The Chris Wallace insult to Michele Bachmann

There's no way that the chuckling, aw-shucks apology proffered to Michele Bachmann in a web-video by Fox's Chris Wallace makes sufficient amends for smearing the candidate in their interview on Fox News Sunday. Registered Democrat Wallace gave Obama and the Democrats a valuable sound-bite for their campaign ads while assuring that the words "Bachmann" and "flake" will be inextricably linked on Google and other search engines for the foreseeable future. A slur in front of a national television audience is in no way ameliorated by a pre-vacation web video unlikely to be circulated much beyond the confines of the alternative media. I submit to you that the apology is disingenuous in that Wallace carries the same smirk in his apologia that he wore when posing his insulting question to Representative Bachmann.

Anyone who has seen the video can tell that Rep. Bachmann was hurt by Wallace's aspersion. The question fits the "when-did-you-stop-beating your-wife" mold we have come to expect from the claque media. We certainly hold Fox News to a higher standard. Clearly, Bachmann was blind-sided by Wallace's cheap shot.

Perhaps Wallace just couldn't help himself. Maybe he has a genetic predisposition to ambush journalism. His father, Mike Wallace, long of 60 minutes fame, may just be the most famous and determined ambush journalist in the history of media. Despite the fact that the elder Wallace provided little contact with his son until late in his teenage years, Chris seems to have developed a similar left-leaning penchant.

He was, after all, raised by his step-father CBS News President, Bill Leonard, the man who hand-picked Dan Rather for his anchor job. Leonard also gave Chris his first reporting gig at the 1964 Republican National Convention, assisting Walter Cronkite. In his capacity as anchor at Sunday NBC Nightly News, Wallace was known to be confrontational when questioning Ronald Reagan.

Despite the left-wing characterization of Fox News as an extreme right-wing organization, the fact remains that many of its staffers lean toward the Democrats. Shepard Smith's reporting smacks of his longing for all things left of center, and Bill O'Reilly is ready to hug Obama's knees at a moment's notice.

Ralph Alter is a regular contributor to American Thinker. He blogs at www.rightot.blogspot.com

Thomas Lifson counters:

While I agree that Rep. Bachmann appeared personally hurt by Wallace's oafish phrasing of the question, I am not certain that the incident has hurt her. The media are doing their best to Palinize Bachmann, portraying her every verbal gaffe as evidence of idiocy, and characterizing her support of the Constitution as dangerous radicalism.

By whacking her with the "flake" accusation, Wallace enabled her to deal with it -- which she did quite handily. By apologizing, Wallace set a standard for others. This will not be a career help for him. Perhaps it was a scarifice bunt?

There's no way that the chuckling, aw-shucks apology proffered to Michele Bachmann in a web-video by Fox's Chris Wallace makes sufficient amends for smearing the candidate in their interview on Fox News Sunday. Registered Democrat Wallace gave Obama and the Democrats a valuable sound-bite for their campaign ads while assuring that the words "Bachmann" and "flake" will be inextricably linked on Google and other search engines for the foreseeable future. A slur in front of a national television audience is in no way ameliorated by a pre-vacation web video unlikely to be circulated much beyond the confines of the alternative media. I submit to you that the apology is disingenuous in that Wallace carries the same smirk in his apologia that he wore when posing his insulting question to Representative Bachmann.

Anyone who has seen the video can tell that Rep. Bachmann was hurt by Wallace's aspersion. The question fits the "when-did-you-stop-beating your-wife" mold we have come to expect from the claque media. We certainly hold Fox News to a higher standard. Clearly, Bachmann was blind-sided by Wallace's cheap shot.

Perhaps Wallace just couldn't help himself. Maybe he has a genetic predisposition to ambush journalism. His father, Mike Wallace, long of 60 minutes fame, may just be the most famous and determined ambush journalist in the history of media. Despite the fact that the elder Wallace provided little contact with his son until late in his teenage years, Chris seems to have developed a similar left-leaning penchant.

He was, after all, raised by his step-father CBS News President, Bill Leonard, the man who hand-picked Dan Rather for his anchor job. Leonard also gave Chris his first reporting gig at the 1964 Republican National Convention, assisting Walter Cronkite. In his capacity as anchor at Sunday NBC Nightly News, Wallace was known to be confrontational when questioning Ronald Reagan.

Despite the left-wing characterization of Fox News as an extreme right-wing organization, the fact remains that many of its staffers lean toward the Democrats. Shepard Smith's reporting smacks of his longing for all things left of center, and Bill O'Reilly is ready to hug Obama's knees at a moment's notice.

Ralph Alter is a regular contributor to American Thinker. He blogs at www.rightot.blogspot.com

Thomas Lifson counters:

While I agree that Rep. Bachmann appeared personally hurt by Wallace's oafish phrasing of the question, I am not certain that the incident has hurt her. The media are doing their best to Palinize Bachmann, portraying her every verbal gaffe as evidence of idiocy, and characterizing her support of the Constitution as dangerous radicalism.

By whacking her with the "flake" accusation, Wallace enabled her to deal with it -- which she did quite handily. By apologizing, Wallace set a standard for others. This will not be a career help for him. Perhaps it was a scarifice bunt?

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