Skip to comments.On Nightline Tonight: Dixie Chicks vs. Free Republic 10/26/06 (Will Air Tomorrow Night)
Posted on 10/26/2006 7:18:40 PM PDT by kristinn
Nightline contacted me Tuesday looking to interview Jim about a story they were working on about the Dixie Chicks. Jim declined as is his wont and he said I could do it if I felt like it. I informed ABC of Jim's decision. They did a pre-interview with me by phone Tuesday afternoon. Yesterday they called back and scheduled the inteview for late this afternoon. They asked if I had an office they could film the interview at. I laughed and said, no, so we set it up for the ABC News D.C. bureau on DeSales St.
This morning, they asked if they could move the interview up to mid-day. I said sure and arrived at the bureau promptly at 2:30, accompanied by Nofel al Jazairi, an Iraqi friend who has spoken at many of the D.C. Chapter's support the troops and their mission rallies over the past four years. Nofel and I had a meeting on Capitol Hill planned for this afternoon.
We were met downstairs by a waiting Nightline producer who took us upstairs to the Nightline offices. She offered us coffee and tea, which we glady accepted. Another woman brought us to the studio where the interview would be conducted. However, it wasn't exactly a studio. It was the office of Nightline co-anchor Terry Moran. I guess they were intent on not using a sterile set for the interview.
They applied no make-up to me, but they did have me wipe my forehead to ease some of the shine reflecting off my ever receding hairline.
I introduced Nofel to the producer who would be doing the interview off-camera. She said she had been to Iraq at the beginning of the war. We spoke about Iraq for a few minutes before we got down to business. Nofel sat on a couch off-camera while I sat on a chair in front of Moran's desk.
The producer told me she didn't really know that much about the blogosphere and would be interested in meeting later to learn more about it ( When she said that, I thought back to Mary Mapes' crash course on the Internet the day after Rathergate broke.) I told her she should, because we were driving her profession out of business. I didn't mean that in a snarky way, but it's a fact that even ABC's political director Mark Halperin has been sounding the alarm about.
The interview went on for what seemed liked thirty miinutes, but it was probably shorter. It was a decent interview, question wise. One thing that threw me for a bit of a loop was when she read back a quote by one of the Dixie Chicks from the interview they did for the show this morning. The gist of it was they were blaming Free Republic for creating an atmosphere of hate that led to death threats. I answered by saying, "Don't lay that at our door" and spoke about the death threats that conservatives get on a regular basis and about the new Bush assassination film and the similarly themed books and plays, and Air America host who called for Bush's assassination. I asked where's the outrage for that.
I also said that if Natalie Maines had made her remark in Iraq about Saddam Hussein at that time, that she would have been kidnapped, raped, tortured, mutilated and her body dumped ina canal or buried in the desert and that her family would never hear about her again.
The producer began the interview by asking about Free Republic. I gave the usual answer, "It's a conservative news, analysis and activism forum..."
We got in to the London incident and what role Free Republic played in the downfall of the Dixie Chicks. We spoke about the film and certain scenes in it. She wanted to know how we felt about our 'victory' over the Dixie Chicks. I tried to put it in context with other efforts that received less acknowledgement, like Freepers helping to get President Clinton impeached and later instigating a boycott of Morgan Stanley for having Clinton speak at a meeting shortly after Clinton left the White House in disgrace. I was reluctant to claim complete responsibility for the 'victory' as it was more than the reaction of Freepers that laid the Dixie Chicks low. Freepers played a visible and effective role, but we weren't the only ones outraged by the Dixie Chicks back then.
There were more questions and discussions, but I don't have a detailed recollection because.....a few minutes after the interview ended the producer came over to me with some bad news. The audio recording was blemished by static. She asked if I could do the interview over. I said sure. Nofel, who has a background in broadcasting, told me he had a feeling there was a problem with the sound, but he didn't say anything as he assumed the professionals had it under control.
The sound engineer explained later that the piece of equipment he was using is twenty years old and is designed so you can only moniter the sound from the mic to the recorder and not the output.
We had planned to go outside and film a shot of me walking about a tiny park. It's a much used, but much denigrated in the business technique for B-Roll that can be used with a voiceover by the reporter. Thankfully, that went out the window with the botched first interview. Nofel went outside any way after having witnessed the magic of network television firsthand. Once was enough.
Terry Moran was not put out by his office being tied up for a while longer. We ended up speaking for about five minutes while they reset the camera and lights. Despite how surly he came off when he was dealing with Scott McClellan, we had a decent conversation about the the foundering mainstream news business. He was flabbergasted when I told him Katie Couric was down to a 1.1. in Los Angeles.
The second interview was shorter. I got the feeling, having been an interviewer myself, that the producer had a more precise idea of what would work for the segment after having gone through the first round.
Some of the questions were the same, like the Dixie Chicks accusing FR of inciting hatred, and some were different. I was a bit fatigued for the second try. The producer had to remind me a few times to look up when I was speaking because I was lowering my eyes while I was thinking back to how I responded the first time the question was asked.
After it was over, she said told me that she thought this round was better than the first. "The first one was good," she said, "but the second was great!"
I laughed and said, "You say that to all the interviewees."
She said she meant it but I had my doubts because I felt like I needed an espresso after the two go-rounds.
The sound engineer agreed with the producer, saying, "You had some great (sound) bites in this one."
All I can say is, we'll all be able to find out later tonight. 11:30 eastern, 10:30 Central and after your late local news in the Mountain and Western time zones.
Thank you, Jim. Hope I did okay by FR.
I'll have to TIVO it, kristinn!! :)
I'll set the DVR
Is Nats as easy as she looks?
Excellent! Hope this made it into the 2nd interview as well.
I don't have TV but if I did you can bet I'd tune in.
They want an open war against Free Republic, they will get one, and they will lose big.
Great work! Way to represent! I'm sure you'll make us proud!
If FReepers have so much power to tank the Chicksie Dix, can they get me a promotion?
I'm sure you'll do us proud, kristinn. Thanks for representing us well.
Their manager tried to blame Freepers tonight on H&C, Sean ripped into him and defended our right to speak out just as Natalie spoke out.. It was 1/2 way through the show for anyone who missed it.
I will watch Nightline tonight, the first time in years.
I'm sure you did great Kristinn, looking forward to seeing you in the interview!
Kristinn, you have been heroic in the amount of time and effort you have put into this over so many years.
It sounds as if you should have made a good impression on the people in the studio, which never hurts. Now we'll see what they keep and what they cut.
But no matter how much they cut or spin, I think it's a big plus for FR. I first learned about FR and Drudge through a hit piece in the New York Times Magazine Section. Not their intention at all, but it called these sites to my attention.
I'm sure you'll make us proud! I'll finally watch Nighline, which I have banned from my tv for the last few years.
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Does Nightline and the Dixie Chicks not understand?
You could have let him retrieve his binky...you mean old Freeper.