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Thread started by Dave Winer on Friday, September 14, 2012.

An idea for reporters conducting live interviews

Just heard part of an interview between George Stephanopoulos and Mitt Romney.

It went something like this.

George: You going to take back what you said?

Mitt: No, basically the White House agreed with what I said.

George: They agreed that the President sympathizes with the people who attacked the embassy?

Mitt: Basically the White House agreed with what I said (repeating his previous statement).

George: You refuse to answer a direct question.

Now, that's what I thought I heard Stephanopoulos say, but he actually went on from there.

I propose that when you're interviewing someone who doesn't answer a question, that you say exactly those words. "You refuse to answer a direct question." It's like a receipt. Play back for them how you're interpreting. You still get to maintain your lack of a viewpoint. You're just saying what's obvious to everyone watching the interview. And it puts the burden on the person being interviewed. He could smile through it, and that would become the clip you use to summarize the interview. Or you might actually get a response to the question you asked.

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