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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/1/08

My Experiment With Rep. Robert Wexler on Fixing One Media Flaw That Angers A Lot of Viewers/Listeners

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The Question I Didn't Ask Robert Wexler: Will Bush Use HR 362 to Use a Naval Blockade of Iran to Escalate Into Armed Conflict

I can't tell you how many times I curse under my breath when a news anchor doing an interview drops the ball and lets the person being interviewed have a pass when he or she avoids answering a question or doesn't answer it directly or changes the subject or replies with an answer that demands another level of questioning. So I was extra frustrated that I was guilty of this on my own radio show. But we came up with a solution.

I can't tell you how many times I curse under my breath when a news anchor doing an interview drops the ball and lets the person being interviewed have a pass when he or she avoids answering a question or doesn't answer it directly or changes the subject or replies with an answer that demands another level of questioning.

I see this kind of softball, weak interviewing happen every day. This article talks about my personal experience BEING one of those broadcast interviewers and a solution I’ve come up with—one that I tried, that worked, and could set a precedent for how the mainstream media handle unfinished interviews and resolve unanswered questions.

The other day, I was not surprised to find my chagrin waking me up at 5:30 AM as it sunk in on me that I'd been guilty of doing the same thing with my radio interview the night before with House Rep Robert Wexler (D-FL), who I am actually a big fan of. With the release of his new book, Fire-Breathing Liberal, I had a half hour interview booked about 30 minutes after he finished a few minute stint with Keith Olbermann.

A few hours before the interview, I got a call from Wexler's chief of staff, feeling out the climate for my interview. While my site, OpEdNews.com is an apparently friendly site for a liberal legislator, it has a lot of members who are further left than liberal. One site poll showed that 40% of our readers would support Nader McKinney or other. About 10% are conservatives who will probably support McCain. So I wasn't surprised when a writer wrote a hit piece on Wexler for endorsing House resolution 362, a bill which calls for putting tighter economic constraints on Iran, including the "demand" that President Bush prohibit the export to Iran refined petroleum products.

My Wexler-excoriating writer pointed out that this could justify a naval blockade that could escalate to war. Actually, a whole lot of people on the web are raising this concern.

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One of our OpEdNews editors raised the same issue and a reader, responding to my invitation to suggest questions for my interviewee, again raised the same question, pointing out that former FBI analyst and NIE report writer Ray McGovern had also raised the concern.

So, when Wexler's chief of staff called me, about four hours before the show, to check out the "climate" Wexler would be encountering, I assured him it would be, overall, friendly, that I'd put a link in the article that tore Wexler a new one to David Swanson's article, In Defense of Robert Wexler, and that I was a fan of Wexler. But I also told him I did have another Wexler fan who wanted to ask him about the disturbing news that he'd signed on to a bill that others were saying could be used as a pretext to start a war with Iran-- a war set up and approved by congress.

Johnson assured me that Wexler was happy and ready to talk about the resolution. We had mutually reassured each other.

I'd set up the interview so my editor would be on the line, ready to ask away, when cued. After about 9 minutes talking about the book, about my having lived in his district, about the large percentage (about a third) of his constituents being Jewish, and how he dealt with Israel-- he pointed out that he'd been a spokesman for the Obama campaign, reaching out to Jewish communities, and how, under Obama, with direct talks with leaders, Israel would be at less risk, I asked my editor, Cheryl Biren-Wright, to ask her question about his endorsement of the bill that could lead to a naval embargo.

Wexler replied that there was no reference to a naval embargo written into the bill.

Cheryl asked him another question (She reviews this in great detail in her exceptional article. (If Increased Sanction Resolution 362 Could Give Bush License for a Naval Blockade, Why Support It?)

Moving the interview in a different direction than Cheryl wanted it to go, I commented on my belief that it would be easy, if a nation wanted to go nuclear, to do it without Iran's nuclearization, since N. Korea and Pakistan already have the technologies, and, what the heck, I'd reported the previous week that the US couldn't account for over 1000 nuclear weapon and delivery system parts. Even the US could be the provider of a nuclear weapon against Israel.

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Rob Kall Social Media Pages: Facebook Page       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media.

Check out his platform at RobKall.com

He is the author of The Bottom-up Revolution; Mastering the Emerging World of Connectivity

He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites, OpEdNews.com

more detailed bio:

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind. Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big) to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, (more...)

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