Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Vocal but Doubting Helen Thomas

Glen Dean posted some unflattering comments and an even more unflattering, but not inaccurate, picture related to Helen Thomas' questioning of President Bush at yesterday's press conference. Mr. Dean's remarks have generated considerable discussion both at his blog and at Nashville Is Talking.

Whatever Ms. Thomas once was, and I am too young -- I am middle aged -- to remember her as anything other than other than a venerable windbag, she clearly no longer displays the skills of a reporter gathering information for a story. A good interviewer asks questions designed to elicit responses that are newsworthy. Reporters who have not learned this skill or who have become frustrated with the ability of some to avoid responding in newsworthy ways instead focus on injecting themselves into a contrived story or on playing a game of "gotcha" with the interviewee.

For this reason, interviews conducted by talking heads such as Sean Hannitty are nearly worthless in terms of producing new information. And for this reason, Ms. Thomas should never again be recognized by anyone conducting a Washington press conference.

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