This is how to interview a politician. Leigh Sales of Australia's ABC interview Prime Minister Tony Abbott after he barely survived the spill motion (61-39):
The interview is great from the get go. "Prime minister, welcome to the program," Sales begins.
Abbott returns her warm welcome, "Thank you, Leigh. It's lovely to be here."
"Are you a dead man walking?"
Another great question is when Sales asks, "You said at your press conference a few hours ago that good government starts today. If that is so, what on earth have you been delivering for the time since you've been elected?"
“Prime Minister, you’ve been a student of politics all your life. Political history would suggest you cannot recover from such a significant vote of no confidence from your own side.”
“Your disapproval rating in the news poll that was out today was 68 percent — clearly the public is not buying what you’re saying.”
“If you do your best, and you’re unable to turn things around in a reasonable time frame, will you give your colleagues a promise tonight that you will step aside to give them a fighting chance with somebody else as leaders?”
“Why have you given Australia a government with the training wheels on?”
“We’ve had the Tony Abbott in opposition: the guy who promised no more chaos; the adults back in charge; no excuses; no broken promises. Then there’s the Tony Abbott that we’ve had so far in Government, with the surprise policies, and the broken promises, and the Captain’s Picks. Now you’re offering us a third Tony Abbott, one who’s doing to change. Who are you?”
“It is interesting that you’re not able to answer the question to me. Who are you? What do you stand for? Which Tony Abbott are you?”
Two weeks ago, Rolling Stone published a bombshell piece that rocked the academic world. In the story, author Sabrina Erdely detailed a horrific crime — a gang rape at one of the fraternities at the University of Virginia that allegedly took place two years ago.
Someone I'm related to by marriage has written a superb column on the problem of media ignorance. The fact I'm not a disinterested observer shouldn't stop me from noting that the column and the event that prompted it has attracted some attention. The piece is pegged to a much discussed interview talk radio star Hugh Hewitt conducted with Zach Carter, the Huffington Post’s “senior political economy reporter.” Hewitt asked Carter why he was spouting off various critical opinions related to Dick Cheney and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Certainly, Carter's not alone here -- the rise of ISIS has had liberal journalists queuing up to insist President Obama bears minimal responsibility for the disintegration of the situation in Iraq. Joe Biden bet his vice presidency Iraq would extend the Status of Forces Agreement, and had they not failed, it might well have prevented the current mess. But here we are.
Another reporter is joining the Obama administration. Emily Pierce, the deputy editor of Roll Call, will be joining the office of public affairs at the Department of Justice, the federal agency headed by Attorney General Eric Holder.
Pierce was welcomed to her new position by Brian Fallon, who works in that DOJ office and who used to be Chuck Schumer's spokesman in the Senate.
"Can't wait to welcome @emilyprollcall to @TheJusticeDept Office of Public Affairs later this month. She is a true pro," Fallon said on Twitter.
Like Diogenes in search of an honest man, The Scrapbook has been on an extended quest to find the Golden Age of American journalism. That was the era, not so long ago, when a literate public was downright serious about the news, and America’s newspapers, magazines, and television networks paid close, detailed attention to current events, foreign affairs, and national politics—which, of course, were civil in tone, bipartisan in nature, and concerned with finding solutions rather than exploiting problems.
The Scrapbook has previously commented on the “new breed of pundit/political scientist who seems to think that a pie chart is a substitute for argument.” Whether it’s the fault of an education system and corporate sector saturated with PowerPoint presentations, the increasing desperation of polemicists, reporters, and poli-sci types to cast their work as hard “science,” or just the rising tide of philistinism, it seems an ever-growing number of writers and thinkers have taken to substituting the siren song of the computer-generated chart for the hard work of written argument.
With the death of Jack Germond at 85, the great triumvirate of political reporting is now gone. Germond, Robert Novak, and David Broder were the Clay, Calhoun, and Webster of political journalism with their columns and TV commentary, but mostly with their dogged reporting.
In light of the ongoing, slow-motion collapse of the mainstream media, at least one major journalism school has decided to reassess its priorities. Last week, Inside Higher Ed reported that the prestigious Annenberg School of Journalism at the University of Southern California is revamping its master’s degree program.
In a statement released this morning, the Newseum announces that it will "re-evaluate" its decision to include two terrorists on its "Journalist Memorial." The Newseum had been planning to honor former members of the terrorist group Hamas, Mahmoud Al-Kumi and Hussam Salama.