Dennis Prager on CBSDennis has recently dubbed CBS the "Communications for Barbarians Service" and I have to agree. His article on that topic and Mike Wallace's disgraceful interview with the dictator of Iran is worth a read. He lists a number of the questions that should have been asked and they are quite good.
I have a different take I want to express. There are lots of good questions but we all know that dictators don't answer hard or critical questions. This was an embarrasment for 3 main reasons.
1. Many people are asking what the rules of the interview were. CBS isn't saying. If the questions were prescreened or there were limitations on what could be said or asked CBS should say so. Frankly, if the questions were prescreened they shouldn't have done the interview at all. If there were other conditions that they were comfortable with they should tell us all what those conditions were. If there were no conditions they should tell us that (because most of us don't believe that would be the case) and they should be totally ashamed.
2. How can you give an interview to a foreign leader on a US network that is known to have kidnapped Americans and not ask him about that or put a clip of it in the intro or something? Isn't that little nugget of background important to an American audience?
3. If you have an interview where the interviewee refuses to give a direct answer to any of the "not totally softball questions" that you ask I think you have two choices. You either don't air the interview or you comment on the fact that this anti-semetic little monster wouldn't answer the questions. Airing the interview and pretending that it was something other than a political advertisement isn't a viable option. CBS bothers to inform me that their infomercials in the middle of the night are paid advertisements. This was an unpaid advertisement and should have been appropriately labeled so I didn't have to watch it a second time looking for the "news interview" that I never saw.
If anybody needs the interview and can't find it I digitized the video and have it in full, iPod video and audio formats. Send me an email.