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In NBC

Oh, the joy to watch a brilliant news interview, the work of a master such as Bob Costas who, like a knight out of our journalism story books, charged onto NBC’s new high-tech set Monday night and delivered a low tech tour de force…. phoner!

As happens in all high art forms, Costas made this incredibly challenging interview seem effortless.

Getting a newsmaker in the chair (or on the phone as it turned out) is only half the battle. Getting a person in the middle of a media frenzy to really talk is the other, especially when that frenzy is over a pedophile sex scandal and football.

Eric Wemple, the Washington Post’s news media op-ed editor, said it best:

“The tone put this interview into a special category. Over nearly ten minutes Costas managed to be: prepared without being formulaic or rigid, polite without being nice, and skeptical without being prosecutorial.”

The transcript of the Sandusky interview cannot possibly reveal the mine field through which Costas was walking. One wrong step, I kept thinking, and Sandusky can just cut off the questions, put down the phone as in, “Uh, thanks for your interest, Bob, but gotta go now, it’s been a long day.”

Instead, Costa was getting Jerry Sandusky to open up and say (with a disturbingly flat affect), “I shouldn’t have showered with those kids.”

It reminded me of Michael Jackson admitting he slept in the same bed with a 13-year-old for 30 consecutive days in the boy’s mother’s house, but that he and the child (his first accuser) only watched scary movies together.

Pedophiles are very crafty, but if you can keep them talking you can learn a lot. Masters of manipulation, they often believe the “winning ways” which work on 10 year olds will also fool grown-ups. It rarely does. Read the rest of this entry »

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