I’ve got a day job but try to fit in podcasts and television when possible. I don’t always pay super close attention to what’s coming up on the agenda. So the day I sat down for a quick interview on a Turkish TV show, which turned out to be partisan state-run TV, I figured I would be on for a few minutes. And, call me irresponsible, but I didn’t even know the topic about which I would be talking. (If that sounds odd to you, it’s just the way media things go in my workflow.)
I sat down and waited. Then it started, but even from the outset I suspected something was wrong. I wasn’t being shown the image of the questioner or the show being broadcast, even though this is a normal practice these days. You see where you are and with whom you are speaking. It makes everything feel more normal even though we are all remote. Instead, they blinded me from the goings on. I could only hear and respond.
Something was wrong but there was little time to think about it too much. The first question was wrong in two places. The person, who later turned out to be the host of a hugely popular show, asked me why Trump was “downplaying the virus” and “equating” it with the flu. I immediately knew there was a problem, and came out storming. The attacks continued with another guest who repeated all the usual Covid talking points, and I kept blasting back, grabbing as much air time as possible.
I hoped it would end in 3 minutes. Nope. It was 10 mins, then 20, then 30. For a total of 34 awful minutes of astonishing nonsense, during which time I could not see either the host or the other interlocutor. The thing ended in short order. Boom, I shut off the camera and wondered what happened. Two days later, I found out. I was clearly set up.
No proof, but my guess is that they figured that they would get on the show a non-scientist editor guy who could never hold his own against these two media savvy lockdowners. I like to think that it didn’t work.