I’d have put this into the earlier thread, but given the massive response to Chris Wallace’s question this morning to Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), it seems fairer to give this a fresh look. Not long after Wallace asked Bachmann if she was a “flake” for making a few gaffes over the last few years, Wallace heard an earful from his audience. He faced the criticism head-on and apologized in a Fox News Sunday web video:
Give the man some credit. Wallace didn’t offer a “sorry if you were offended by my genius” non-apology apology. He deduced — rightly — that having the question overshadow the answer in an interview is usually a mistake, and accepted it as such. Wallace is right that Bachmann’s perceived seriousness is a legitimate topic for an interview, considering her status as a presidential candidate, but at the very least Wallace should have provided better contextual basis for his question. Had he said, “So-and-so called you a flake,” or better yet, “So-and-so questioned your seriousness in light of these gaffes,” he would have opened the same topic but in a better and more fair manner for Bachmann to respond.
As Wallace says, every day is a learning experience. More than a few people in his position would be tempted to dig in and defend a poor choice. Kudos to Wallace for learning a lesson and admitting to it.
Still, when will the national media start questioning Obama’s seriousness if rhetorical gaffes are the determining factor, as they apparently are for Republicans such as Bachmann, Sarah Palin, and George W. Bush? That’s a question I ask almost every day in the Obamateurism feature.