A big part of my job is to conduct television interviews. It is probably the only subject I feel I have enough credibility to judge the good from the bad. So I’ve chosen three conversations that were inspiring and informative. You may have other ideas and we’d love to hear them. But, IMHO, here are my top three TV interviews of the year.
In her last season as a talk show host, Oprah Winfrey is making each episode count. On October 20, she interviewed movie mogul Tyler Perry about his experiences as a sexually abused child. In the audience were 200 men who had been abused as children. According to one prevention group, “at least two out of every 10 girls and one out of every 10 boys are sexually abused by the end of their 13th year.” It was a powerful and painful hour about a horrible subject. Her website continues to offer information on where to get help. (Watch the video on Oprah.com.)
Pena on Letterman
After the rare happy ending of a mining disaster, the 33 Chilean miners who were rescued after two months trapped underground became heroes. Shortly after they were pulled to safety, one miner made a hilarious and humorous appearance on “The Late Show w/David Letterman.” His name is Edison Pena and he was described by the Telegraph as “The fittest miner, he has reportedly been running 10km a day underground. Also requested that Elvis Presley songs be sent down into the mine.” His strong will, sense of humor and love of rock and roll were a testament to the strength of the human spirit.
Paul on Maddow
Full disclosure: My husband produces “The Rachel Maddow Show,” and she is my friend. In May 2010, Rachel did something that many journalists don’t do these days: She held a politician accountable for what he/she said. Period. No gotcha. No grandstanding. She wasn’t trying to make news; Rachel asked a series of simple, well-researched questions. She tried to get to the bottom of then-candidate, now-Senator Rand Paul’s position on the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Paul made it very clear that he is not a racist and in his words “abhors” racism. But he said on more than one occasion he didn’t think private business should have to adhere to basic civil rights tenets set by the government. She wanted to know why and if he still believed this. And she did not give up. Many left-leaning political pundits made a lot of noise about this interview. I think some missed the point. This interview was important because it reminded us about the importance of the news media holding our leaders responsible for their words and actions, regardless of party.