Typical Example of Poor Journalism

Typical Example of Poor Journalism


Richard E. Vatz

Rather than choose the worst example of journalism, I want to highlight  a prototypical example of the mainstream media’s unwillingness to do a good job of interviewing.

Trending: Candidate Survey: Wally McClure for Washington County Commissioner

Yesterday, award-winning veteran ABC Washington correspondent Jonathan Karl had the opportunity to interview New York’s Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for the network’s This Week in the absence of George Stephanopoulos, who was away, having interviewed President Donald Trump.

There has not been a more insipid follow-up-question-absent interview on a major network (O.K., CNN has them all the time) in memory.  It was the kind of empty, loving interview older folks will recall from President Richard M. Nixon’s bud, Bud Wilkinson, decades ago.

Was AOC politically motivated in her positions?  Karl: I take your point about not doing this for politics.

No follow-ups to AOC’s sly slur regarding alleged illegal behavior by Mitch McConnell’s wife; AOC represented Trump as saying he is “willing to break the law to win an election,” an outrageous paraphrase of Trump’s original claim that he would not immediately go to the FBI if offered information by “Norway.”  No response or follow-up by Karl.

Karl question to AOC, “Does Joe Biden get it?” There’s a toughie.

The entire interview went on like this.

In the panel discussion following the interview, to his credit former governor of New Jersey Chris Christie criticized Karl harshly for his uninspired interviewing, and Karl had no defense.

There is no reason to fire Jonathan Karl, but if the ABC brass ever want to have a seriously disinterested but interesting show, they must ensure that their hosts ask, to put it simply, some pressing – at least one or two — follow-ups.


Professor Vatz is professor of political Rhetoric at Towson University. and is the Author of The Only Authentic of Persuasion: the Agenda-Spin Model  (LAD Custom Publishing, 2019) ) and the co-editor of Thomas S. Szasz: the Man and His Ideas (Transaction Publishers, 2017).




Send this to a friend