The Media Research Center's Gala has only recently concluded. It will be almost a full year until the DisHonors Awards are again distributed. Even so, Scott Pelley's query to John McCain, aired on this evening's 60 Minutes, has to be considered a strong, early contender for Most Inane Question in next year's running.
View video here.
Let's set the stage. 60 Minutes had devoted extensive time to McCain's recent trip to Iraq. Particular attention was paid to his visit to a Baghdad market, which, as it turned out, was carried out with very considerable security surrounding him. Even so, McCain acknowledged during the course of the interview that he was in large measure staking his candidacy on the success of the surge.
Immediately preceding his question, Pelley had noted that five generations of McCain's family had attended West Point or Annapolis. McCain was shown in his Senate office pointing out a picture of his father in Vietnam when he was commander of US forces in the Pacific.
Observed Pelley: "Now McCain's family is serving again. He has a son in the Naval Academy and another son 18 years old, headed toward Iraq."
There then ensued this exchange:
SCOTT PELLEY: Your son Jimmy volunteered to serve. Why?
MCCAIN: Cause he's a fine, he's a patriotic American.
PELLEY: Did you try to talk him out of it?
MCCAIN: No. But I really don't talk about him or my other son very much. I think my son is no different than the thousands and thousands of other sons and daughters who decide they want to serve their country. And I'm not sure it's much more complicated than that.
Let's review. Pelley knew that McCain was a war hero who had spent five years as a POW in Vietnam. That he came from a long, proud line of military men. That he fervently believes we need to try to win in Iraq, and that he is staking his candidacy on it.
Under the circumstances, were there any circumstances -- any -- under which Pelley could have conceived that McCain would have attempted to persuade his son not to serve, much less tell Pelley that he had?
If an MSMer is going to ask a more inane question in the coming year, he's going to have to work very hard. Then again, when it comes to this kind of thing, the MSM are a very hard-working bunch. But, on this final day of the Masters, let's say Pelley has the early clubhouse lead.
Mark was in Iraq in November. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org