Saturday, October 31, 2009

No Coaching, Please

It's obvious that Andeisha Farid was coached before her Friday "Making A Difference" interview with Brian Williams. Farid, who runs an orphanage in Kabul, told Brian that, "I am sure I'm doing a difference for Afghan people." The awkward phrasing of that sentence indicates that either Brian or his producers informed Farid prior to the interview that since the segment is called "Making A Difference", she would be expected to use that phrase during the interview. Farid did the best she could to comply with the demand, but with her limited English skills "making a difference" became "doing a difference". This raises some disturbing ethical questions: How often do Nightly News producers, anchors or correspondents coach their subjects prior to taping an interview? Do they tell them what they are expected to say? Do they tell them what would make a good sound bite? If it happened once, it's a sure bet that it has happened before. It is a violation of the public trust to coach subjects before the interview begins. However, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the producers to end this deceitful practice.

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