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July 30, 2005

Hugh Hewitt Exposes the Mainstream Media

Syndicated talk show host Hugh Hewitt reports that he has received numerous requests for interviews in the last few days from members of the mainstream media to discuss the nomination of Judge John Roberts to the Supreme Court:

I received a call from Amy Goldstein of the Washington Post today, requesting I call her back to discuss the nomination of John Roberts. I assumed that this is because (1)I worked with John Roberts in the White House Counsel's office for a year and (2)the big document dump may have turned up memos with my name on them which are of interest to the Post.

Hewitt goes on to say that he would have been willing to do the interview on one condition:

The subject didn't matter to me. I had my assistant call back and say fine. She could interview me. Only one condition: The interview had to be conducted on air, live, during my broadcast. Would she please call the show line at 3:06 Pacific?

I had a similar request from a New York Times reporter for a similar interview a couple of days back. I made the same offer. He didn't respond.

Amy Goldstein did respond. She declined. My assistant relayed that Ms. Goldstein didn't want her story "out there" before it ran.

Fine, I thought. But then I got to thinking: Isn't journalism supposed to be in the public interest? If Goldstein wants information from me, and I am willing to give it to her, isn't she putting her own interests in a "scoop" or an "angle" ahead of the public's by refusing to conduct an interview she thought would be useful in the first place? And isn't she going forward with a story she knows may well be unnecessarily incomplete because she doesn't like the fact that her questions and my answers would have been on the record?

I of course want my listeners to get a chance if not to see the sausage that is MSM "news" being made, at least hear it being ground fine. I had hoped to compare whatever I was able to provide Ms. Goldstein with whatever it is that she publishes on the subject. Interesting all around, no?

But she declined to conduct the interview she requested. How interesting to note that the Post is willing to use sources that insist on anonymity, but not sources that demand transparency.

My guess is the reason that these reports were not willing to conduct the interviews on the air is that they are trying to find any dirt they can on Judge Roberts to help sink his nomination. By going on the air with Hugh they would be forfeiting their greatest weapon: the ability to shape the story in whatever way suits their agenda. Hugh is absolutely right to call the media on this. It's too bad that these reporters weren't willing to take him up on his offer.

It's no wonder that the public doesn't trust the mainstream media.

Posted by Tom at July 30, 2005 02:18 PM

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You are absolutely correct. The reporters in question certainly want to be able to shape the story in their own fashion, something a life interview would not allow them to do. I wonder, though, why Hugh doesn't accept a strict Q&A interview? Q&A limits the reporters ability to slant the story.

Posted by: Justin at July 30, 2005 03:36 PM