I have just concluded a 60 minute interview with ABCNews.com’s Jake Tapper, which concluded with Jake promising me that “it is my intention to put up as much of this as possible,” which means the public will have available to it a quite spirited discussion of MSM and its ethics, as well as David Vitter’s troubles, old journalism’s biases, and Mitt Romney and my book.
Jake grew quite testy when I pointed out to him that the pitch e-mail I had received had not alerted me that I’d be discussing anything other than my book. Here’s the e-mail, with the producer’s name deleted:
Dear Mr. Hewitt,
My name is ___________ and I work for ABC News in New York. I work
on a podcast with Jake Tapper.
Mr. Tapper is interested in interviewing you for our podcast. He would
like to talk with you about your book, A Mormon in the White House? Ten
Things Every American Should Know About Mitt Romney. The interview
would be done over the phone and it would take no more than 15 to 20
minutes. We usually tape in the morning or early afternoon. If you
are interested and available sometime this week, please let me know.
Feel free to contact me at this email address:
Thank you for your time,
I pointed out to Jake –in the course of a long exchange about MSM’s many failings– that this isn’t the sort of pitch e-mail designed to alert the interview subject about the nature of the interview ahead. I’d have been happy to discuss anything and everything with Tapper –he’s a fine reporter though, in my view, a lefty. But it would have been more to my way of doing journalism to have alerted the interview subject to the particulars of the interview ahead or to have left it open, rather than suggest a book interview that began with the topic of David Vitter’s fall.
The discussion became heated and I thought very interesting, but I also caught some attempts by Jake to introduce the possibility that he’d be editing the piece for broadcast as a podcast, an understanding I would not have agreed to, and which I still object to. I told him so many times in the course of the exchange, trying as best I could to get his commitment that he’d not be slicing and dicing the exchange. I think I got that commitment, and I look forward to bringing you the link for the podcast as soon as it is available. I’ll play it on the air as well.