Monday, February 9, 2015

A waste of good access

Politico has a great takedown of Vox's recent softball interview with Obama:
Vox has lavished such spectacular production values on the video version of the Obama interview—swirling graphics and illustrations, background music (background music!?), aggressive editing, multiple camera angles—that the clips end up looking and sounding like extended commercials for the Obama-in-2016 campaign. I’ve seen subtler Scientology recruitment films.
I'm constantly surprised that journalists with this degree of access don't risk more on the opportunity. Career and institutional incentives aside, it seems to me that the best strategy to squeeze a novel or interesting answer from skilled politicians is to relentlessly push on a wide variety of off-beat topics. Ask questions about asteroids, human enhancement, land value taxes, organ markets, random new apps (that the president surely won't be aware of). Most interviews employing this style will fail miserably, but occasionally we'll see some excellent fireworks on things that need to be discussed more.

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