Good column on CNN analyzing how the Iranian “president” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hoodwinks international journalists during interviews. Some suggestions:
Slavin has suggested that “reporters need to be armed with in-depth knowledge of Iran’s economy, politics and society — and even then, they may have difficulty getting Ahmadinejad to admit the truth.” But that is not the modus operandi of a journalistic culture that is conceptually geared towards geopolitics and “international” politics rather than domestic matters.
Ahmadinejad always wins in these encounters because he points to other atrocities by redirecting the question at the questioner, and there are plenty of atrocities around the globe.
The other factor is the language barrier between Ahmadinejad and his interviewers, which he strategically uses to his advantage. “Mr. Ahmadinejad’s technique,” Leyne points out “is aided by the fact that most of the foreign interviews are carried out in translation — leaving the journalist less scope for jumping in, and less time to cross-examine.”
Preparation is a good defense against any tough subject. Katie Couric actually did a pretty good job–here she is presenting photos of holocaust death camps. He still managed to slip away, though…