A Tough Interview

CnnA New York Times article compliments CNN reporter Jake Tapper for an "uncompromising" interview with Vice President-elect Mike Pence. After criticism of most TV anchors, including a soft-ball interview by Matt Lauer of Trump in September, the article is an action call to others covering the election and presidency. 

The toughest issue was about Michael G. Flynn, the son of Trump's pick for national security adviser, Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn. The younger Flynn has an active social media life and has been spreading rumors, such as the one about Hillary Clinton running a child sex ring out of a Washington, D.C., pizzeria, where a man, believing the story, appeared and fired a shot. Michael G.'s relationship to the administration came into question when Trump's transition team pursued security clearance for him.

Tapper pushed Pence during the interview eight times, saying, "I want to move on to other issues, but I'm afraid I just didn't get an answer." Pence called Tapper's questions a "distraction" and talked about the public's satisfaction with the president-elect's decisive action.

Tapper tried again: "You're downplaying his role, but you must be aware of the transition team putting forth security clearance." Pence says he was helping with scheduling.

Tapper again: "Are you aware that a security clearance...?" Pence finally admitted something about "paperwork.

It's a frustrating interview to watch.

Discussion Starters:

  • How well did Pence handle the questioning? Should he have handled it differently?
  • The New York Times writer says this type of questioning should be the norm, not the exception. Do you agree?
  • Has TV reporting changed over time? Have reporters gotten less aggressive, as some claim? If so, why do you think this is the case?