Ed Driscoll

Progress Of A Sort

Mark Sheldon of IlliniPundit writes, “I got a call yesterday from Steven Gray, a reporter for Time magazine who was in town today doing an article on student voter registration”:

He left a message on my voice mail asking for ten minutes of my time. I didn’t get back to him so he showed up in my office today. He asked for five minutes, no doubt noticing how busy I was and I politely said no. He comes back with…”come on, just five minutes?”

I told him no, because first, I was busy, and two, I really had no idea what he would do with the video he was planning to shoot of me. He gave a little roll of the eyes and so I asked if I could have an unedited copy of the entirety of what he taped of me. He said “No one does that!” That was the end of the conversation.

He seemed like a nice guy and I have no particular reason to doubt his integrity as a reporter. Except for his instant negative reaction to my request.

Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit, has suggested that everyone bring their own cameras to interviews. I was a little busy to try that stunt, so I went with the next best thing. I wasn’t surprised that the reaction was negative, if for no other reason than I expect my response was pretty much out of the blue.

Not doing the interview is probably a good career move. After all, if Time does you right, you get 15 minutes of fame. If they do you wrong, you get a lifetime of infamy on their website.

No hard feelings Mr. Gray. Next time I won’t ask for the tape, I’ll take Reynolds’ advice and bring my own camera.

I guess it’s a form of progress that Gray’s reply was simply a startled, “No one does that!”, because a decade ago, our sensitive legacy media considered taping your own interview “intimidation”, as former CBS journalist Bernard Goldberg wrote in Arrogance, his sequel to his first inside the trenches book on media bias:

You know the old saying “They can dish it out but they can’t take it”?

In October 1999 the ABC newsmagazine 20/20 was about to air a story on a man named Michael Ellis, the founder and CEO of a company that markets a controversial weight-loss pill. It was the kind of investigation that doesn’t always end well for the person on the other end of the camera, the one being interviewed. So, fearing his comments might be taken out of context and that the interview might be edited to make him look bad, before the 20/20 piece aired Ellis took the unedited transcript and video of the entire interview-which he’d recorded on his own-and put it out on the World Wide Web.

This made people at ABC News very angry. In fact, one vice-president told the New York Times, without a hit of irony, that “We don’t want other people attempting to get into and shift the journalism process.” [Things were much more fun for the legacy media when they had a monopoly–Ed]

Next to be heard was former ABC News Vice President Richard Wald, now teaching young journalists at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. Wald called the CEO’s strategy, “a not-so-subtle form of intimidation”.

Got that? When the media disseminates information about “other people”, it’s news. When “other people” disseminate information about themselves, it’s intimidation.

It didn’t take long for the tsunami to reach CBS News, where its president, Andrew Heyward, put out the following in-house memo. I share it with you now, in its entirety.

You can read Heyward’s memo at my original blog post on the topic from 2005. Bernie doesn’t mention if CBS typed it up on the 1973 edition of Microsoft Word or not, though.

(H/T: IP)