Yeah, she’s written a bit about how she was bullied by the White House after not letting George “lead the interview.” (Via Atrios.)
At the studio I handed over the tapes. My phone rang. It was MC, and her voice was cold.
“We just want to say how disappointed we are in the way you conducted the interview,” she said.
“How is that?” I asked.
“You talked over the president, not letting him finish his answers.”
“Oh, I was just moving him on,” I said, explaining that I wanted some new insight from him, not two-year-old answers.
“He did give you plenty of new stuff.”
She estimated that I had interrupted the president eight times and added that I had upset him. I was upset too, I told her. The line started to break up; I was in a basement with a bad phone signal. I took her number and agreed to call her back. I dialled the White House number and she was on the line again.
“I’m here with Colby,” she indicated.
“You were given an opportunity to interview the leader of the free world and you blew it,” she began.
I was beginning to feel as if I might be dreaming. I had naively believed the American president was referred to as the “leader of the free world” only in an unofficial tongue-in-cheek sort of way by outsiders, and not among his closest staff.
“You were more vicious than any of the White House press corps or even some of them up on Capitol Hill . . .The president leads the interview,” she said.
“I don’t agree,” I replied, my initial worry now turning to frustration. “It’s the journalist’s job to lead the interview.”
It was suggested that perhaps I could edit the tapes to take out the interruptions, but I made it clear that this would not be possible.
As the conversation progressed, I learnt that I might find it difficult to secure further co-operation from the White House. A man’s voice then came on the line. Colby, I assumed. “And, it goes without saying, you can forget about the interview with Laura Bush.”