Fox News, New York Times, Donald Trump discussed on Monocle 24: The Big Interview


The direction of. Picking aside. and to turn to Fox News itself Chris, and this is the only question I'll ask you about this, but it's my sense is not side. In some way td US media and I guess to a lot of people who maybe don't watch a lot of Fox News channel's coverage that Fox News is criticized quite heavily for having created the kind of polarized extremes of the debate. That is taking place in political discourse at the moment how do you respond to that? I think Fox News has contributed to it but so has CNN and so has MSNBC and so has the New York Times and it's interesting. I did a session at Columbia Journalism School I think in January February seems like. A lifetime ago but Creek Oh, good and Maggie Haberman, the very able New York Times White House reporter was there and I was getting asked a lot of questions about prime time at Fox News and I pointed out that she wasn't getting asked nearly as many about the very liberal editorial page of the New York Times. And my conclusion about that and I say this about a lot of. Writers you know not people who are covering the news but people who are covering the media I. Think the reason that we hear about were at Fox News is because most of the media writers are liberal and there were offended by the Fenian. Fox News while they're not offended by the opinion at CNN. NBC or the editorial page of the New York. Times. But I think it's just as legitimate question for them as it is for us. I was actually a student at can be journalism school many years ago by this stage and I arrived at not knowing a huge amount I'm afraid to say about. The US media's landscape or the giants of US Media Pasta and present but I was in twenty twelve, the that your father passed away and the professors that devoted a lot of time to going through. Just. How remarkable journalist you'll father was, and it really struck me watching a lot of your father's interviews in that context that he really knew what made good question that he knew how to craft something that would get the most honest answer and it strikes me that that's true for your career as well. I wouldn't. What for you now makes a good question. Well, it's interesting I. You know I haven't is not like I studied my father, but I think there's something on the DNA. I think the key to a good question is that a legitimate that it'd be fair that be grounded in fact that people even if it's a tough question that the person you're interviewing feel it's legitimate question Nada Gotcha question but that it it be pointed that there is little opportunity as possible for the person to get off the subject the point it other words I really I, work on my questions and I try to. Pair them down and make them as lean as possible because to the degree that you have some loose threads in the question, people can pull on those threads an answer that rather than answering the question you're really asking. So I don't know that it's an art form, but it's a skill and I have to say when I watch some interviews, I'm frustrated at how the interviewer has let the subject off the hook and you know sometimes I too. But things I try very hard to do I. Didn't my father tried very hard to do is to make. The ques- question. Respectful fact-based, and pointed and hard for the person to escape. I remember I, I remember a couple of questions I. Remember once when my father did an interview with John Ehrlichman during the height of Watergate and he just you treat and find it online and he proceeds to go through this long list of all of the crimes that have been committed by the Nixon administration breaking and entering obstruction of justice on and on and the shot was tighter and tighter on Erlich man's face, and then my father ended and said this all from the law and order administration. Of Richard Nixon. And there was long pause Irwin said is there a question there? and. As my father said afterwards I thought it was the best damn question I ever asked. And I remember Tom Brokaw one saying to me I think I think a lot about questions. So it's a very good question for you to ask me Tom Brokaw one saying. You know what's a good question just say, what do you think of some inside and I remember I was interviewing Margaret Thatcher in nineteen eighty two and it was during the Israeli invasion of Lebanon and statue was the hardest interview I ever had because she just was so quick and obviously all the preparation for question times she was so good at shaping your question to give the answer she wanted to go the only time that was even be A clause on her part is I said to her and this was at the height of the as Rayleigh invasion of Lebanon, which he very much opposed. I said, what do you think of knockin begging and she flinched just for a second but I, thought well I had you there for I had you there for a moment Even, interviewed so many figures president senior political figures from around the world during your career. Are there any moments? Any particular questions that? Stick in your mind that you felt at the time really landed that you really got what you're going for when you're asking it. You know I never other people's questions better than my own but in the two thousand, sixteen debate that I moderated between trump and Clinton, I asked about the fact that he. Kept saying that the election might be rigged and I kind of broke a little bit away from my moderator's role and said Mr Trump. Candidate one of the things that we pride ourselves in this country is the peaceful transition of power. Are you willing to say here now that you will accept the results of the next election and he said I'll keep you in suspense and that was the lead from that debate and I thought. You know. I often think the initial question is not the most important. I almost view that as a throwaway to get the conversation started the key and I'm sure you've found this is interviewer the key is to really lessen and a follow up and it's the follow up that gets the news. And to look back to the presidential debate of twenty-six. Chris Ye became the first Fox News host to be invited to moderate presidential debate. You moderated the final debate between Hillary Clinton, and Donald Trump, and just reading some of your accounts of the preparations for that from years ago. What struck me is a phrase used in which he described presidential debates as this is civics this isn't just a television program. This is something very raw and. Real what was the process of preparing? What does that process look like when you are asked to moderate.

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