October 17, 2008

Charlie Rose, OMG

I promised positive, and positive ye shall have.  Charlie Rose is a hero.  He may even be a god (in the hopefully non-offensive hyperbolic sense of that word).  Yay, Charlie.  If you watch Charlie Rose, instead of many of these silly ... well, nameless ... national media sound-biters, then you will give yourself a good chance to stay connected to reality.

Wowie, wow, wow.  I could say this about many of his interviews (Warren Buffett and Antonin Scalia, to name just two), but I just finished watching his most recent interview of Speaker Nancy Pelosi.  Why, oh why, does she not speak like this when the national media cameras are rolling?  It has to be something Charlie does to bring it out of people.  The hung head (Charlie's, not Nancy's).  The dry voice.  The black background.  The round table.  The facial expression that seems to expect an HONEST and DIRECT answer.  He rarely accepts one of those placid facially-scripted political-speak answers.  He gets the job done somehow.  These hide-by-day politicians usually speak out loud and clear on his program.  You can just watch as the layers of false front often seem to fall away.

Speaker Pelosi actually showed that she has a mind and a brain.  Why doesn't she do that when the AP or Reuters is filming?  Why didn't she do it when Charlie interviewed her in her office last February?  Only a few times this time did she put on that silly false smile that says, "let me tell you what I've scripted myself to tell you."  You know the look I mean.  On some politicians the whole face becomes a mask.  Other politicians are able to hold the false front to just a false smile.  Either way, when you see it, you immediately know that the words that follow (well-meaning or not) are 99% likely to be scripted.  Hard to trust a mask.  But instead, for about 85% of this interview Speaker Pelosi told us about how Washington politics actually works.  I call it telling the truth (or direct-speak rather than political-speak).  Don't get me wrong.  I'm not saying that once the mask is gone, the truth is told.  No, no.  I'm saying that once the mask is gone and the eyes become unglazed, you have a chance to look into the politician and perhaps distinquish truth from fable.

Call it what you will, you will actually learn a lot from viewing this particular interview.  Play the October 16 interview through twice (once it is posted on Rose's home.page).   Listen carefully to the questions and the answers.   Watch the Speaker's face, her eyes, her various smiles.   I promise you will learn more about the current policy situation in Washington than you will by listening to the presidential debates or any of the current political commercials. 

I did not say you would agree with everything the Speaker said.  Just look at some of the vicious comments posted on Rose's website about her interview.  I did not say that her take on the flow of events related to the bailouts of the investment and credit markets should, or would, go unchallenged if the minority whip or George W were to give a similar interview.  Democratic and Republican perspectives are clearly going to vary and will often be at odds.  It's instructive, however, to examine what she said and how she said it, this time as compared to her interview last February.  I simply said you would learn more about the current policy situation in Washington by watching Charlie Rose's October 16 interview of Speaker Pelosi than by watching a rerun of the lastest presidential debate.

Congrats to you, Charlie Rose.


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