I just got finished watching Mike Wallace’s interview with Iran’s Ahmadinejad on “60 Minutes,” and it was one of the most pathetic, most offensive, examples of American journalism I have ever seen. Wallace was so desperate to come out of retirement to interview the modern day Hitler that he was willing to become his propagandist.
He allowed Ahmadinejad to portray himself as a loving father of three who enjoys reading and exercise and supports human rights and an end to oppression. If only President Bush didn’t spend so much money on war, we could all live in peace.
At no point did Wallace challenge Ahmadinejad on the severe human rights abuses within Iran (for instance, the recent beating and arrest of hundreds of women’s right’s activists by Iranian police).
Wallace allowed Ahmadinejad to completely wiggle out of his Holocaust denial and his call for Israel to be “wiped off the map.” The gist being that even “if” Germany committed the Holocaust, then the Palestinians shouldn’t be punished because they had no role in the Holocaust. In his interview with Hannity, Wallace called this argument “interesting” and declared that Ahmadinejad wasn’t anti-Jewish, just anti-Israel.
At one point Wallace was trying to get Ahmadinejad to give more concise answers, but Ahmadinejad refused and playfully offered to end the interview. And Wallace said, “I couldn’t be happier for the privilege of sitting down with the president of Iran.” (That was according to my notes, I don’t have a transcript in front of me so the words may be slightly different, but the basic idea was the same.)
Perhaps one can expect a certain amount of sucking-up when a journalist is desperate to score a big interview, but Wallace crossed the line when he asked Ahmadinejad about President Bush and referred to him as the commander-in-chief of the “so-called ‘free’ world.” In this case Wallace explicitly became a propagandist for Iranian tyranny, by endorsing a morally relativistic universe in which maybe Iran is really the free world and America isn’t.
It doesn’t matter if you oppress your own people, threaten to annihilate a country with 5 million Jews in the context of seeking a nuclear weapon, or give fiery speeches to chants of “Death to America.” These days, as long as you have enough hate for America, Israel and President Bush, you can expect a free pass from the liberal media.