Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hints for Brian Williams for His Interview With Ahmadinejad

Ahmadinejad with empty pockets on the cover of Time

UPDATE: You can see the interview and leave a comment about it at Newsvine. My POV, is that there is no way to interview AN without also providing him with a platform. If you insult him, you lose. If you cut him off, you lose. If you are polite, you lose. Nice tie, though.

Omid Memarian supplies hints for interviewing Ahmadinejad.

Here's my response to a couple of his hints:
2- Don't use a rude tone in order to appear aggressive...

Exactly. Iranians are masters of the excruciatingly polite insult. Best to practice up ahead of time. Overt aggressiveness plays to his strength and makes people think he's been unfairly treated.

3- It's his answers, not your questions, that are important...

This may be true. But don't just let him babble on and on about things unrelated to the question. If you ask him about the Holocaust, he responds with the Palestinians (why doesn't anyone ever respond that the Balfour Declaration predates the Holocaust?)... I recommend firmly, but gently herding him into a direct response to the question.

4- Research Iranian cultural codes. For example, do not wear a tie to the interview. For Ahmadinejad and other Iranian officials, a tie is a symbol of capitalism...

This is a crock of shit. Who cares if the tie is a symbol of capitalism? Wear it! In my experience, Iranians are smart enough to know that we Westerners have our own cultural codes. I completely, totally disagree with this kind of pandering. The only reason for removing your tie is the heat of a Tehran summer not what Ahmadinejad or anyone else would think.

It's more important to know how conversational formalities work than to not wear a tie.

5- Don't ask cliché questions...

What is a cliche question? (Read the full list at the Huffington Post

read more | digg story


Anonymous said...

I can predict

if Brian Williams will ask though questions they will not be the ones he should have asked.
"Do not forget that you are a journalist, not a government offical like Condoleezza Rice or Robert Gates. "
Unfortunately, from what I have heard, journalists in USA behave like a party officials - either like democratic party officials or conservative party officials.
So yes, it would be nice if he started to behave like journalist and not an elected (or non-elected) party official.

Tori said...

I think you are confusing journalists, who are supposed to try to set their political viewpoints aside, with commentators and columnists, who are supposed to drown us in their political viewpoints.

Lisa said...

Before your interviews with officials read some blogs which give an insiders picture about politics in Iran . This one I recently found is very cool!!

VinceP1974 said...

In general I am so embarassed by these types of interviews.

[i have not watched this one yet]

I find elitist Western journalists/academic types to be absolutely out of their league when giving a platform to folks like AN.

I actually believe these reporters think they're going to have the "upper hand" in these things... when in fact the Journalists do not respect the fundamental beliefs of the people they interview. In other words if Mahmud says something for himself that comes from religion or specific Islamic culture, the journalist will dismiss that and impose on him a Marxist or Anti-Ameican point of view.

The reporter will be played like a violin and not even realize it. while at the same time thinking that he is making Mahmud look stupid.

Truly sad.

Though i dont think anythign will ever exceed the humiliation that Columbia University received by their farce lecture with Iran's President last year.