Media Interview Bridging: Two Good Video Examples
In this post, I’ll continue my media interview bridging series by showing you two good examples of bridging from two very different types of spokespersons.
The first highlights Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, who appeared on Face The Nation in 2014 to discuss Ebola in the United States.
The second features actress Anne Hathaway, whose promotion of her 2012 film Les Misérables was marred by a revealing photo of her that had been taken without her permission and widely shared online.
Example One: Dr. Anthony Fauci
This interview occurred in 2014 after several cases of Ebola were reported in the United States. News networks were covering the Ebola cases with the kind of disproportionate attention that heightens public fear, and Dr. Fauci appeared on Face The Nation, in part, to help quell unnecessary nervousness.
Pay specific attention to the exchanges that occur between the 1:29 and 3:00 marks.
Bob Schieffer, Host, Face The Nation: [Question] “Republican Senator Rand Paul, who is also a medical doctor, an ophthalmologist, a medical doctor, says that we are underestimating, in his words, the transmissibility of this disease.”
Dr. Anthony Fauci: [Answer] “I don’t think that there’s data to tell us that that’s a correct statement, with all due respect. [Bridge] We have had experience since 1976 with how Ebola is transmitted. [Message] And it is clear that it is transmitted by direct contact with body fluids, blood, diarrhea, vomit, or what have you. And there’s no indication that there is another insidious way that it’s transmitted that we’re missing because of the experience we’ve had. So we really have to go with the evidence.”
Schieffer: [Question] “Well, he even goes so far as to say he’s worried about sending 3,000 Army troops over there. He says, ‘Can you imagine how it easy it is for this disease to spread on a ship,’ that they might come back and they might, you know, spread it among themselves and to the rest of the country.”
Dr. Fauci: [Answer] “I’m sorry, but that’s really not a concern. [Bridge] First of all, [Message] the troops that are going over there are going to be fundamentally for logistic purposes: command, control, engineering, setting up the hospitals. They’re well trained, they will not be in direct risk of, in this case, in the sense of contact with individuals. And even if they are, the protocols are in place to prevent spread from there. So I don’t, and the Army does not, have any real concern that those three to four thousand troops are going to be in danger.”
What works well in both of those answers is that Dr. Fauci quickly rejected the premises of the questions, and minimized the amount of time he spent in the “Answer” and “Bridge” sections of his responses before quickly going to his “Message.”
Example Two: Anne Hathaway
In 2012, a photographer snapped a revealing shot of Ms. Hathaway while she exited her car for the premiere of Les Misérables. When she appeared on The Today Show to promote the film, host Matt Lauer asked her about the incident:
Matt Lauer, NBC Today Show: [Question] “Let’s just get it out of the way. You had a little wardrobe malfunction the other night. What’s the lesson learned from something like that other that you keep smiling, which you always do?”
Anne Hathaway: [Answer] “Well, it was obviously an unfortunate incident…it kind of made me sad on two accounts. One was that I was very sad that we live in an age when someone takes a picture of another person in a vulnerable moment, and rather than delete it and do the decent thing, sells it. And I’m sorry we live in a culture that commodifies sexuality of unwilling participants, [Bridge] which brings us back to Les Mis, [Message] because that’s what my character is: someone who is forced to sell sex to benefit her child because she has nothing, and there’s no social safety net….so let’s get back to Les Mis.”
Lauer was so taken by Hathaway’s grace and discipline that he complimented her for it and moved to a different topic:
Lauer: “That’s one of the most creative turns of a question I have ever heard and I’m going to take it at that, that’s fine.”
Although Hathaway’s “Answer” was a little longer than I typically recommend, her deft handling of the question earned her well-deserved kudos for her reaction to what was surely an embarrassing situation.
Stay tuned for Part Five of this series.