The other day I did hear one [Toronto radio] host being described by another as a great interviewer.
This resonated because during the Israel/Lebanon war I was interviewed by dozens of people, including this fellow. I was in Israel, he in Toronto. It was on the phone. The producer told me she’d read me the questions before the interview. I told her that this wasn’t at all necessary – I’d been living the war for a week, was an experienced journalist and, anyway, a spontaneous interview was always preferable.
No, she replied, it wasn’t for me but for the interviewer. He needed to have the questions written for him and had to know what the answers would be or he got confused. She dutifully read out the predictable questions and I gave her the answers.
Then we went live to air and this man, earning probably more than $250,000 a year, read out what his producer had written word for word. It could have been anything at all. And, frankly, if I’d replied to some question about war causalities with “My leg is made of cheese” he would have simply gone on to the next question. I’d like to say that this was unique but, sadly, it isn’t.