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THE PENDULUM HAS STARTED TO SWING, BUT WILL IT SWING ENOUGH?

Greg Mortenson: he needs to come out of hiding

It’s official, I’m now obsessed with Greg Mortenson and desperately want to know everything about who he is, what makes him tick and most important of all, why he hasn’t defended himself after the scorching 60Minutes expose´ Sunday night on his memoir, “Three Cups of Tea.” The report accused him of fabricating his heroic storie, then squandering millions raised for his charity.

Perhaps my reaction was delayed a day or two after learning the biggest fallout right after the story was that The Early Show had failed to follow up on the CBS exclusive on Monday morning. As a former senior executive producer of that show, I couldn’t help think, “who would I have booked, where does the story go from here?”

I know what star I would have reached for: Greg Mortenson. I would have offered him something Steve Kroft could not: a live, uninterrupted, unedited interview forum in which to defend himself. It is something he still needs to do. Read the rest of this entry »

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INTERVIEW IS TOUGHEST, BUT FOR WHOM?

WHEW, WHO ELSE  BUT THE QUEEN OF TALK COULD EVER HANDLE QUESTIONS LIKE THESE…

It began at 9:00 p.m. just like this:  after days of intensive CNN promotion where we see Oprah call it “one of the toughest interviews I’ve had in twenty years,” Piers Morgan opened the door, sat down and asked the first question on his highly anticipated new talk show.  I turned up the volume, shushed my husband and leaned forward.

"one of the toughest interviews Ive had in twenty years"

PIERS: Tell me this, do you ever get surreal moments when, I’m trying to picture what it’s like being you, when you wake up in the morning and you go, ‘Bloody hell, I’m Oprah Winfrey.’

OPRAH:  Well I don’t say, “bloody hell,” but I did have a surreal moment, January 1st, when I launched my new network.

It had been only a matter of seconds before Oprah was pitching her heart out about her new cable network, OWN.  Watching the January 1st launch, she told Morgan,  had moved her to tears when she finally “got it.”   Groomed in the rough and tumble world of London’s Fleet Street, he was more than ready for his follow up.

PIERS: What does it really mean to have your own network?

With the words, “exclusive” written in the lower third of the screen*, Oprah revealed a story she had only shared with the few dozen reporters who attended her press conference at the  Television Critics Association on January 7th.  She said she never loved commercials as much as when she saw them on her OWN network. (*Full disclosure, I have over-used “exclusive” myself  plenty over the years.)

Okay, to be fair, Morgan wants Oprah to get a little something out of the interview, so perhaps it’s good to get a few warm up questions out of the way.  Let’s dig in now.

PIERS: How many people do you trust?

Oprah says about 5 or 6, but she’s not going to say who they are.  Oprah’s on to him now and lets him know she’s not going to discuss what she told Barbara Walters about Gayle.

PIERS: Typical Oprah, you nailed the lie!

Oprah makes it very clear that she will never address those “rumors” again.  And Morgan backs off, but not before Oprah explains why she cried in the Walters interview while discussing her friendship with Gayle.

Having been warned by Oprah not to tread on “rumor” territory, or to expect her to cry again, Morgan deftly backs her in a corner with this follow up:

PIERS: How did Gayle react to your reaction?

OPRAH: She said, ‘that’s so nice.’

It turns out, Gayle didn’t have a chance to see the Barbara Walters interview until they were in Australia, something which made Morgan absolutely collapse in laughter.  But then he composed himself in order to continue Oprah’s toughest interview.  Read the rest of this entry »

YOU’RE BLOWING YOUR TEACHABLE MOMENT

New network show Tuesday night, with same old story?

Paula Abdul is back.  It’s a new year, and a new network show for her on CBS debuting Tuesday night, ” Live to Dance.” But given her shameless interview with Julie Chen this weekend, it’s the same old lies and obfuscation regarding the slurring, blurring and odd behavior of the past.

Hey, Paula, it’s 2011, and time to tell the truth which, I suppose, will not hurt and could actually help a vast number of your fans.

You see, there’s a surge of tremendous good will behind you after getting bounced from American Idol. (Oh, I forgot, you turned down their “lowball” offer.) Simon Cowell embracing you like a kid sister getting “noogies” did wonders for public opinion when even die hard fans started to see you as a crazy Aunt.

Your great dance videos will always remind us of the hard work, life force and sheer talent on which you built your career which is sprinkled with one grammy, two emmy awards and six number one singles.

So why put Julie Chen in the awkward position of asking questions you won’t answer completely or honestly.  In fact, why would CBS News or Les Moonves allow that?

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/12/30/sunday/main7198572.shtml?

Okay, take a look at the excerpt from the Sunday Morning broadcast released by CBS News which you can either click on above or read as follows:

CHEN:      Well, what bugs you that people say about you that you know, and your friends and family know that is just not you?

ABDUL:    I am intelligent.  I am

CHEN:       But, people don’t give you enough credit for having a brain.

ABDUL:    Having a brain, that’s a concept, yes, with Paula Abdul.  I have a brain.

CHEN:      There is some unflattering video of you out there.  It has appeared on Idol. Did you ever have a drinking problem?

ABDUL:    I’ve never had a drinking problem… Even though I’ve been in this business for quite some time. I’ve never physically been drunk in my life.  I’ve never been drunk in my life.  I don’t use recreational drugs.  But, I am goofy.

CHEN:       So, it’s just Paula.

ABDUL:    It’s Paula.  It is Paula.  And, even the people on Idol know that none of that existed, ever.

“Goofy?”  Goofy is daring to give the wife of the chairman of CBS a load of bull — not on The Talk, but on an award-winning broadcast on CBS News.

On the other hand, perhaps an inartful or goofy question — one that has a goofy premise about a drinking problem instead of prescription drug abuse  — deserves a goofy answer.

Why not simply ask: “Were you intoxicated or under the influence of any substance in this video?” or “Why do you think so many people are reposting so many video clips where you seem so out of it?”

Read the rest of this entry »