I’m not ready for prime time

Last week, I did an interview for the CBS Evening News about the online civility discussion. It didn’t make it to air (after my Free Speech segment also did not see the light of video, I’m getting a complex). So now it’s an online exclusive, an Eye to Eye segment intro-ed by Katie herself. You can watch it here. Given CBS’ new video-everywhere deals, I think I’ll soon be able to embed such a segment. But now I can only link to it.

The taping of the segment was both funny and emblematic of how big TV works. I did the whole interview looking at the camera in Washington while Daniel Sieberg asked the questions in New York. But after we finished it all, they realized they’d set up the shot wrong — “wrong” being a relative term, relevant to the orthodoxy of old TV. I was looking straight at the camera but Daniel was looking to the side, as if we were in the same room with bookshelves behind each of us. That’s how they often make such interviews. But we were now now in visual sync. So we went through it twice again with him asking me the questions — once with him looking at the camera and once with me looking to the side. Sadly, I didn’t do as well the second or third time around. On the air, they surely would have edited it the “right” way. But when they put it up online, to their credit, they didn’t let that broadcast orthodoxy worry them; they put up the better discussion — my to-the-camera answers with his to-the-side questions — and they let it run more than 1:30 (I start getting tired of even myself at the 5:00 mark).