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


| 9/16/2008 9:02:03 AM


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.”

Cally Carswell
9/17/2008 11:05:57 PM

I think your point is well taken that too much attention is being paid to the wrong things. But, the fact that we dislike the campaign's stonewalling doesn't change what's at stake: a person the public barely knows could be next in line for the presidency in less than two months. I don't think not covering her is an option. However, not covering lipstick/farm animal stories and sticking to those of substance certainly is. On that note, I read a good blog post at Political Animal today about the light coverage of troopergate and why it's puzzling that might interest folks: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/archives/individual/2008_09/014766.php


Morgan Brooke
9/17/2008 7:08:31 PM

Thank you Emily--politicians beg for every moment of free media face time so media treatment of her pouty "no interviews" ploy as a big news story is working for her doubletime. Huge media face time and no questions or accountability. She doesn't want to answer questions or do interviews -- we heard that-- it isn't news. The next mention of her in any media outlet in any way should be when that changes. Stop giving free photo ops to the "hot VP" gal. It's not that kind of a contest. Morgan


Mylene Dufault
9/17/2008 5:06:56 PM

Is it not a well-known fact, at least in the media, that politicians and public personalities request a list of the questions to be asked to them or themes to be discussed BEFORE the interview??? I just object to this interview being presented like a "test" for Palin when it was most probably well rehearsed (on her part) with top consellors and spin doctors beforehand. The role of the journalist, no matter how intelligent and incisive, remains purely instrumental in such a well staged image creating operation.