Fox News's interview with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad may go down in the history books as one of the stranger episodes of journalism in recent memory -- mostly because of the role that former Democratic congressman--and current Fox News contributor--Dennis Kucinich played in speaking to Assad.
The sight of a very liberal man representing Fox News in the session was, to put it mildly, jarring. Maybe that's why the network worked so hard to disavow any connection it had with Kucinich, assuring viewers that he "was not there in the capacity of a journalist, nor was he representing Fox News in that role."
That's a strange statement, because it sure seemed like Kucinich was doing both of those things, as the Washington Post's Erik Wemple exhaustively documented on his blog on Thursday.
Hard as Fox News tried, its contention was difficult to buy. As anchor Bret Baier put it before the interview aired, Kucinich "advised Fox management he believed he could secure an interview with the Syrian president," whereupon Michael Clemente, a top news executive at the network, "decided that Kucinich should pursue the interview" while working with reporter Greg Palkot.
So, the interview came from Kucinich, and Kucinich was authorized to pursue it by a senior executive, but he wasn't representing the network.
Things only got weirder when the chat aired.
Kucinich also began the interview by referring to Palkot as his "colleague," and thanking Assad for granting "Fox News" the time. He then asked Assad questions for nearly ten minutes, before Palkot came in.
People watching might reasonably conclude that, not only was Kucinich representing Fox News in the interview, but that he, not Palkot, was the lead journalist in the room.
For more, turn to Wemple's blog.