Saturday, February 26, 2005

Being a nice guy

Every time I watch or read an interview I can't help but wonder how teethless they come. First, the "right question" is almost never asked. Even the sharpest of all only come that close. And when finally that rare "almost the right question" is asked, and the interviewed (of course) is avoiding the answer, with greater or lesser grace... Journalist just doesn't follows up, passes on to a different question, not pressing the issue, just sliding along.
Well, I guess there isn't much new in what I am saying here.

And yet again, every time I read an article on an issue considered "debatable", like religion the rights of Nigerian lesbians, or whatever, I see the same picture. The authors are almost always very careful to keep things civil, not to offend the other side, even if the other side is, say, a terrorist.
Why is that, I wonder?

I think this is because subconsciously we are assuming that if the other person gets offended, he will never talk to us again. How will we ever be able to conduct another interview? Keep the readers around? It is the Syndrome of Hot Stove.

The problem is that journalists and authors forget they are not here to be nice. The point is not to take the interview or write an article. The point is to uncover, report, and analyze the facts. And one can't do that by being a nice guy.

1 comment:

Irina Tsukerman said...

They should learn from Oriana Fallacci!