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August 13, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

The predicament television networks find themselves in during an increasingly polarized political environment was brought home following Sunday night’s 60 Minutes feature in which Bob Schieffer interviewed Mitt Romney and his recently selected running mate, Paul Ryan, for the first time. On today’s Fox & Friends on the conservative Fox News channel, Co-host Eric Bolling complained that the network “played about 15 minutes or so of that [interview] when they could have gone the full hour. I’m sure they would have rated better had you stuck with that for the hour.” (Competing against the closing ceremony of the London Olympics, the show attracted just 5.97 million viewers.) Making the point that Ryan’s Medicare and Social Security plan would not affect people over 55, Steve Doocy objected to the fact that, according to a full transcript of the interview, the producers “cut out of the report where Ryan talks about how his own mother lives in Florida and is on Social Security. That would be really important for them to have played, but they didn’t.” But on numerous liberal websites, Democrats quickly registered their objections to the interview, too, several referring to it as a “schmoozefest.” Even the usually neutral noted, “For the second time this cycle, Romney has given an exclusive, in-person interview to the CBS anchor and Face the Nation host, and once again Schieffer has rewarded Romney — and in this case, his running mate Paul Ryan — with softball questions and no follow-ups.” That’s not the way David Zurawik of the Baltimore Sun saw it, however, In his column this morning, Zurawik wrote, “Schieffer was well-prepared, asked most of the right questions and deftly followed up once or twice.” He also pointed out that nothing said by either candidate probably would have made any difference anyhow to “most viewers who just wanted to size this Ryan guy up.”