Web Gone Wild! Clinton Starts Blog War

In this handout photo provided by Fox News Sunday, former President Bill Clinton responds to host Chris Wallace during a taping of an interview for "Fox News Sunday", on Friday, Sept. 22, 2006, in New York.
AP/Fox News Sunday
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Few people can rile up the blogosphere the way a Clinton can. This time, it was former president Bill Clinton. Bloggers were buzzing about Clinton's interview on Fox News Sunday, in which he angrily defended his counterterrorism record. Plus, blogging isn't just for the young. Meet some blogging seniors. And, fans of NBC's "Studio 60" were not so happy with the show's blog. Find out why.

Steel Cage Match

Few people can rile up the blogosphere the way a Clinton can. This time, it was former president Bill Clinton. An interview on Fox News Sunday, in which Clinton angrily defended his counterterrorism record and accused "President Bush's neocons" of ignoring Osama bin Laden until Sept. 11, 2001, had over 1 million people searching for "Clinton" on blogs.

Clinton had planned to discuss his climate change initiative during his interview, and accused Fox host Chris Wallace of straying from the issue by asking Clinton why he didn't do more to "put bin Laden and al Qaeda out of business." And that's when the former president turned combative.

"So you did Fox's bidding on this show. You did your nice little conservative hit job on me," Clinton said to Wallace. "I want to know how many people in the Bush administration you asked this question of? And you've got that little smirk on your face and you think you're so clever. But I had responsibility for trying to protect this country. I tried and I failed to get bin Laden. I regret it," Clinton added.

Kathryn Jean Lopez of The National Review's The Corner called it "Clinton's Tom Cruise moment," while the Washington Post labeled it "Clinton's Finger-Wagging Moment."

Think Progress posted the full interview here. The video clip on YouTube was a top video of the week.

As expected, reaction in the blogosphere fell mostly along political lines. Liberal bloggers were happy to see a Democrat fighting back, while conservative bloggers suggested the former president was rewriting history. And more than a few bloggers on both sides thought the whole thing was planned.

"...I wish Clinton had done that to the media when he and Hillary were under constant assault during his presidency," Susan writes at Random Thoughts.

"Back then, though, Clinton had NO idea what he was up against. Perhaps the biggest mistake he made in his presidency was underestimating the ruthlessness of the radical right."

"Clinton completely smacks Wallace down with details, facts, and truth," Planet Geek writes.

But conservative bloggers, like Jeffrey Mark, said Clinton was spouting revisionist history. "Clinton, a failed president, knows it and wants so badly to rewrite his administration's history," Mark writes.

"I find it rather amusing that Clinton had all those chances in eight YEARS to take out OBL and could not do the deed but then has the audacity to say no one in the Bush administration tried as if we are supposed to excuse eight years of impotence by acting like it should have been done in eight months," adds Big Dog at Webloggin.

Some took out their anger at Fox, disturbed at how the network was marketing the interview. "Of course Fox has a commercial agenda as well a rightwing one — they've been selling this interview as 'Clinton Gets Crazed!' — not far off from 'Presidents Gone Wild!'," Batocchio writes at Blue Herald.

Is All Publicity Good Publicity?

Perhaps the creators of Lonelygirl15 should give some marketing tips to television entertainment executives.

As the Los Angeles Times reported, NBC launched a faux-blog dubbed "Defaker: Gossip on Studio 60," modeled on the popular gossip site, Defamer. Defaker was designed to generate publicity for its new show, "Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip" ... but the only publicity it generated was negative. So negative, in fact, that it appears that the blog has been pulled off the Internet.

The mock-blogger at Defaker chronicled the events portrayed in the series' premiere episode, saying of an on-air breakdown by the show's producer: "The man actually pulled a 'Network' on live television by stopping the show's cold open to deliver the ground-breaking news to the American populace that Studio 60 [was awful] and the network made him replace something that was incredibly funny with something that was incredibly lame. The whole thing has made waves all over town. Variety covered it extensively."