Not So “Fair” Or “Balanced”
Last Friday, The New Mix Morning Show was offered an interview with Secretary Hillary Clinton. We accepted, it aired, and there seems to have been some confusion. Especially from Fox News.
We were granted a 5-6 minute interview (we ran over by 22 seconds in the end), it aired around 7:20 MST Friday, and we posted it on mix106radio.com. We thought that would be the end of it, but Fox News and a couple small blogs picked it up and ran it over the weekend. That's all fine and good, except these sources - especially Fox News - seemed to have an agenda that they wanted to use our interview to accomplish, and in the end, were a bit deceptive in the process.
I want to answer a few of the questions and respond to the criticism that came in, not to defend anything, but rather clarify what was left out of the conversation about the interview and the decisions we made leading up to it. If you haven't heard it, the interview can be heard below.
Fox News decided they wanted to tell the story of "a radio station in Boise only giving softball questions to Hillary Clinton." That was really all they were interested in, so they pulled some clips, edited them together, and used our lighter personal questions that were 1/3rd of the interview. They decided not to address that they had pulled only a portion of the interview, that they had edited it, that we had asked other questions beyond those, or perhaps most importantly that we are an music and entertainment-based station and not a news outlet.
Fox News is deceptive. They reason I say that is almost every since person who contacted us how no idea the interview was bigger than those questions and that is exactly how Fox wanted it to seem. It's also completely untrue.
Many of the critical responses by email or Facebook centered around us "only asking about pizza and burgers" or "romantic comedies," but as I responded and asked if those same people knew there was more to the interview the answer was universally "no." I provided the link, most listened, and almost all of those people wrote back with a version of "sorry, I didn't realize there was more, and that as much better than what I thought it was." Some also wanted me to know they "still can't stand her," which is fine and totally anyone's right.
The background of how we put the interview together further underscores that. We were approached by the Clinton campaign (we never reached out to any of the candidates, the Clinton campaign came to us) and asked if we would like to speak with the Secretary for 5-6 minutes. We discussed and decided that as Idaho prepared to caucus for Democrats Tuesday, this was not only timely but also an opportunity - as short as a 5-6 minute interview is - to provide our audience some insight into a presumptive nominee for President. We put out the request for questions on our Facebook, mix106radio.com, and by email.
There were many comments telling us how much people disliked her, a handful of very insulting statements, but the majority of suggested and requested questions had to do with "I don't know anything about her as a person," trustworthiness, and why would we want more of the same (given her close alignment with President Obama lately). There were also questions about Benghazi, the email server, and the idea of her being under indictment.
We decided to look at what we could do best in 5 minutes to accomplish the most that Idahoans had asked for from her. We knew that hard news journalists haven't had luck getting different answers from her on Benghazi (even the day long hearings didn't seem to change that discourse), email servers, and she's completely refused to discuss the indictment scenarios, so to us, we weren't going to break new ground by asking any of those questions. Instead, we would get either a "I'm not going to talk about that," or as subjects of interviews can do, shut down down the interview. While that might be "fun" for some people to think we could irritate her into hanging up, we didn't feel that was the best use of the small amount of time allotted.
Instead, we decided we would do something in line with how we do all interviews that also would accomplish the requested "help us know more about her" so we asked her some basic human interest questions. It's also a technique to give the subject of the interview questions that let them drop their guard a little bit and hopefully pull them off their talking points. Our questions were designed to see what her more "human side" might look like in a couple different scenarios.
We then moved on to what was the most stressful thing about her day, something most of us can identify with, and one we hoped might tell us more about what challenges her and how she handles it. Questions about policy and that statement that Idaho also questions her trustworthiness followed. It was our intention to express the biggest themes we had received and then to allow you to determine what you thought of her responses and tone.
We are not a news station and as you know Mix doesn't dive into politics and debate on them. We did feel if any candidate wanted to come on and take questions from real Idahoans about issues Idaho is looking at, that was a good thing in the end.
So, was it the "hardest hitting" interview she's had to face? No way. It also wasn't designed to be that (nor could it be in 5-6 minutes). I do hope it was worthy of a few minutes of your time listening if you had an interest in hearing from her in any way.
I also hope that helps to clarity why we did it the way we did. As always, thanks for listening, and taking the time to read this.