Since I have about 10 minutes for this right now, I’ll make some cursory comments on the recent Sarah Palin/Charles Gibson interview, then perhaps expand in a later post.
First, Gibson started right out with the pivotal question. He asked Palin if he could look into the camera, pointing to it with his hand, and tell the American people that she was ready to be vice president or president. She obviously answered, looking at Gibson, in the affirmative, but didn’t look into the camera. It was a nice try on Gibson’s part, though he knew she wouldn’t do it in the first place.
Second, the Bush doctrine thing was stunning. The transcipt, if it read like a Shakespearean play, would have went something like this:
GIBSON: Do you agree with the Bush doctrine?
[Awkward moment of silence, coupled with small grin by PALIN]
PALIN: In what respect, Charlie?
GIBSON: The Bush — well, what do you interpret it to be?
PALIN: His world view?
GIBSON: No, the Bush doctrine, enunciated September 2002, before the Iraq War. You know what, just forget it. I’m done. Interview over. …
[GIBSON takes mic off, leaves chair, punches cameraman and walks off in exacerbation.]
And finally, the best quote I’ve heard in an interview of this kind. As Palin was droning on, not directly answering anything, saying something about extremists, terrorists, freedom, our troops, whatever, Gibson said:
GIBSON: And let me finish with this. I got lost in a blizzard of words there. Is that a yes, that you think we have the right to go across the border, with or without the approval of the Pakistani government? To go after terrorists who are in the Waziristan area?
PALIN: I believe that America has to exercise all options in order to stop the terrorists who are hell-bent on destroying America, and our allies. We have got to have all options out there on the table.
Most of the time, journalists don’t really want to ask “Yes” or “No” questions because it leaves no room for elaboration. But here, Gibson was asking for a simple yes or no, but the ability to give clear, direct answers escapes nearly every politician, thus confounding us and confirming that, if they can be trusted in leadership, they sure don’t make a great case for themselves.