Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cenk Uygur Interviews Bill Burton

It's been an acknowledged truth, for years now, that Jon Stewart is one of the best interviewers of politicians anywhere on TV. Jokes aside, Stewart asks more real questions than any ten of the blow-dried set who never miss a chance to refer to themselves as "journalists."

Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks, someone I'm slowly becoming aware of, strikes me as another Jon Stewart -- a funny guy who's up-front about his partisan leanings, who nonetheless asks the kind of questions we can only wish the MSM would ask.

Here's an impressive piece of work that I came across on my buddy Baltimoron's Left Flank blog. Uygur, off-camera, is interviewing Bill Burton, Barack Obama's national press secretary, sometime in the past couple of days at the Democratic National Convention.

Burton's answers are occasionally good, while mostly being what you'd expect from a guy in his position. I don't reject everything he says out of hand, and I do acknowledge how his position and the realities of our electoral process require him to resort to the spokesdrone two-step from time to time.

The thing to listen for here is Uygur's questions. He's expressing real concerns, reflecting a well-thought-out point of view, that every progressive and liberal would like to hear Obama and his campaign address. There is no time wasted on softballs. He starts off with the first question on every lefty's mind: why won't the Democrats spine up and stop treating McCain's forty-year old war story as the ace of trumps? All of his questions are pointed without being cheap gotchas. Though he cannot elicit a perfectly straight answer to every last question, his follow-ups and obvious "I call bullshit" tone of voice are impressive, and he does get somewhere with them. Imagine how much better off we would be if more spokespersons and politicians were treated like this.

This should be required viewing for everyone in J-school, not to mention everyone currently taking up space on TV. Thanks for the reminder, Balt -- I gotta start paying more attention to the Young Turks.

(alt. video link)


John Evo said...

I've been listening to the Turks for a couple of years. You are right about Cenk (and why you will probably never see him as a regular on the MSM , although Rachel Maddow gives me hope that it could happen). He has a way of getting past the surface bullshit to the real issue at hand.

bjkeefe said...

Yes, Rachel does give me hope, as does the idea that MSNBC appears to have said, Fuck it, who cares if they call us "liberal?"

Maybe Cenk can wedge his way in there.