Take a deep breath Bill

Saturday, October 4, 2008

by Pat Tierney

In these last couple weeks of class, we have spent a considerable amount of time on how to interview and get information from sources. I couldn't help but smile then, when I ran across and interview that I just didn't think was "by the books".

Bill O'Reilly, host of "The O'Reilly Factor", had what is being described as an "on air meltdown" while interviewing Barney Frank, a congressman, on Thursday.

O'Reilly was interviewing Frank about the proposed bailout bill that was sent through Washington this week when he literally began yelling at his interviewee. This led to an all out shouting match on the air.

In an interview with a newspaper after the incident, O'Reilly said that he did not regret the on-air heated exchange, and that it is his job to hold these people responsible for their actions.

This made me think about what we have been learning in class. O'Reilly is viewed as a journalist, but when asked he said that it was his job to hold people responsible.

We have also discussed the importance of not being overly aggressive with interviewees, and I have to say that being aggressive may be an understatement in this case.

The job of journalists is to report the facts straight. Personally, as nice as it was to see a big time Washington insider be held accountable, it didn't fall under the category of responsible reporting.


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