Charles Gibson of Abc News had the first opportunity to interview Sarah Palin and he blows it by looking like a condescending community college teacher. After watching the interview I have a question for Mr. Gibson. "Can you sir, look the American people in the eye and really say that you have the intellectual fortitude to be a journalist?" I mean, I'm just modeling this question after the type of questions you asked Governor Palin, so thats fair right? This interview was a "Gotcha" quiz that Sarah was prepared for. Heres what she did right and what she needs to continue to improve on because the media is out to destroy her:
Charlie Came Off So Bad, It Made Her Better- The tone that Charlie took with Sarah was just embarrassing, heres an example from the Abc News transcript after Gibson asked about The Bush Doctrine and if we have the right to invade a country if our security is threatened. (Emphasis added)
PALIN: Now, as for our right to invade, we're going to work with these countries, building new relationships, working with existing allies, but forging new, also, in order to, Charlie, get to a point in this world where war is not going to be a first option. In fact, war has got to be, a military strike, a last option.
GIBSON: But, Governor, I'm asking you: We have the right, in your mind, to go across the border with or without the approval of the Pakistani government.
PALIN: In order to stop Islamic extremists, those terrorists who would seek to destroy America and our allies, we must do whatever it takes and we must not blink, Charlie, in making those tough decisions of where we go and even who we target.
GIBSON: And let me finish with this. I got lost in a blizzard of words there. Is that a yes?
Yes Charlie, its a yes, like she said quite clearly. I mean his insipid question of "Do you support the Bush Doctrine?" She said, quite reasonably, "In what respect?" What Gibson doesnt seem to understand is that the Bush Doctrine as he calls it has more then one meaning. If he wanted to ask about preemptive strikes then he should have asked about that, not lectured her on what he thinks the Bush Doctrine means. The Bush Doctrine, Charlie, can mean Bush's policy and ideology that promotes the democratization of the middle east, it can mean almost any aspect of his foreign policy. It was a ridiculous "gotcha" question that she handled quite well.
She Needs Stylistic Improvement- Watching the interview I think the tone of the "pop quiz" interview got Sarah off guard a bit and put her on the defensive. Part of her appeal is the ability to attack with a smile on her face and that was missing last night. Don't let the interviewer get you off your game, ignore him, speak to the audience and bring them on your side. Also, the gesturing is a problem. What works well on a podium does not play well on a sit down interview. Keep the gesturing to a minimum. I know that your tough and you want to come across as tough, but its distracting. Smile, speak to the audience and calm your movements.
Why She Scored Despite Her Problems- Despite what I mentioned above, the terrible interviewer and stylistic problems, she won in this interview. She won because she came across as intelligent and genuine if just a bit green in these interviews. I wanted, like Peggy Noonan, to learn more about Sarah. She was interesting and engaging and there is this fire and passion within her that is frankly refreshing. Round two of the interview will air tonight. Stay tuned America...