'60 Minutes' Grills the New President

By L. Brent Bozell III and Tim Graham | November 16, 2016 | 6:32am EST
President-elect Donald Trump and his wife Melania speak to Leslie Stahl on CBS's "60 Minutes." The interview, taped on Friday, Nov. 11, 2016, aired the following Sunday, Nov. 13. (AP/CBS Photo)

Donald Trump is a persistent critic of the media and is attacked for not granting them enough access. But three days after the election, there he was, the president-elect, recording a long interview with Lesley Stahl of CBS' "60 Minutes," whom he could expect to push, push, push from the left.

Stahl presented him as a terror for minorities: "I want to ask you all about something that's going on right now around the country. A lot of people are afraid. They're really afraid. African-Americans think there's a target on their back. Muslims are terrified." Trump accurately replied that's "horrible," but it's "built up by the press."

She kept channeling fears. Are you really going to build a wall and deport millions? Are you really going to appoint a Supreme Court justice that will overturn Roe v. Wade? Are you really going to repeal and replace Obamacare? Are you really going to appoint a special prosecutor for Hillary Clinton's email fiasco?

CBS News presented Trump's election as a nightmare for everyone — including the millions who eagerly voted for him — and heavily implied he needs to take back every campaign promise it can't abide. This is how the media try to run America between the elections. Stahl wants to repeal and replace the decision voters just made.

And yet, the liberals were unsatisfied with CBS. New York Daily News columnist Gersh Kuntzman complained, "Lesley Stahl played the Matt Lauer role on '60 Minutes' on Sunday night, letting President-elect Trump off the hook on virtually every issue." Apparently, she needed to slap him after every unsatisfactory answer.

If liberals want to know what it's like to let a new president off the hook, go back to 2008. On Nov. 9, the first Sunday after the election, "60 Minutes" interviewed then-President elect Barack Obama's campaign aides David Axelrod, David Plouffe, Robert Gibbs and Anita Dunn. Interviewer Steve Kroft asked in amazement: "You ran an incredibly effective and disciplined campaign, maybe the most effective, I mean, certainly one of the most effective presidential campaigns that's ever been run. There was no infighting, no real leaks, almost no turnover. How did you manage that? Even the Republicans were in awe."

No one was asked about the American people being terrified of Obama. No one was asked whether Obama would scare people by daring to enact things he promised during the campaign. No one asked how easy it is to look "effective and disciplined" with a supine media.

On Nov. 16, 2008, Kroft suggested to Obama that he could be the next Franklin Delano Roosevelt: "People are comparing this to 1932. ... Is that a valid comparison, do you think?" Obama didn't accept the hyperbole: "Well, keep in mind that (in) 1932 (and) 1933 the unemployment rate was 25 percent, inching up to 30 percent."

Like Stahl, Kroft pressed from the left, asking, "How high a priority are you placing on re-regulation of the financial markets?" He also pressed Obama to say whether he will "take early action" to issue executive orders "to shut down Guantanamo Bay" and "change interrogation methods that are used by U.S. troops?" Obama said, "I have said repeatedly that I intend to close Guantanamo, and I will follow through on that."

This is why anyone who watches television news for an hour or two knows CBS and the rest of the "objective" media favor the left. They're going to spend the next four years doubling down on their effort to tar Trump as a politically incorrect horror and lunging to prevent everything conservative that Trump ever promised to implement. The only path for him to get positive coverage is to cave in desperately to their agenda.

L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. Tim Graham is director of media analysis at the Media Research Center and executive editor of the blog


CNSNews Reader,

The media are hard at work weaving a web of confusion, misinformation, and conspiracy surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

CNSNews covers the stories that the liberal media are afraid to touch. It drives the national debate through real, honest journalism—not by misrepresenting or ignoring the facts.

CNSNews has emerged as the conservative media’s lynchpin for original reporting, investigative reporting, and breaking news. We are part of the only organization purely dedicated to this critical mission and we need your help to fuel this fight.

Donate today to help CNSNews continue to report on topics that the liberal media refuse to touch. $25 a month goes a long way in the fight for a free and fair media.

And now, thanks to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, you can make up to a $300 gift to the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization of your choice and use it as a tax deduction on your 2020 taxes, even if you take the standard deduction on your returns.

— The CNSNews Team



Sign up for our CNSNews Daily Newsletter to receive the latest news.