Friday, September 16, 2005

Couldn't Buy a Good Interview

ABC news ran a special edition of Nightline after the President's speech from Jackson Square, New Orleans on Thursday night. The intent appears to have been to find people who had been displaced by Katrina to offer a viserial, poor-man's criticism of the President's speech. However, the plan backfired on ABC when the people they interviewed, outside the Astro Dome in Houstin Tx. failed to take the bait and blame Bush.

Reynolds elicited reaction from the group sitting in chairs: “I'd like to get the reaction of Connie London who spent several horrible hours at the Superdome. You heard the President say retpeaedly that you are not alone, that the country stands beside you. Do you believe him?”

Connie London: “Yeah, I believe him, because here in Texas, they have truly been good to us. I mean-”

Reynolds: “Did you get a sense of hope that you could return to your home one day in New Orleans?”

London: “Yes, I did. I did.”

Reynolds: “Did you harbor any anger toward the President because of the slow federal response?”

London: “No, none whatsoever, because I feel like our city and our state government should have been there before the federal government was called in. They should have been on their jobs.”

Reynolds: “And they weren't?”

London: “No, no, no, no. Lord, they wasn't. I mean, they had RTA buses, Greyhound buses, school buses, that was just sitting there going under water when they could have been evacuating people.”

You can almost feel the desperation as Reynolds keeps trying to get Ms. London to blame the President for her prediciment. But there's no bias in Main Stream Journalism now is there? Here's another example where Reynolds doesn't get the answer he wants and he goes fishing again.

Reynolds: “Now, Brenda, you were, spent, what, several days at the Superdome, correct?”

Marshall: “Yes, I did.”

Reynolds: “What did you think of what the President told you tonight?”

Marshall: “Well, I think -- I think the speech was wonderful, you know, him specifying that we will return back and that we will have like mobile homes, you know, rent or whatever. I was listening to that pretty good. But I think it was a well fine speech.”

Reynolds: “Was there any particular part of it that stood out in your mind? I mean, I saw you all nod when he said the Crescent City is going to come back one day.”

Marshall: “Well, I think I was more excited about what he said. That's probably why I nodded.”

Reynolds: “Was there anything that you found hard to believe that he said, that you thought, well, that's nice rhetoric, but, you know, the proof is in the pudding?”

Marshall: “No, I didn't.”

Reynolds isn't trying to lead his interviewee in any particular direction now is he? Nah, no responsable or respectable journalist would ever do that. This final quote seems to seal it.

Reynolds thinks he has lead Ms. London down to a conclusion that would put the blame on President Bush, but Ms. London turns the tables on him

London: “And really it wasn't Hurricane Katrina that really tore up the city. It was when they opened the floodgates. It was not the hurricane itself. It was the floodgates, when they opened the floodgates, that's where all the water came.”

Reynolds: “Do you blame anybody for this?”

London: “Yes. I mean, they've been allocated federal funds to fix the levee system, and it never got done. I fault the mayor of our city personally. I really do.”

She faults the MAYOR for not doing his job, not the President for not doing the mayor's job. Reynold's decides to cut his losses and ends his interview at this point. This has to be one of the most obvious attempts to lead and direct an interviewee I have seen in the very long time. It is refreshing, however, that the MSM were denied their pound of flesh on this one.