Swinging at softballs

When former Vice President Dick Cheney sat down with Chris Wallace for an interview on “Fox News Sunday,” no one seriously expected a tough interview. But even with low expectations, the exchange that aired yesterday was just embarrassing.

Consider, for example, how the pre-recorded interview ended:

For those who can’t watch clips online, Wallace thanked Cheney for appearing on the program — which isn’t at all unusual — and then reached across the table to shake for the VP’s hand and said, “I want to thank you for your service to our nation, sir.” The host then told viewers that Cheney’s book is “a very good read.”

The interview itself was no better. Talking about Cheney giving the order to shoot down hijacked planes, Wallace asked, “What’s that moment like?”

The host noted President Obama’s upcoming speech on the economy and asked for Cheney’s thoughts. When the former vice president said he hasn’t “seen what’s going to be in that plan yet,” Wallace said, “Supposedly, infrastructure, extending pay roll cuts. More of the same.”

Wallace also asked, “Do you think the Democrats would have been better off in 2012 with Hillary Clinton as the nominee?” followed soon after by, “[D]o you think there was a liberal bias in the mainstream media?”

That wasn’t an interview; this was a joke.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.