“Objective” Chris Wallace joined Sean Hannity in making the unrest in Ukraine and Syria about President Obama. Wallace was slyer about it, of course. He honed in on comments he almost surely guessed his Republican guest would make, then suggested she expand upon it by “just asking” whether Obama might have contributed to the problems there and with Iran. Guess what she answered?
Here’s how it worked. On today's Fox News Sunday, Wallace’s opening question to Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), was perfectly legitimate and objective:
WALLACE: Senator Ayotte, as we say, Ukraine’s parliament has voted President Yanukovych out of office, but he is calling it a coup and refusing to step down. What happens now?
I do not think Wallace knew how Ayotte would respond to that particular question. But I do think he had reason to believe that at some point, she would criticize Obama. And she got right to it in the latter part of her answer to that question:
AYOTTE: …I believe the president needs to up his game and send a clear, unequivocal, public message to Putin not to interfere in what is happening in Ukraine, to let the Ukrainian people determine their future, to ensure that there is no interference in their sovereignty and I think this is an important time for him to do that.
There was the opportunity that Wallace was waiting for. We know he had prepared for it in advance because he had a video clip ready to go with it. From the Fox News transcript:
WALLACE: Let me pick up on that because President Obama famously came into office saying that he intended to repair relations between the United States and Russia, which brought us to that famous moment involving then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Russian foreign minister. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HILLARY CLINTON, THEN-SECRETARY OF STATE: I wanted to present you with a little gift which represents what President Obama and Vice President Biden and I have been saying, and that is we want to reset our relationship.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Let’s do it together.
CLINTON: We will do it together.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: But it turns that instead of reset, in Russian the button said “overcharge” and that’s where the problems began. Senator Ayotte, has President Obama’s reset effort with Russia failed, and has it contributed to the problems that we have in Ukraine, in Syria, in Iran?
AYOTTE: Yes, it has, Chris, and I think that’s why this is an opportunity for the president to really be unequivocal with Putin right now in the Ukraine, what happens in the Ukraine very much matters. They need to determine their future, not Russia. We have seen, obviously, behavior from Putin - from harboring Snowden to the efforts to interfere in Syria and also with arming the Assad regime - in addition to that, thinking about the reports of their violations of the IMF treaty, their reset policy has failed.
Of course, the United States is maneuvering behind the scenes on Ukraine. The other guest, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) hinted as much when he said:
We have to combine our efforts with the European Union to help Ukraine move forward in a peaceful Democratic way. We have to put the pressure on Putin to stop his efforts to undermine this natural evolution towards democracy…
…There are political forces involved in this, and that’s the way we should work with them—political and economic force moving Ukraine in the right direction towards democracy.
But instead of exploring what the U.S might actually be doing, Wallace immediately turned to Senator Ayotte to get more of her predictions of what might happen next. Even though he had already asked her that in his first question.
Proof yet again, in case you needed any, that Fox presents any news story through the prism of its Republican agenda.
By the way, I highly recommend this New York Times article as a primer on the situation in Ukraine.
Of course, it’s also the network that enabled Dubya when he
FoxNoise just absolutely lurvs themselves some Vlady Putin. I wonder which