Media Arrogance II

Last night, I commented on the Tim Russert-Colin Powell flap, agreeing with Jonah Goldberg that people cut off interviews all the time to keep to schedule.

Now, Lloyd Grove has an ironic twist:

The other day, an intrepid journalist and truth-seeker was grilling a powerful public figure. But before the interview was over, the powerful public figure’s press aide abruptly broke in as tape rolled and stopped the interrogation.

Tim Russert interviewing Colin Powell?


Try Brian Lehrer interviewing Tim Russert.

“We were given precisely 10 minutes with Russert to tape an interview about his new book from 8 a.m. to 8:10 a.m. for broadcast at 10 a.m. last Friday,” the WNYC radio host told me yesterday.

“My impression was that he was very tightly scheduled, and had to do five or six interviews one after the other and his people were trying to keep him on schedule … Eight minutes into the interview, a woman’s voice cut in and barked, ‘WNYC, you have eight seconds left!’ And the interview came to a quick end.”

Lehrer added that the glitch was deleted from what sounded, when it was broadcast, like a seamless conversation.

“It was no big deal,” Lehrer said, noting that the interrupter was not an NBC News employee. “These things happen. It was just the usual bureaucratic stuff and getting an interview. So we edited it out.”

But two days later, Secretary of State Powell’s press aide, Emily Miller, was so desperate to keep her boss on schedule that she tried to end Russert’s taped interview when it ran into overtime. The “Meet the Press” moderator went ballistic.

Not only did Russert castigate Powell’s aide on his own NBC show, he gave righteously indignant interviews about “attempted news management gone berserk” to CNN and The Washington Post.

On Monday, Lehrer poked fun at Russert’s tantrum by airing the rude interruption that he had earlier excised.

“If Colin Powell’s people were guilty of attempted news management gone berserk,” Lehrer told me yesterday, “then I can say only that Tim Russert’s people succeeded at it.”

That’s gotta hurt.

(Via e-mail from sometime Wizbang guest blogger Paul)

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.