Let’s say you’re a talk-show host and you get the one guy who precisely predicted the financial collapse a year before it happened. You want to talk to him about the health-care reform debate and the financial implications of the current legislation. Note also that the guest has been openly considering a run against an incumbent Senator. As an interviewer, what strategy would you choose?
A. Ask him to detail in depth how he predicted the financial collapse and to provide parallels to what he sees in the health-care debate
B. Acknowledge his success in predicted the 2008 collapse, but focus instead on the financial implications of health-care reform as a separate topic
C. Research the topic thoroughly and debate him point-for-point on substantive matters within the bill
D. Talk over him, don’t allow him to answer anything completely, offer juvenile demands to force the guest to give complicated answers in “30 seconds”, and berate him when he attempts to explain why that’s the entire problem with the health-care debate
Most interviewers will choose either A, B, or C, and all three are legitimate ways to interview an expert guest. If you want D, you usually have to tune in to MS-NBC, where Lawrence O’Donnell filled in for Ed Schultz on The Ed Show and channeled his inner Wally George. O’Donnell interviewed Peter Schiff, the man who tried to warn everyone that the housing bubble would burst and create a catastrophe, only in the sense that Schiff was allowed to remain on camera during an almost-uninterrupted diatribe by O’Donnell:
Why did O’Donnell act like a middle-school bully instead of a news interviewer? Apart from the fact that O’Donnell is a middle-school bully on air, Schiff wants to run against Chris Dodd for his Senate seat, and Schiff opposes ObamaCare. Instead of allowing Schiff to actually explain why, O’Donnell simply shouts over him and issues ridiculous time demands, and does just about everything short of sticking his fingers in his ears and yelling “NA-NA-NA-I-CAN’T-HEAR-YOU” when Schiff tries to explain his positions.
You know, if MS-NBC was an actual news organization, someone there would be embarrassed.
Mr. Schiff, if you want to appear on an Ed show that will allow you to talk, I’ll block out a half-hour for you any time at TEMS here at Hot Air.
Update: I added the link to Schiff’s campaign site; be sure to give it a visit. And yes, I have extended the invitation by e-mail as well.