… But both parties are not rotten in quite the same way. The Democrats have their share of machine politicians, careerists, corporate bagmen, egomaniacs and kooks. Nothing, however, quite matches the modern GOP. [...] – Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult
Fox News Channel and Chris Wallace won’t be leaving the “cult” anytime soon. In fact, today is representative of how they keep the cult alive, along with the mythology that helps promote, but also hide, the rancid reality of Republicanism today, not only where the economy is concerned, but also on matters of national security.
If you want to get an idea of how awful Chris Wallace is as a news man, today was another example. While discussing Cheney’s book, Mr. Wallace danced around 9/11 without ever once mentioning the killing of Osama bin Laden and the mission Pres. Obama approved to get that job done. It’s the exact opposite approach he took with former Pres. Clinton one day in 2006, with the entire spectacle today on Fox representative of the worst of today’s national security media mendacity.
What’s even worse is that Chris Wallace allowed former V.P. Dick Cheney to once again embellish, some would say continue to perpetuate a historical lie when compared to the facts, his role on 9/11. I’ve written about it before, in 2007 and in 2006, with the second link to 2006 giving you an example of the types of questions Wallace asked former Pres. Bill Clinton compared to how Wallace tip toes around Dick Cheney.
So, take yourself back…
All hell has broken loose, with hijacked planes bearing down on the nation’s capitol, Washington, D.C. and outlying areas and and the financial center of the United States, New York City.
V.P. Dick Cheney has been whisked to the bunker for safety, but according to Mr. Cheney, he’s also in charge of events.
What kind of man lies about his role on 9/11?
Unfortunately, it’s now becoming legend, as Mr. Cheney once again regurgitated his story to Chris Wallace, who did nothing to challenge his version of events.
Nasypany starts walking up and down the floor, asking all his section heads and weapons techs if they are prepared to shoot down a civilian airliner if need be, but he’s jumping the gun: he doesn’t have the authority to order a shootdown, nor does Marr or Arnold, or Vice President Cheney, for that matter. The order will need to come from President Bush, who has only just learned of the attack at a photo op in Florida.
[...] A former senior executive at the F.A.A., speaking to me on the condition that I not identify him by name, tried to explain. “Our whole procedures prior to 9/11 were that you turned everything [regarding a hijacking] over to the F.B.I.,” he said, reiterating that hijackers had never actually flown airplanes; it was expected that they’d land and make demands. “There were absolutely no shootdown protocols at all. The F.A.A. had nothing to do with whether they were going to shoot anybody down. We had no protocols or rules of engagement.”
In his bunker under the White House, Vice President Cheney was not notified about United 93 until 10:02—only one minute before the airliner impacted the ground. Yet it was with dark bravado that the vice president and others in the Bush administration would later recount sober deliberations about the prospect of shooting down United 93. “Very, very tough decision, and the president understood the magnitude of that decision,” Bush’s then chief of staff, Andrew Card, told ABC News.
Cheney echoed, “The significance of saying to a pilot that you are authorized to shoot down a plane full of Americans is, a, you know, it’s an order that had never been given before.” And it wasn’t on 9/11, either.
President Bush would finally grant commanders the authority to give that order at 10:18, which—though no one knew it at the time—was 15 minutes after the attack was over.
Rewriting Bush-Cheney history has been happening a lot in the Obama era.
Now segue to Wallace interviewing former Pres. Bill Clinton in 2006. While Wallace today didn’t bother to ask Cheney why former Pres. George W. Bush said he was “truly not that concerned” about bin Laden. As you can witness by former Pres. Bill Clinton’s response to Wallace’s blatant bias, love him or hate him, the Big Dawg didn’t take Chris’ crap when Wallace tried to sandbag him on 9/11. Here’s the excerpt, since minds have gone soft as we approach the commemoration of the horrific tragedy next week.
WALLACE: When we announced that you were going to be on Fox News Sunday, I got a lot of email from viewers, and I got to say I was surprised most of them wanted me to ask you this question. Why didn’t you do more to put Bin Laden and al Qaeda out of business when you were President? There’s a new book out which I suspect you’ve read called the Looming Tower. And it talks about how the fact that when you pulled troops out of Somalia in 1993, Bin Laden said “I have seen the frailty and the weakness and the cowardice of US troops.” Then there was the bombing of the embassies in Africa and the attack on the USS Cole.
WALLACE: Let me — let me — may I just finish the question, sir?
And after the attack, the book says that bin Laden separated his leaders, spread them around, because he expected an attack, and there was no response.
I understand that hindsight is always 20/20…
CLINTON: No let’s talk about–
WALLACE: …but the question is why didn’t you do more, connect the dots and put them out of business?
CLINTON: OK, let’s talk about it. I will answer all of those things on the merits but I want to talk about the context of which this arises. I’m being asked this on the FOX network. ABC just had a right wing conservative on the Path to 9/11 falsely claim that it was based on the 9/11 Commission report with three things asserted against me that are directly contradicted by the 9/11 Commission report. I think it’s very interesting that all the conservative Republicans who now say that I didn’t do enough, claimed that I was obsessed with Bin Laden. All of President Bush’s neocons claimed that I was too obsessed with finding Bin Laden when they didn’t have a single meeting about Bin Laden for the nine months after I left office. All the right wingers who now say that I didn’t do enough said that I did too much. Same people.
