NewsHour Executive Producer Linda Winslow responds to PBS ombudsman about May 8 segment on Iraq

Last night the NewsHour attempted to help our viewers understand why the members of Congress are having so much difficulty arriving at a decision regarding the way forward in Iraq. We believe the intensity of the pressure being exerted on Democrats and Republicans by the “wings” of their respective parties is having an impact on those who are looking for some sort of compromise position. We decided to let representatives of those wings explain their positions, hoping they would participate in a dialogue with us and each other. As our guests demonstrated, however, that was a forlorn hope and the result was a lot of heat, but very little light.

Since neither guest was in the studio with Judy Woodruff, there wasn’t much she could do to prevent them from interrupting one another, short of saying – as she did at least three times – “please let him/her finish his/her point”. The NewsHour style is to ask pointed questions politely; we expect our guests to subscribe to the same rules. Since the program is produced live, we can’t do much to eliminate rude guests from your television screen once the segment has begun; what we can do is guarantee you will never see that person on our program again.

Linda Winslow
Executive Producer
The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer

Transcript of May 8 debate