October 9, 2006

"You’re done. I didn’t have an opportunity for a follow-up question with Bill Clinton. You get your chance, you take advantage of it."

NYT ace interviewer Deborah Solomon subjects Chris Wallace to a pretty hostile interview, and he bites back.

31 comments:

MadisonMan said...

I would say that Ms. Solomon did a pretty bad job with that interview. I learned very little about Chris Wallace.

Susan said...

Ms. Solomon: But why go to Fox News, of all channels, which has been criticized for having a conservative bias?

But why go to [ABC,CBS,NBC,CNN,PBS,NPR], of all channels, which have been criticized for having a liberal bias?

Troy said...

I have a feeling that's a Chris Wallace version of being pissed off. I agree MM -- she wasted his time. The best insights came from his ripostes to her pseudo-questions. Kudos to her (or her editor I guess) for including the last line.

Ann Althouse said...

Well, they may have thought he showed irascibility and didn't look like the sweetheart all his defenders said he was. They probably though he was hoist by his own petard, that he got upset by simple questions just like Clinton. I'm pretty sure most NYT readers laughed at him

Henry said...

With his terse, uninformative answers, Wallace doesn't sound at all interested from the get-go. We don't know what Solomon's tone was, but her odd third "question" ("I didn’t see it as bad or ugly. I saw it as a genuine expression of feeling.") could have been answered with humor ("exactly") or some actual information ("I was dodging the man's spit"). Instead Wallace dismisses the question and after that the interview goes nowhere.

Mark the Pundit said...

Yes, we all want to ask Chris Wallace about why Tony Snow left television.

Is Deborah Solomon an intern or something, because these are questions that a high school reporter would ask.

Joan said...

Thanks for highlighting this, I'd never have seen it otherwise. I had no idea that Chris was Mike Wallace's son. Solomon seemed to be trying to ask Chris why he had betrayed his father by going to Fox News, and Wallace just refused to recognize that her question had any validity.

I have seen a lot of Chris Wallace and the interview does not come off negatively to me. I can see Wallace responding with the kind of wry resignation that he often uses: This is such typical news b.s.

That was just a bad set of interview questions. I loved "I am sorry you are not persuaded." And "You're done," was classic, too. She clearly had nothing substantitve to say, and she had wasted enough of his time.

PatCA said...

Again and again, we see these ridiculous articles designed to flatter the NYT's loyal partisans. I think Wallace flattened her, but I'm sure the choir would see it differently.

vnjagvet said...

Chris has the same quick mind that his father exhibited often. I was never sympathetic to Mike's politics, but have always enjoyed his interviews. Tough but not mean.

Gerald Hibbs said...

I don't know if I'm a Kool-Aid drinker or you just set my expectations too high (low?), but I didn't get a feeling of hostility (from Wallace's side) in that interview.

I've seen a lot of Wallace so when I read it I was able to read it in his "voice." What came across to me was wry humor.

I will admit he did seem a tad touchy with the "You weren't in the room." response and think that the suggested response by a commenter of, "I was dodging the man's spit," would have been delicious.

I can see how people might construe the interviewer as being a bit on the offense but these are the questions that her readership would like her to ask so I don't hold it against her.

Thanks for pointing out the story, Ann.

altoids1306 said...

I think he knew from the start that this would be a hostile interview, and he engaged in a tit-for-tat escalation.

Wit and humor would have been better, but whatever. A journalist interviewing a journalist - who cares.

Fitz said...

This is in the same category as the Greenhouse post below. The times bias is so complete and thorough that it exist in a world onto itself. This paper (one I receive & read daily) is so infused by Manhattan establishment liberalism that it is incapable of seeing its own glaring bias.

Mike said...

This is the question I find incredible: "Do you think it was fair for you to mention that his administration had failed to capture Osama bin Laden?" (emphasis added)

Revenant said...

I found this exchange rather telling:

This was Bill Clinton unplugged — the good, the bad and the ugly.

I didn’t see it as bad or ugly. I saw it as a genuine expression of feeling.

So "genuine expressions of feeling" can't be "bad" or "ugly"? That's some pretty wooly-headed thinking there.

johnstodderinexile said...

I think a lot of reporters saw Clinton's outburst as a sort of West Wing/Aaron Sorkin moment. Like Michael Douglas' big speech in the press conference at the end of "The American President," which gets him the girl, wins over the country to liberalism and smites the evil Republican.

Freeman Hunt said...

Are you friends with Bill O’Reilly, the station’s emblematic conservative personality?

I thought that question was strange.

