Hillary Clinton and the lost art of interviewing

It happens that right now Hillary Clinton is touring England in order to promote her new book reflecting on how she lost the recent US Presidential election, and media outlets are queuing up it seems to interview her, one of which is Andrew Marr, whose interview yesterday of Hillary I have just listened to (see here).

I rather like Andrew Marr and while I don’t watch mainstream TV much these days including when people are interviewed, he is one interviewer that I would watch / listen to because in the main he is intelligent, researches his subject, is fair, is affable and is adept at building some rapport with his subject, and something important often missed – he is not pompous and doesn’t take himself too seriously, and he doesn’t over talk realising it is the interviewee people want to listen to (qualities I recognize in two of my friends, Roy Stannard and John Cheek, who too do spend a fair amount of their media time interviewing folk with something to say that people want to hear, and while not perfect they do so with a fair amount of skill and panache that is able to keep skeptics like me interested).

It is easy for oldies like me to harp back to the “good old days” and want to compare modern day interviewers with heroes from my past, like the late Sir Robin Day and Sir David Frost, who had the above qualities and also what many interviewers lack: the ability to go for the jugular and yet do so honestly and with a degree of bonhomie. Andrew Marr is one of the best of what I fear is a rather indifferent bunch, and why these days I am often disinclined to check in with mainstream media. As good as Andrew was (he had after all read her book and was cognizant with the various issues it raised) he did not go for the jugular. While a lot of what Hillary said was of interest and she did at least answer his questions, it was evident from my watching the interview that she really did not understand the real reasons why she lost that election and Donald Trump won it. I was disappointed Andrew did not press her on the matter – after all there are a lot of people who feel they have good reason to regard Hillary as crooked and she should be locked away.

I have blogged before there is a liberal bias in the media that is too deferential toward the narrative the establishment would want us to believe and less concerned to operate in rottweiler mode to bring out stuff those in power would rather we ignored, without fear or favour, and too often I see people in this elite group (which includes Hillary) being given a free pass, whereas those not in it being given short shrift. It requires a special sort of journalist to buck the trend, not helped because those who control the media are too often in that elite group too (so much for a free press). It will require courage and wisdom on top of all the above qualities and guiding principles I have praised. I will support any journalist that rises to the challenge.


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