Yesterday CNN’s Poppy Harlow had an interesting encounter with Roy Moore’s – spokeswoman Jane Porter. I use the word encounter instead of interview because Porter refused to actually be interviewed, preferring instead to ignore Harlow’s questions and say what she wanted. This is not a new tactic, but it has become overused to the point of being infantile.
Sooner or later, and I hope it is sooner, journalists are going to have to start informing interviewees that if they continue to evade and ignore the questions asked the interview will be terminated. It is a journalist’s job to ask tough questions. If the person being interviewed does not like a question they can tell the asker that they will not answer it, but to have them ignore the question and drone on about a different topic should not be tolerated.
Responses to questions that begin with:
What I think you should be asking
The real issue here
What’s more important
Should be cut-off immediately as they are clear indicators that the interviewee is not going to answer the posed question, but is going to go off on a different tangent entirely.
In yesterday’s encounter Harlow, who evidently has the patience of a saint, spent most of the time asking Porter if she was going to answer a specific question, but she never got a simple yes or no.