Media Bias and the 60 Minutes Obama-Clinton Interview


Conservatives’ complaints about liberal bias in the mainstream media are like complaints about the weather in February.  They are tiresome, because we have heard them so many times.  But they are also true.  And it can be worthwhile pointing out the truth even at the expense of being tiresome, in the hope that it might lead to some improvement.  We can’t reform the weather, but there is some slight hope that the media will learn to be less biased if someone points out the most egregious examples of it.

This brings us to the recent 60 Minutes interview with President Obama and outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  The interview was conducted by veteran journalist Steve Kroft.  One is tempted to call Kroft’s questions “softball,” except that it seems there needs to be some more accurate term.  What is softer than softball?

The Atlantic‘s Conor Friedersdorf has done a great job of analyzing this interview as an example of fawning journalism.  I can’t improve on his article, so I will just point it out to Catholic Vote readers.  I will observe, however, that the Friedersdorf critique is especially noteworthy on two counts.  First, it is not a typical conservative complaint about liberal media bias.  Friedersdorf is not a conservative, and the Atlantic is not a conservative journal.  Second, Friedersdorf really has the goods on 60 Minutes.  He compares Kroft’s hand-holding of Obama and Clinton to the brutally combative questions for President Bush in a 60 Minutes interview several years ago.

Kroft should be embarrassed by this interview.  If he is incapable of such embarrassment, he should be writing for Tiger Beat.  It would be more honorable to actually engage in celebrity journalism for teenage girls that to turn political journalism into a version of Tiger Beat for liberal hero-worshippers.

The views expressed here are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views of


About Author

Carson Holloway is a political scientist and the author of The Way of Life: John Paul II and the Challenge of Liberal Modernity (Baylor University Press), The Right Darwin? Evolution, Religion, and the Future of Democracy (Spence Publishing), and All Shook Up: Music, Passion and Politics (Spence Publishing), and the editor of a collection of essays entitled Magnanimity and Statesmanship (Lexington Books). His articles have appeared in the Review of Politics, Interpretation: A Journal of Political Philosophy, Perspectives on Political Science, and First Things. He is a regular contributor to the online journal The Public Discourse. Holloway was a 2005-06 William E. Simon Visiting Fellow in Religion and Public Life in the James Madison Program at Princeton University. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Northern Illinois University in 1998.

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