On Fox News Sunday, Brit Hume praised his own work -- the interview with Vice President Dick Cheney in Cheney's first public appearance since accidentally shooting his hunting partner -- saying "my job was to simply sit there and walk through this episode with him and ask all the relevant questions." In fact, Hume neglected to ask a number of relevant questions, as Media Matters for America has previously noted.
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On the February 19 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, Fox News Washington managing editor Brit Hume gave himself high marks for the manner in which he conducted his exclusive February 15 interview with Vice President Dick Cheney -- Cheney's first public appearance since accidentally shooting his hunting partner, Texas attorney Harry Whittington, on February 11. According to Hume, "[t]he last thing in the world that Dick Cheney needed on that day was a soft interview," and "my job was to simply sit there and walk through this episode with him and ask all the relevant questions. ... That's why, you know, there's no problem about asking about the drinking."
In fact, Hume neglected to ask a number of "relevant" questions, as Media Matters for America noted. For example, Cheney appeared to accept responsibility for shooting Whittington ("Well, ultimately, I'm the guy who pulled the trigger."), but Hume failed to ask Cheney why he allowed surrogates -- without challenging or correcting them -- to publicly blame Whittington for the accident. Also, following Cheney's admission to drinking a beer prior to the accident, Hume did not ask about statements by Katharine Armstrong -- the owner of the ranch where the incident occurred and Cheney's designated spokesperson -- that were mutually inconsistent and appeared to conflict with Cheney's admission. Moreover, notwithstanding Hume's evident pride in "asking about the drinking," the Fox News website withheld the portion of the interview dealing with Cheney's drinking, despite promising visitors streaming video of the "full interview," as Media Matters documented.
From the February 19 edition of Fox Broadcasting Co.'s Fox News Sunday, which featured host Chris Wallace:
WALLACE: Let me just -- because -- before we leave this subject, Brit, I -- you became part of the story this week with your interview, the only interview with the vice president, and some of our colleagues in the press said -- compared it to "Bonnie interviewing Clyde", "a Soviet leader sitting down with Pravda." How do you respond?
HUME: You know, I thought there'd be more of that than there was, actually, but that kind of thing completely misses the point of what was going on here. The last thing in the world that Dick Cheney needed on that day was a soft interview, because he was trying to get this thing over with. And the only way to get it over with was to answer every question that anybody might have, within reason. So, you know, I was headed down to the White House to do the interview that day, and I was thinking, you know, I've had interviews with Vice President Cheney in which he has not been tremendously forthcoming, and I thought God, you know, what am I going to do if he does that?
And then the more I thought about it, the more I thought there's no way he was going to do that. But my job was simply to sit there and walk through this episode with him and ask all the relevant questions, because he was ready to answer them and needed to answer them. That's why, you know, there's no problem about asking about the drinking, no problem about any of it. And that was why the interview, I think, came out as it did, because he was ready to talk, and knew he needed to, and to get it over with, and I think that, you know, except for the -- except for the shouting here that goes on in the little aftermath and the silly news weeklies -- this thing's over.