Fox’s Chris Wallace Takes Heat For Asking Michele Bachmann “Are You A Flake?”
Last week Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace was lauded by the right for what they perceived as a take down of Daily Show host Jon Stewart. This week, he got vilified for asking Michele Bachmann a question:
As Rep. Michele Bachmann’s (R-Minn) presidential candidacy grows more serious, and as her position in the Iowa polls continues to strengthen, she will, undoubtedly, be asked about some of the more provocative avowals she’s made in her past.
Sunday was — sort of — one of those moments. While Fox News Chris Wallace didn’t press the Minnesota Republican on any specific statement — whether it be that President Barack Obama was creating a gangster government, that anti-American sentiment existed in Congress, or that NATO air strikes had killed up to 30,000 civilians in Libya — he did touch on the broader point.
“Are you a flake?” he asked.
Bachmann seemed offended by the line of inquiry. “I think that would be insulting to say something like that because I’m a serious person,” she explained. She then went on to tout all the ways in which she was, indeed, serious.
“I’m 55 years old. I’ve been married 33 years,” she said. “I’m not only a lawyer, I have a post-doctorate degree in federal tax law from William and Mary. I’ve worked in serious scholarship … my husband and I have raised five kids, we’ve raised 23 foster children. We’ve applied ourselves to education reform. We started a charter school for at-risk kids. I’ve also been a state senator and member of the United States Congress for five years.”
“Do you recognize that now that you are in the spotlight in a way that you weren’t before that you have to be careful,” he said, with the tone of a professional counselor as opposed to an interviewer.
“Of course a person has to be careful with the statements they make,” replied Bachmann. “I think now will be an opportunity to speak fully on the issues. I look forward to that.”
The reaction from the right was immediate, and predictable. Jim Hoft called the question awful. William Jacobson said it was the beginning of the Palinization of Bachmann (ironically, of course, Palin works for the same network as Wallace). Ed Morrissey used the question as a opportunity to talk about Barack Obama’s verbal gaffes. On the left, Taylor Marsh trotted out the sexism canard. And, so, Chris Wallace found himself forced to apologize:
Here’s the video of the question itself, via Mediaite:
Judge for yourself, but I don’t see what’s wrong with Wallace’s question. Given Bachmann’s history, it’s perfectly legitimate and, actually, I thought she handled the question well. Apparently, though, any perceived insult of a conservative, even on Fox, is now verboten.
A wise man once said something that I think apples here — If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Tough questions are part of politics, and if you’re going to whine and complain every time one of your favored candidates gets asked a hard question then you really don’t belong in the arena.