Fox News's Megyn Kelly on Monday slammed the softball questions offered to Attorney General Eric Holder during an interview on ABC, Sunday. The host hammered questioner Pierre Thomas for not bringing up the ever-growing IRS scandal, the administration's losses in the Spureme Court and other contentious issues. Instead, the journalist mostly failed to press Holder, allowing him to lash out at conservative racism.
On Fox, Kelly highlighted missed topics: "Where the investigation stands into the IRS’ targeting of conservatives...Why the attorney general hasn’t appointed a special counsel. Why former IRS official Lois Lerner has not been charged." [See video below. MP3 audio here.] Kelly continued, "The attorney general is not asked to make the administration’s case for expanding executive authority."
Also not discussed by Thomas on This Week: The Hobby Lobby decision and the Supreme Court slapping down Obama for improperly using a recess appointment for members of the National Labor Relations Board.
Instead, the journalist allowed Holder to attack Sarah Palin for her contention that Obama should be impeached: "She wasn't a particularly good vice presidential candidate. She's an even worse judge of who ought to be impeached and why.
The questions the ABC reporter did manage were often open-ended and not exactly tough. Noting that Holder had just met with European leaders about Syria, the journalist wondered, "Do they share your sense of urgency about Syria?"
On the threat of terrorism after the Boston bombing, Thomas queried, "Is that threat any less serious?"
On the same topic, he asked this: "Is there a sense that there's a resurgence going on now with al Qaeda?"
Thomas pressed Holder on the charge that the Attorney General isn't serious about stopping illegal immigration:
ERIC HOLDER: The immigration laws are being enforced, though we are faced with an extraordinary situation where thousands of people, young people especially, are fleeing Central America for economic reasons to get away from really endemic violence in their countries.
Thomas followed-up: "But can you see where the critics are coming from when you see buses of people being brought inland after they came here illegally?"
But these examples were few. It's clear why Holder chose to go on ABC, a place where he won't be challenged.
See also: Bozell and Graham column on Eric Holder, Media-Spoiled Brat.
PS: A partial transcript of the July 13 This Week interview is below:
PIERRE THOMAS: We met the attorney general in London after a series of urgent meetings with European justice ministers about the threat from Syria. Do they share your sense of urgency about Syria?
ERIC HOLDER: There's a great concern about this Syrian foreign fighters problem. We estimate there are about 7,000 of them right now in -- in Syria, coming from Europe, coming from the United States. And great concern about the impact they're having not only there, but the potential impact they could have back in their home countries.
THOMAS: Congressman Rogers of the House Intelligence Committee made a comment recently, that he had not seen a situation where there were some threat streams, you know, so active at one moment, perhaps since 9/11.
HOLDER: No, I think we are at a dangerous time.
THOMAS: Moments later, when we sat down, Holder laid out his concerns in stark, disturbing detail. And you sounded the alarm this week about Americans and Europeans going to Syria. Is this a clear and present danger?
HOLDER: I think it is. In some ways, it's -- it's more frightening than anything I think I've seen as attorney general. And 9/11 was something that kind of came out of the blue. This is a -- a situation that we can see developing and the potential that I see coming up, the negative potential I see coming out of the facts in Syria and Iraq now, are -- are -- are quite concerning.
THOMAS: Among the concerns, intelligence says bomb makers from Yemen, those responsible for the 2009 underwear bomb plot, are now in Syria joining forces with the thousands of foreign fighters there. Is that a particularly nasty mix?
HOLDER: That's a deadly combination, where you have people who have the technical know-how along with the people who have this kind of fervor to give their lines in -- in support of a cause that is directed at the United States and directed at -- at its allies. And it's something that gives us a really extreme, extreme concern.
THOMAS: Sources tell ABC News, U.S. intelligence suspects Yemeni bomb makers in Syria have designed an explosive device small enough to fit in a laptop computer. It's way the U.S. asked overseas airports to step up security, including requiring some passengers to turn on a laptop or other electronic devices.
HOLDER: We are always constantly monitoring what's going on out there, what known bomb makers are doing, the new techniques that they are trying to employ.
THOMAS: Suffice it to say, these security upgrades we're seeing didn't just come out of the blue?
HOLDER: No. These are not things that we just decided it was July, so let's do something new. This is not a test. This is a something -- we're doing something in reaction to things that we have detected.
THOMAS: Americans who've gone into Syria and made their way home, can you give us a sense of how many people that we're talking about that are under various levels of surveillance inside the United States?
HOLDER: Well, I'd say that we have dozens of investigations that are underway. The FBI is on top of these.
THOMAS : And out of Syria, another challenge -- ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. They've taken over huge chunks of Iraq, stealing weapons and plundering millions of dollars. They've even allegedly confiscated low grade radioactive material that could be used for a dirty bomb. He was concerned should Americans at home be about ISIS?
HOLDER: Well, I think at this point, ISIS is a body that is concerned about doing things only in Iraq and in Syria. If they are able to consolidate their gains in that area, I think it's just a matter of time before they start looking outward and start looking at the West and at the United States in particular.