UPDATED: RT Reminds Me That Some Media Know How To Interview (If You Want An Interview…Read On)

Etiquette,Ilana Mercer,Ilana On Radio & TV,Intelligence,Journalism,Media,Objectivism,Politics,Pop-Culture

The Barnum & Bailey Circus of American public life is on display today with the coronation of King Tut, down to the identity group freak shows. My, my, how far we’ve fallen as a culture.

Bring back the vomitorium says I (I am well aware that the concept is misrepresented, but the misrepresentation is worth retaining. It’s a good one).

I have been able to avoid some of the solipsistic orgy over Obama—to say nothing of the obscene platitudes and paradoxes: The Ass With Ears spoke of “Preserving our individual freedoms” through “require[d] collective action.” Moron.

This morning, I gave a prerecorded interview to RT (Russia Today TV, where my Paleolibertarian Column features). It was a pleasant, polite, intellectually stimulating, and professionally conducted exchange.

Ideas were the focus, not personalities. It always is this way with RT.

My RT experience has been vastly different from my experience with American hosts. How? Well, the RT producer’s starting point is a familiarity with and interest in some of the work written by the interviewed individual. She’ll point out which aspects piqued her curiosity, what she’d like to explore on air, etc.

Wow. Intellectual curiosity and courtesy: What old-fashioned concepts!

On the other hand, inquiries stateside invariably begin with the host’s persona and perspective. As follows:

US host: “Like, hey, We want to interview you.”
Ilana: “Sure, what about?”
US host: “Check us out on YouTube. We don’t read.”

You are expected to come on a show and rap, move your mouth. If you’re as chatty and as self-absorbed as your hosts invariably are, then all’s copacetic. But if you’re a person who tends to use words sparingly and with attempted precision, you’re out of luck.

When my daughter was seven-years old, her school assigned her the task of describing her parents. On her father, daddy’s darling heaped unrealistic praise. For her devoted mother, this perceptive chatterbox of a child reserved a matter-of-fact appraisal. “My mother,” she wrote in her girly cursive, “is a quiet woman who speaks mainly when she has something to say.”

To that my friend, writer Rob Stove, responded: “If everyone rationed speech thus, the entire mainstream punditocracy would cease to exist.”


If he’s having a good day, your host may just exhibit a limited interest in you, not in your output, by sending you some obscure link or file that has caught his attention. The idea is that his inner world and current preoccupations should become your own.

In any event, if you want to interview me, do as RT does: Check out and choose a topic from my weekly output.

UPDATE (Jan. 21, 2013): The interview was on RT’s “The Truthseeker.” The process was fun and professional. The end result not ideal, as the sound conked-out on me and only a short snippet was harvested from the lengthy interview. There’s always a next time.