I said that among my questions, I would ask, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Would you address the rumor of your husbandÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s affair?Ã¢â‚¬ÂOut of respect for Elizabeth Edwards and because the rumors were unsubstantiated, I said I would not press the issue beyond asking the single question Ã¢â‚¬â€ but that I felt obliged to ask it.
The campaign worker did her best to convince me that it wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t a legitimate question. I asked if she was saying that I couldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t do the interview if I was going to ask that question. I didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t get a straight answer, so I asked if I would get the interview if I agreed not to ask the question Ã¢â‚¬â€ if she wanted that ground rule.
The campaign worker was sharp. She immediately asked that if it was a ground rule, would I then write that I got the interview because I agreed to the ground rule?
I said I would indeed mention, at least on the blog, that such a provision was required for me to get the interview. She said sheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢d get back to me, and later called to say the interview had been cancelled.
It would be easy to criticize Wisckol right now; I could mention that when Wisckol interviewed Giuliani his questions were only slightly more taxing than Ã¢â‚¬Å“what is your favorite color?Ã¢â‚¬Â But far too often we (liberals, bloggers, and liberal bloggers) complain that reporters arenÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t asking hardball questions, and Wisckol had the opportunity to talk with Elizabeth Edwards, and he wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t going to avoid a tough question to get the interview (or if he was he was going to make sure his readers knew he was forced to avoid the question).
I feel for Wisckol right now. This situation points to a problem that is facing journalists all over our countryÃ¢â‚¬â€a country where newspapers are frantically trying to hold on to an audience that is fading faster than John McCain supporters. Newspaper reporters have to peddle a product that is waning in popularity, yet we still expect them to serve the public by asking thorny questions and investigate the unpleasant stories. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not sure what the solution is or will be, but I do know that journalists should never adjust their coverage to continue to sell papers. Wisckol and his editors handled this situation nobly.
Read WisckolÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s entire blog post here.