Cheat-Seeking Missles

Monday, August 14, 2006

Ahmadinejad The Nice

Some deep psychological defect in me caused me to miss the Ahmadinejad interview on 60 Minutes ... I really meant to watch it, but when the time came, the Monk Marathon on USA won out. I must not be taking the right dose on my Serious Pills.

But really, it's better for this written word guy to read the transcript than watch the show. Better for my analysis, better for my blood pressure.

With just words, without the glistening smile and the nice-fitting suit and the just-right tenor to his voice, Ahmadinejad comes off as warm -- but in the oily warmth of a politician who knows he's not going to go anywhere near your questions, but will smile and bridge to the subject he wants.

It is evident that Ahmadinejad was briefed on how to talk to the Kos Krowd (which responded, predictably, positively). Energy? How's this for "Big Oil's behind it all?"
"We think that Mr. Bush's team and the parties that support him want to monopolize energy resources in the world. Because once they have that they can impose their opinions, points of view, policies on other nations and, of course, line their own pockets."
The Kos Krowd must have felt particularly chummy with Mahmoud when he said this, in response to an un-followed-up-on question about Iran providing IEDs and other weapons to Iraq:
Instead of security, he says the United States is oppressing Iraq, and instead of calling the United States, "the great Satan," as the Ayatollah Khomeini did, Ahmadinejad calls the United States "the great oppressor." "We are opposed to oppression," the president told Wallace. "We support whoever is victimized and oppressed even the oppressed people of the U.S."

Wallace, who in his prime prided himself at nailing people he interviewed to the wall, couldn't get Ahmadinejad to admit anything. The answer above was all we got on whether Iran is supplying weapons that are used against us and Israel. It's a pretty pathetic example of bridging -- the common politispeak technique -- but it stumped Wallace.

Similarly, Ahamdinejad oiled his way past his calls for Israel's destruction and his denials of the holocaust. He's got so much oiliness that Iran will never need nuclear power.

And Wallace was utterly unwilling to gut through it. When he pressed, gently, on the destruction of Israel question, Ahmadinejad suggested the interview might be over. Wallace wimped out:

"Well, one of your questions required — all of your questions require a book-long answer. If you want me to just finish the interview, please tell me and we can wrap up right now," the president said.

"No, no, no, no, no," Wallace said. ... "I couldn't be happier for the privilege of sitting down with the president of Iran," Wallace said.

And that's the rub of the whole thing -- with people like Wallace, scoring the interview's the thing; it's the trophy, it's mightier than an Emmy. They brag, "I got Ahmedinejad" or "I got Saddam Hussein" or "I got Kim Jong Il."

But they "got" no one. They were gotten, because they are so eager to get the interview that they become inept at pushing hard, as they would if they were interviewing a common Republican. So who got whom? Or as Bookworm so perfectly put it:
Having written all this, I’ve come to the conclusion that the 60 Minutes interview involved not one madman, but two.
Related Tags: , , ,