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Steve Gilliard, 1964-2007

It is with tremendous sadness that we must convey the news that Steve Gilliard, editor and publisher of The News Blog, passed away June 2, 2007. He was 42.

To those who have come to trust The News Blog and its insightful, brash and unapologetic editorial tone, we have Steve to thank from the bottom of our hearts. Steve helped lead many discussions that mattered to all of us, and he tackled subjects and interest categories where others feared to tread.

Please keep Steve's friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

Steve meant so much to us.

We will miss him terribly.

photo by lindsay beyerstein


Sky Bluesky: "Bad Interviewing 101"

Sexy or just manipulative?

Thanks to Sky Bluesky for this great and insightful cross-post - THANKS SKY!

The interviewer: Katie Couric.

Subjects: John and Elizabeth Edwards.

First question: establish the terms of the discussion.

Elizabeth, first and foremost, how are you feeling?

Translation: we're not going to talk about anything except for your cancer.

Next, keep the interview focused on the single area that you've selected.

Have you found that people are relating to you a bit differently with this news?

Have you received any additional information the last couple of days about where the cancer might have spread other than this area of your ribs?

Tell me about that roller coaster.

Tell me what went through your mind when you looked at that bone scan?

Were you terrified you might lose your wife?

Note: use loaded, subjective words whenever possible. If you can, tell the subject what to think.

That must have been hard once again to have to face your kids and to talk to Emma Claire and Jack who are 8 and 6. That is tough.

Make sure to remind your subject about their children and their ages. They may have forgotten.

Can you describe the decision making process for me in terms of what should we do now? Do we stay in? Do we suspend it temporarily? Do I call the whole thing off? Do we call the whole thing off? How did that unfold?

If you ask about another topic, make sure it's in the frame that you have already cho. In the case, ask about the presidential race in terms of the cancer. Don't ask any questions about why the subject might actually want to run for president.

At your press conference, you were both extremely confident, very upbeat.

Elizabeth said, "Right now we feel incredibly optimistic. I don't expect my life to be significantly different."

And I think some people wondered if you were in denial, if you were being realistic about what you were going to be facing here.

"Some people" is a good way to avoid saying "cynical right-wing commentators."

Your decision to stay in this race has been analyzed, and quite frankly judged by a lot of people. And some say, what you're doing is courageous, others say it's callous. Some say, "Isn't it wonderful they care for something greater than themselves?" And others say, "It's a case of insatiable ambition." You say?

Again, use the pronoun "some" to cover up that you're pulling questions from right-wing blogs and commentators.

Here you're staring at possible death...

And you're thinking, "I don't want to deprive the country of having my husband lead us."

Politics, as you know, can be a cynical business. You didn't know that? Glad I... (laughter) I'm glad I could teach you something today.

It's a clever strategy to make jokes about cynicism while you're asking cynical questions of the subject. It throws them off.

Some have suggested that you're capitalizing on this.

See how helpful the "some would say" construction is? This is a great way to call someone a goddamn liar without actually putting yourself on the spot.

Some people watching this would say, "I would put my family first always, and my job second." And you're doing the exact opposite. You're putting your work first, and your family second.

I guess some people would say that there's some middle ground. You don't have to necessarily stay at home and feel sorry for yourself, and do nothing. But, if given a finite – a possibly finite period of time on the planet – being on the campaign trail, away from my children, a lot of time, and sort of pursuing this goal, is not, necessarily, what I'd do.

They're 6 and 8. They're still baby birds.

Again, they may have forgotten how young their children are. If you can, bring photos so they remember what their children look like.

Even those who may be very empathetic to what you all are facing might question your ability to run the country at the same time you're dealing with a major health crisis in your family.

Can you understand their concern, though, Senator Edwards, that gosh, at a time when we're living in a world that is so complicated and so dangerous that the president cannot be distracted by, rightly so, caring about his wife's situation?

If you talk politics at all, make it as vague and meaningless as possible. Extra points if you can subtle refer to terrorist threats without using the word "terrorism."

You said, this weekend, "I am definitely in the race for the duration." If you want to give the honest answer, how can you say that, Senator Edwards, with such certainty? If, God forbid, Elizabeth doesn't respond to whatever treatment is recommended, if her health deteriorates, would you really say that?


Some people would say that Katie Couric should lose her job. Others have suggested that Couric should be kept on light-hearted stories: interviewing musicians, actors, and Muppets. You say?

- posted by Sky Bluesky

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