Fox Set to Air Dennis Kucinich Interview With Bashar al-Assad

Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, outside of the House Chamber before the debate started on his bill, the Kucinich War Powers Bill, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday, March 17, 2011.(AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)
National Journal
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Matt Berman
Sept. 18, 2013, 12:47 p.m.

The ru­mors are true: On Wed­nes­day night, dur­ing a spe­cial two-hour edi­tion of Spe­cial Re­port with Bret Baier, Fox News will air an ex­clus­ive in­ter­view with Syr­i­an Pres­id­ent Bashar al-As­sad. The in­ter­view is con­duc­ted by FNC seni­or cor­res­s­pond­ent Greg Palkot and former Rep. Den­nis Ku­cinich, a Fox con­trib­ut­or. 

Mi­chael Clem­ente, the ex­ec­ut­ive vice pres­id­ent for news at Fox, said in a state­ment that the in­ter­view came to­geth­er on Sept. 7, when “Ku­cinich ad­vised me that he be­lieved he could se­cure an in­ter­view” with As­sad. Ku­cinich and As­sad have a re­la­tion­ship dat­ing back sev­er­al years, and Ku­cinich took a 2011 trip to Syr­ia. After that meet­ing, Ku­cinich said he was mis­trans­lated by Syr­i­an state-owned me­dia as say­ing that As­sad is “highly loved and ap­pre­ci­ated.”

The in­ter­view it­self was re­cor­ded Tues­day with the help of a Syr­i­an cam­era crew. No re­stric­tions were placed on the kinds of ques­tions that could be asked, ac­cord­ing to Fox. In­ter­est­ingly, Clem­ente notes in his state­ment that the former Demo­crat­ic con­gress­man and pres­id­en­tial can­did­ate “was not there in the ca­pa­city of a journ­al­ist nor was he rep­res­ent­ing FOX News in that role.”

As­sad also gran­ted an in­ter­view to Charlie Rose earli­er this month. But much has changed since then, par­tic­u­larly after the Rus­si­an pro­pos­al to se­cure Syr­ia’s chem­ic­al weapons as a means of avoid­ing an Amer­ic­an air strike.