A little over three years ago, CBS sent Dan Rather to Baghdad to ask meaningless questions to, and provide a propaganda vehicle for, Saddam Hussein. Last night, Communication for Barbarians Service broadcast Mike Wallace's equally meaningless interview with the Islamic Republic of Iran's fanatical leader.
Interviews with evil leaders are meaningless at best and destructive at worst. Few reporters will ask real questions or challenge the propaganda responses of these leaders. These interviews merely offer them invaluable "humanizing" time and ask questions that reconfirm the low state of television news.
Here are some of the tough questions Mike Wallace asked one of the vilest leaders on earth today: What he thinks of President Bush, why he is concerned about how his jacket looks on television and what he does for leisure. Never once did he challenge Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's attacks on America -- such as America's loving war, seeking to be an imperial power or oppressing its own people.
When asked about his statements that the Holocaust is a "myth," Ahmadinejad replied, "What I did say was, if this is a reality, if this is real, where did it take place?" Wallace did not respond to the leader of a country saying "if" the Holocaust "is real" with a single question. But he probably laughed more with Ahmadinejad than any American news reporter has ever laughed on camera with the president of the United States.
If CBS wanted anything more than ratings and Wallace wanted to be more than a "useful idiot" (Lenin's phrase for the Western journalists and academics who supported Soviet Communism), here are some questions he should have asked Ahmadinejad:
In countries with a free press and where history is understood as consisting of verifiable facts, anyone who denies the Holocaust, the systematic murder of approximately 6 million Jews by the Nazis, is regarded as either an anti-Semite or a kook or both. You have repeatedly denied the Holocaust. Why should the world not regard you as either a kook or an anti-Semite? And do you understand why most free societies wish to prevent you from acquiring nuclear weapons?
Given that you have announced that you wish Israel to be erased from the map, why would those countries that do not share your desire to extinguish a country not try to prevent you from acquiring nuclear weapons?