Saturday, April 18, 2009

Richard Nixon and David Frost

The past couple of nights, I've watched the David Frost interview of Richard Nixon. I thought I'd ordered the movie "Frost/Nixon" from Netflix, but when it arrived I realized I'd ordered the actual footage.

This interview was absolutely fascinating. For one, I couldn't believe the level of depth into which Frost probed -- very specific questions about the events of particular days and repeated follow-ups forcing Nixon to clarify. It was unlike any other Presidential interview I've seen, whether with Clinton, either Bush, or Obama thus far.

Even more compelling, though, was the extent to which Nixon seemed to be struggling with the Watergate episode -- part of him wanted to be completely legalistic and maintain his innocence (or even right-ness) to the bitter end, but another part of him seemed to recognize, however haltingly, his wrongdoing and betrayal of the American people. I guess his pathos could have all been a contrived effort to "clear his name" or win people back over to his version of events, but something about it rang true to me -- and the whole interview struck me as showing a level of self-reflection that I have yet to see from Clinton.

205. Does David Frost still do interviews? This was the best interview, process-wise, I've ever seen - he just wouldn't let Nixon wiggle out of questions and yet he didn't have the sort of "gotcha" vibe to him that Mike Wallace, Tim Russert, and others sometimes have.

206. Who is the best current interviewer? I like Steve Kroft (from 60 Minutes) more and more, but there's no one who really stands-above-the-crowd for me.

207. The Frost/Nixon interviews, unedited, lasted for 24 hours (filmed over the course of a couple of weeks). What's the longest interview that each of Clinton, W, and Obama has given to date?

No comments:

Post a Comment