On Sept. 7, Fox News Channel contributor and former Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) told his bosses at Fox News that he was confident he could get an interview with Syrian Pres. Bashar al-Assad. Kucinich, in his capacity as a member of Congress, had met Assad before.
Fox News then had to decide how to produce an interview, using an interviewer who isn’t a journalist, but rather a politician-turned-pundit. So they called up Greg Palkot, FNC’s Senior Foreign Affairs correspondent. “I decided that Kucinich should pursue the interview, on condition that FOX News journalists would also be included,” says Fox News EVP Michael Clemente.
Fast-forward 10 days, to yesterday. Kucinich and Palkot are side-by-side, while Clemente is in a control room in the Syrian Presidential Palace (set up temporarily, we’re told, as Assad has been giving several interviews of late). While Fox News used a Syrian camera crew, Clemente says the interview “was conducted with no restrictions on the questions that could be asked.”
News of the interview was first reported by British journalists in Syria, including ITV’s Bill Neely. A few hours later Atlantic Wire wondered: “It’s interesting that Fox News sent Kucinich to interview Assad and not, say, their hard news front man Chris Wallace.”
Clemente straightens that out: “Kucinich was not there in the capacity of a journalist nor was he representing Fox News in that role,” he says.