Mark Grimm


Ron Paul Clash with CNN’s Borger: Where Both Erred

Both GOP presidential contender Ron Paul and CNN interviewer Gloria Borger could have handled their controversial interview differently. Paul ended the interview after repeated questions about racist newsletters distributed under Paul’s name about 20 years ago.

Here’s an edited tape of the interview:

Even if you feel he was badgered, by ending the interview, Paul brings more attention to the story, which is something that doesn’t help him. He also was inconsistent with his answers. He initially said, “on occasion, yes,” he did read the newsletters, yet he later said I “never read that stuff.”

As for Borger, persistence is an admirable trait in journalism, but you have to know where the line is between persistence and badgering. She crossed it. Even in this edited version (we didn’t get to see the entire interview), Paul answered the question three times — “didn’t write them, disavow them.” Paul was correct when he said, “you got the answer.” Paul answered the question, Borger just didn’t like the answer she was getting. There’s a difference.

Watching the interview, do you have any question in your mind what Borger thinks of Paul? That should not be so obvious in a reporter. She even said, “come on” to him. which is an evaluation not a question. This is another reason, by the way, reporters like Borger should not be giving their opinions on talk shows about the people they are covering.

Mr. Paul should have been more consistent and finished the interview. Annoying interviews go with the territory. Though Ms. Borger deserves some initial credit for persistence, she eventually let your own agenda slip in. Her job is to inquire, not evaluate. Both should learn from the experience and so should everyone watching.

The writer is a former TV anchor/reporter, current media consultant and adjunct media professor.

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