60 Minutes’ interview with Ahmadenijad reminded me of the deep fear that US news organizations have of their own government and the great decline in journalistic integrity that is now pervasive in this country.
Pelley was on the attack without even an introduction. It was not so much an interview as it was a cross-examination. Its purpose was to put Ahmadinejad on the spot and it did. Is Iran interested in building a nuclear weapon? Does Iran send weapons to Iraq? Iran’s President handled the questions deftly and nothing new was revealed that common sense hadn’t already informed.
Do I think Iran wants a nuclear weapon? Sure. Someday. What that proves I don’t know. After observing what has happened in Iraq, any country that has large oil reserves, and now doesn’t think that one day it might need a nuclear weapon to defend itself, is living in a dream world.
Ahmadinejad is not a friend of the US or of Israel. He has said some ridiculous things in his day. My comments are not in his or Iran’s defense. They have nothing to do with him. This is about the state of American journalism.
What struck me was that the interview was more about Pelley than it was about finding out what Ahmadinejad might have to say. It was about whether or not Pelley could demonstrate his ability to be an aggressive journalist. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a safe target if not an easy mark.
So all Pelley demonstrated, as far as I could tell, was that no one at 60 Minutes or any other mainstream media organization would ever have the guts to interview Bush or Cheney in the same manner. If we ever could find someone who would be willing to ask tough penetrating unscripted questions of Bush or Cheney, I guess it would be the last interview they would ever do. Of course neither Bush nor Cheney would ever participate in such an event, so that’s just a moot point anyway. I wonder if the US ever sends weapons into countries where it has no business being.
So the only significant piece of information that was revealed by the exchange was that when interviewing certain foreign dignitaries, (i.e., those who have been labeled by the Bush administration as evil), it is ok to take the leash off and remove the muzzle from our journalists for the event. Just be sure that they are quickly replaced as soon as the interview is over.
I’m sure Bush and Cheney enjoyed the exchange and Pelley got his bone.