"Yeah, we totally hang out like all the time. He's my BFF. We made and exchanged these rockin' friendship bracelets last week." [Extends wrist.]

Garage Mahal said...

Shorter Chris Wallace

Fox News gets a bad rap because we're clearly conservative. Liberals can suck it. Bill Clinton was unplugged because I was in the room, and because I say so.

Kurt said...

I'd agree with Gerald Hibbs' reading of the interview. I don't see Wallace's responses as being hostile as much as I see them as mostly being funny. This exchange reminds me a bit of watching the Letterman show, but with the roles reversed. Instead of a wise-ass interviewer who makes fun of some of his overly-serious guests, here we have an overly-earnest interviewer asking what she considers to be tough questions, and an interviewee who has a bit of fun with her as a result.

Coco said...

This was a weird interview all around. I read this every week just because I like the short somewhat random Q&A. At the same time I find SOlomon to be truly prickly, obnoxious and annoying (its the format I like, not the presentation). But Wallace seemed equally as prickly, obnoxious and annoying. So its a draw.

BUt I really wish they would dump Solomon.

johnstodderinexile said...

Over at Eat The Press, they have a link to a MediaBistro report of Wallace appearing on The Daily Show. There seems to be agreement over there that he was rude to Deborah Solomon, and rude to Jon Stewart -- teasing him about Steve Carell's movie success.

Since when are reporters supposed to be polite? Anyone ever seen "The Front Page?"

PWS said...

So the implication is that Chris Wallace is giving himself the same status as an ex-President? "I don't have to do follow-up because I'm as important as Clinton."
It seems insecure, unfriendly and inconsiderate.

Jeff said...

Deborah Solomon's interviews are jejune at best- witness her questions to William F. Buckley:

"You have made so many offensive comments over the years. Do you regret any of them?"

"You seem indifferent to suffering. Have you ever suffered yourself?"

I refer all here to some of her greatest hits.

LoafingOaf said...

After your father criticized President Bush recently, why did you say publicly that he had “lost it”?

I was teasing. Some people apparently don’t have much of a sense of humor.


Was that recently? It was like a year ago. Oh, but DailyKos diaries and the like trotted it back out recently in order to make attacks on Chris Wallace, saying he was "scum" who "threw his father under the bus." All because he dared to ask a legit and predictable question of a powerful man they feel they have to protect.

The purpose of this interview wasn't to learn anything about Chris Wallace. It was to tell all "proper thinking" Americans they should keep hating Fox News and praise Bill Clinton for going off on them with such "genuine feeling." Beyond that, it was for Solomon to tell the Clintonoids she is on their team against journalists who dare ask probing questions of Democrat Celebrity-Kings. Should land her some interviews with inner-circle Clintonoids in the future.

Coco said...

Unlike TimesWatch and other posters, I don't think Deb Solomon's prickly, annoying and obnoxious questioning has anything to do with he being part of a liberal media conspiracy - I just think she's all three of those things naturally.

Word verification: hykos

I hope this doesn't mean my comments will lead to a bombardment of posts from daily kosians.

Coco said...

Even stranger, I just realized that the post right above me mentioned Daily Kos. Word verification now predicts who will post.

new word verification: geejz

that says it all

The Exalted said...

that sure was hard hitting

the nyt at its best

Jeff said...

I don't understand the left's anger at Wallace- wasn't he just "speaking truth to power"(tm)?

Ooops- I gues that only counts when it's their idea of truth directed at someone else's power.

OhioAnne said...

So the implication is that Chris Wallace is giving himself the same status as an ex-President? "I don't have to do follow-up because I'm as important as Clinton."
It seems insecure, unfriendly and inconsiderate.


I think the implication was that Soloman had her chance to get the information she claims she wanted and blew it.

Her response to his comment: "gypcunyg" .... which is either the word verification or she's a "Firefly" fan. ;-)

Revenant said...

So the implication is that Chris Wallace is giving himself the same status as an ex-President?

Um... he *has* the same status as an ex-President. Last I checked we don't have royalty in this country. Clinton isn't entitled to special treatment or respect that ordinary people are undeserving of.

jinnmabe said...

Loved the exchange of "That doesn’t sound very convincing." and "I am sorry you’re not persuaded." Yes, Chris Wallace, your purpose here is to convince me, all-powerful Deborah.

Half of that interview is her statements to him. Is that what they teach in journalism school? I agree with whoever said it before, it's just a weird, weird interview.

chinesearithmetic said...

Journalists should never interview other journalists. Solomon's "Utopia Parkway: The Life and Work of Joseph Cornell," is so good that I can't bear to see her diminish her status in my eyes.