Release The Hounds!

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Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Great Minds Think Alike

I was reading Hugh Hewitt's latest this evening and came across this excerpt from an interview with The Boss by NPR's Terry Gross: "TG: In the Kerry_Edwards campaign in 2004, you actually played for, for, for the campaign. How did you decide to do that? I think that is something you basically resisted before. BS: I tended to stay out of the partisan politics, and work on locally with different groups and things I shared interests with. But that was an instance where, it was like, you know, I just thought democracy was eroding, (chuckling) so visibly and obviously that if you didn't do something about it or try and do something about it, you had no right to get up on stage, and sing the songs I was singing, and try and be about some of things I've tried to be about for my worklife, so it was, it was, it was in the no brainer aspect of that election (chuckling) and it wasn't a big hard decision or anything. You know, it was just like, whoa, this is, you know, if you have built up any credibility this is the time to use it, you know this is the time to expend it, there was just no, no doubt about it (chuckling.)" Hugh had this to say: "It was a fine interview, except for this moment wherein Gross rushed past a fascinating opportunity. What exactly did Springsteen mean by "democracy was eroding," and why didn't Terry Gross ask?" Pre-freakin'-cisely! With a capital "freakin"! I was having a conversation this self-same morning where I was lamenting the fact that either no one knows how to, or deliberately refuses to, ask the obvious interview questions. I also said I would love to watch (or conduct myself, if given the opportunity) an interview program where the guests were actually pressed to explain their positions and assertions, without being allowed to duck and weave, by someone who knew how to zero in on the point. For example, Warren Beatty was recently asked why he was vehemently against one of the California ballot measures advanced (unsuccessfully) by Gov. Arnold. I cannot recall which one it was, but that is irrelevant to my point. His full response was that the proposition was a "right wing power grab." Now that statement cried out like a colicky baby for a follow-up along the lines of "What exactly do you mean, Warren, by a "right wing power grab"? Of course, nothing of the sort happened. The "interviewer" moved on to another topic, later removed his puckered lips from Mr. Beatty's behind, and the final credits rolled. To be fair, and to not drive away all potential guests, the questioning would necessarily need to be approached with the desire to simply obtain an explanation (even if the subject would prefer to speak in sound bites) rather than as an advocate for the opposite side of the argument. But someone needs to force a bit of clarity and honesty out of these folks otherwise it's not an interview but instead a PR moment.

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