimize the deaths of the men who were murdered in Benghazi? Tell us what you think.
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