Friday, July 07, 2006

The Compassionate Interview.

A long long time ago, I used to watch Larry King but his brown-nosing the rich and famous has become unbearable and it seems to me that his sweet-talk has gotten worse with age. No wonder he finds it easier to get big-time guests. The interview of President Bush and the Firt Lady is a good case in point as Alessandra Stanley did not fail to notice in her paper in today's NYTimes:
Two kinds of celebrities go on "Larry King Live" on CNN: those with something to sell and those with something to hide.
Indeed, why would Larry King need to add stuff like this (following a conversation on the immigration bill):
KING: You've always had a lot of compassion for the Mexican people, haven't you?
G. BUSH: Yes, sir.
Is that journalism or is it a way to suck up to your guest?
The worst part is actually when he distorts the facts as Think Progress reported:
LARRY KING: But, also, Mr. President, you're into taking the lead on things. Iraq was an example. You took the lead on Iraq. The United Nations went along.
G. BUSH: Right.
LARRY KING: You got other countries to go along. Why not take the lead here?
When did exactly the UN go along? U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan did describe the invasion of Iraq as “not in conformity with the UN charter…from the charter point of view, it was illegal.”.

To be fair, I find that most French TV journalists are very much like Larry King than, say, Tim Russert when they interview French politicians or President Chirac.
There is hope though - a new generation of French journalists seem to be a bit more aggressive and stand their ground in their interviews. Audrey Pulvar is a good illustration, even though she has mostly gained fame for being one of the first few black newsreader to present the main evening news on a national French TV station - she is the best interviewer I have seen so far on French tv.
In my experience, there is still nothing like a BBC journalist in this day and age.


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