After reading John Ziegler's defense of his interview with ACU chairman David Keene and watching the videos, we are of the opinion that the documentary film maker, former talk show host and shameless self-promoter blew it.
Well before Keene got up and started to walk away, it became painfully obvious that Ziegler doesn't know to quit while he's ahead. As an interviewer, once you've asked the same question several times in a row and your subject hasn't answered it, you have made your point. To continue asking the question gives the appearance that you are badgering, and that's what happened when Keene walked into the hall. Ziegler should have wrapped up his interview well before that point, but instead he chose to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. By following Keene into the hallway and continuing to press him, Ziegler stomped all over his own effectiveness.
We believe that Keene is a fraud, but by running what should have been a five-minute interview into the nearly half-hour farce which resulted, Ziegler's fiasco had the effect of actually generating sympathy for Keene in some quarters, and it did Sarah Palin no favors. The Western CPAC dustup was a missed opportunity and a doggone shame.
Ziegler was extremely effective in making a point (several of them, in fact) with his excellent documentary "Media Malpractice: How Obama Got Elected and Palin Was Targeted" which was a great help to Sarah Palin in making her case that the media had taken sides in the 2008 presidential campaign and was shamelessly smearing her family. Perhaps John should stick to making films and promoting them, two things which he's very good at. But he has a long way to go to master the art of the interview. Though by his words he insists he is trying to effect change in the corrupt "conservative" leadership, Ziegler has forgotten what is a cardinal rule whether one is practicing medicine or trying to change hearts and minds: First, do no harm.
Updates: Morrissey, Riehl and Freire all weight in, each with a unique perspective. Our question about Ziegler's pursuit of Keene is the same one we try to remember to ask ourselves before we post anything on this blog -- in the long run, does this help Sarah Palin or hurt her?