Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What is that reporter DOING?

Read this interview and compare and contrast with most interviews in the American press. The challenging and adversarial tone of the interview is rather astounding. The reporter is not just asking questions and transcribing the answers, but is also at least somewhat expert in the subject matter and challenges the statements and figures used by the interview subject. BBC reports are similar. I've been struck by the challenging nature of the interviewers in your standard BBC radio interview.

This contrasts even to American media that spends much of its time scolding the so-called "MSM" or "Village" for its uncritical acceptance of the statements of its interview subjects. I've read plenty of interviews with luminaries such as Robert F. Kennedy Jr., Noam Chomsky, or Michael Moore, where interviewers seem starstruck by the eminence grise that is their subject.

More of this kind of thing would be nice. I'm not saying it doesn't exist here, or that all non-American reporting is freaking awesome. But this sort of in-depth and unsycophantic interaction is exceedingly rare here.

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