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The Gibson-Palin Interview: How’d Charlie Do?

by Cally Carswell 

Tags: media, Sarah Palin, Charles Gibson, Gibson-Palin interview, campaign coverage, Slate, Washington Post, Real Clear Politics, Newsbusters, Crooks and Liars,

Gibson-Palin interviewSarah Palin’s performance on ABC last week has been extensively analyzed, but as the only journalist allowed access to the candidate since her announcement, how did Charles Gibson do?

Before the interview, speculation swirled about whether Gibson would go easy on Palin, and pundits and voters from around the country advised him on what to ask. Was he tough enough, too tough, and were your questions answered?

Jack Shafer at Slate gives Gibson high marks: “At every point in the Q&A, Gibson had the right follow-up questions to elicit more from Palin, including after he asked the Bush Doctrine cringe-maker.”

The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz liked Gibson’s work, too: “What the ABC newsman conducted yesterday was a serious, professional interview that went right at the heart of what we want and need to know about the governor: Could she be president? Does she understand the nuances of international affairs? Does she have a world view?” (Thanks, TVNewser.)

Tom Bevan at Real Clear Politics recaps reader responses as mixed: “Speaking of Gibson, some people thought he was fair, while others said he looked like set out to try and make Palin look bad. More than a few mentioned what they saw as his condescending attitude—a number described Gibson's demeanor in terms of a snobby professor delivering a pop quiz while looking down his nose at his subject.”

The conservative blog Newsbusters has no praise for Gibson: “But there was more than Charlie's sneering condescending tone, looking down over the rim of his glasses like some snobby intellectual that bothered me. Twisting her words into a fabrication feeding the fear of theocracy was utterly insulting.”

The liberal blog Crooks and Liars thinks Gibson did fine: “To his credit, Charlie Gibson actually did a pretty good job of grilling Sarah Palin in her first interview since accepting the Republican nomination.”

My two cents: I was glad to see him push her, but also thought he missed some follow-up questions. One that stuck out: When asked what special insight into Russia Alaska’s proximity to the country gave her, Palin responded that you can actually see Russia from Alaska. Gibson moved on.