Clinton takes on Fox News bias:
WALLACE: Do you think you did enough sir?
CLINTON: No, because I didn’t get him.
CLINTON: But at least I tried. That’s the difference in me and some, including all the right wingers who are attacking me now. They ridiculed me for trying. They had eight months to try and they didn’t. I tried. So I tried and failed. When I failed I left a comprehensive anti-terror strategy and the best guy in the country, Dick Clarke. So you did FOX’s bidding on this show. You did you nice little conservative hit job on me. But what I want to know..
WALLACE: Well, wait a minute, sir.
CLINTON: No, wait. No, no…
WALLACE: I want to ask a question. You don’t think that’s a legitimate question?
CLINTON: It was a perfectly legitimate question, but I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked this question of.
I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked, Why didn’t you do anything about the Cole?
I want to know how many you asked, Why did you fire Dick Clarke?
I want to know how many people you asked…
WALLACE: We asked — we asked…
CLINTON: I don’t…
WALLACE: Do you ever watch Fox News Sunday, sir?
CLINTON: I don’t believe you asked them that.
WALLACE: We ask plenty of questions of…
CLINTON: You didn’t ask that, did you? Tell the truth, Chris.
WALLACE: About the USS Cole?
CLINTON: Tell the truth, Chris.
WALLACE: With Iraq and Afghanistan, there’s plenty of stuff to ask.
CLINTON: Did you ever ask that?
You set this meeting up because you were going to get a lot of criticism from your viewers because Rupert Murdoch’s supporting my work on climate change.
And you came here under false pretenses and said that you’d spend half the time talking about — you said you’d spend half the time talking about what we did out there to raise $7-billion-plus in three days from 215 different commitments. And you don’t care.
WALLACE: But, President Clinton, if you look at the questions here, you’ll see half the questions are about that. I didn’t think this was going to set you off on such a tear.
CLINTON: You launched it — it set me off on a tear because you didn’t formulate it in an honest way and because you people ask me questions you don’t ask the other side.
WALLACE: That’s not true. Sir, that is not true.
CLINTON: And Richard Clarke made it clear in his testimony…
WALLACE: Would you like to talk about the Clinton Global Initiative?
CLINTON: No, I want to finish this now.
WALLACE: All right. Well, after you.
CLINTON: All I’m saying is, you falsely accused me of giving aid and comfort to bin Laden because of what happened in Somalia. No one knew Al Qaida existed then. And…
WALLACE: But did they know in 1996 when he declared war on the U.S.? Did they know in 1998…
CLINTON: Absolutely, they did.
WALLACE: … when he bombed the two embassies?
CLINTON: And who talked about…
WALLACE: Did they know in 2000 when he hit the Cole?
CLINTON: What did I do? What did I do? I worked hard to try to kill him. I authorized a finding for the CIA to kill him. We contracted with people to kill him. I got closer to killing him than anybody has gotten since. And if I were still president, we’d have more than 20,000 troops there trying to kill him.
Now, I’ve never criticized President Bush, and I don’t think this is useful. But you know we do have a government that thinks Afghanistan is only one-seventh as important as Iraq.
And you ask me about terror and Al Qaida with that sort of dismissive thing? When all you have to do is read Richard Clarke’s book to look at what we did in a comprehensive, systematic way to try to protect the country against terror.
And you’ve got that little smirk on your face and you think you’re so clever. But I had responsibility for trying to protect this country. I tried and I failed to get bin Laden. I regret it. But I did try. And I did everything I thought I responsibly could.
The entire military was against sending Special Forces in to Afghanistan and refueling by helicopter. And no one thought we could do it otherwise, because we could not get the CIA and the FBI to certify that Al Qaida was responsible while I was president.
And so, I left office. And yet, I get asked about this all the time. They had three times as much time to deal with it, and nobody ever asks them about it. I think that’s strange.
The entire interview from 2006 is instructive. Because whatever you think of Clinton, and his third way-ism, NAFTA and other policies that were destructive to progressive economics, while paving the way for Obama’s Republicanism, at least the man didn’t use kumbaya bipartisan excuses to keep from fighting battles that need to be fought. Bipartisanship for Clinton didn’t require caving to wingnuts out of fear of partisanship or because he might scare off Independents.
As for Dick Cheney’s other claim today on Fox News Sunday that Obama’s made the economy worse, said with a straight face and without a hint of irony, Chris Wallace didn’t challenge him on that either. The fact that Bush-Cheney kept the wars off the budget, gave massive tax cuts that produced no jobs, while blowing the surplus Clinton left them, with the list a lot longer than this, none of this was on Chris Wallace’s mind either.
That’s because Mr. Wallace feels more comfortable catering to the Fox News audience, so presenting facts over ideological fluffery isn’t his top priority. He does prove why they’re the least informed, because he and others on the network make sure of it.
Simply, do you think there was a liberal bias in the mainstream media? – Chris Wallace to former V.P. Dick Cheney
Maybe Mr. Wallace should try his luck at comedy, because as a journalist, “fair and balanced” or otherwise, he continues to fail.