Why was Charles Gibson chosen to interview Sarah Palin?

Why was Charles Gibson chosen to interview Sarah Palin?

This morning, a blurry picture is emerging over why the McCain team choose Charles Gibson as the journalist to interview Mrs. Palin.  It was apparently decided at the very top (which means Rick Davis and a handful of others) and it was a process of elimination.

While McCain has many connections to NBC and the network is loaded with talented journalists, it was ruled out early because of the perception that MSNBC, its cable network, had made a calculated decision to embrace the Democrats.  MSNBC has aggressively attacked Mrs. Palin.  A network executive confirmed with me a week ago that the cable news network has turned left as a business decision to win viewers.  And it is working.  While there is no McCain team boycott of the mother network, NBC, it was nonetheless considered unwise to reward the brand for a perceived bias.

Likewise, the Fox News Chanel was eventually ruled out because it would be seen as too sympathetic to Mrs. Palin and would not offer relief from the pressure that she be grilled by someone in the media.  It was considered to be high risk without sufficient gain.

Interestingly enough, both ABC and CBS were given a first pass.  Diane Sawyer was seen as “ideologically and culturally hostile” and George Stephanopoulos as being “a Democrat.”  Bob Schieffer of CBS was considered one of the few remaining television journalists without an apparent personal agenda but the feeling was they could not go to CBS without going to Katie Couric, who as in the case of Diane Sawyer, is known in the words of my source as “unsympathetic to persons of Mrs. Palin’s background.”  (This from my source.)

Both Charles Gibson and Terry Moran were mentioned.  When someone first mentioned Charles Gibson there was an immediate and unanimous sigh.  Gibson, the ABC anchor, is a tough, veteran journalist, without an apparent agenda.  The campaign says they want to see the media sated and Mrs. Palin completely vetted, they just want the first interview to be conducted by someone who is not trying to decide the election in their opponents’ favor.

Meanwhile, sources inside the McCain camp tell me that vice presidential nominee, Sarah Plain has been loaded down with homework.  The campaign has prepared large loose leaf notebooks with McCain’s position on everything from school vouchers to honey bee subsidies.  They don’t want her accidently contradicting the candidate.  Likewise, opposition research has done the same thing about Obama and Biden under that rubric, “she has to know the enemy.”

Published by Doug Wead

Doug Wead is a New York Times bestselling author whose latest book, Game of Thorns, is about the Trump-Clinton 2016 election. He served as an adviser to two American presidents and was a special assistant to the president in the George H.W. Bush White House.

3 thoughts on “Why was Charles Gibson chosen to interview Sarah Palin?

  1. I got the feeling that Gibson was trying to cause her to make mistakes. He kept harping on her prayer request at her former church. I also read somewhere that his producer said that nothing was off limits in his interview with Palin.

    How did you view the interview? I know we’ll probably see it all on 20/20. I did notice that they were cutting into her answers time after time and this was only an excerpt of her interview. I wish they had waited and showed it all on one night rather than piece meal.

    I believe she did good considering SHE has only been on the trail about 3 weeks. She shouldn’t be expected to talk like Obama and Biden! But I did notice she has talked to one of the guys overseas. I was surprised at that answer and I am sure that Gibson was, too.

  2. Well … by now, we’ve all found out that Charlie Gibson wasn’t so safe from bias, etc. The ABC blog response is loaded with outrage over the condescending tone, strong arm manner along with the blotchy handling of the interview answers. There is a lot of tar and feather for him and ABC out there. I knew that about ABC, but not about him until now. It follows though. Anyway, it is clear Gov. Palin has a large learning curve, and there are variables emerging concerning her accounts of certain events, but I still think there is core strength here. No, there are actual reforms on the record for both Palin and McCain. I think soundness of heart and mind lie with them. I trust them. There won’t be perfection with anyone. But McCain and Palin have things you can’t acquire overnight, turn on or off, such as a foundation of actually doing what they say they are for and the strength that goes with that.

  3. Agreed that Charlie Gibson was perceived as the lesser of evils, but the ABC network is not. They prevailed. As pointed out, many have noted a different Charlie Gibson from what they have been used to seeing. This was a high stakes game for the network. If Sarah Palin was “handled,” as many point out from the manner of many of her answers, what about the work-over that must have been given to Charlie Gibson?

    But, whenever this woman is perceived to be mistreated, it goes against the ones doing it and against the opposing side, whether they are or are not directly involved. It’s a phenomenon of the process going on in this.

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