The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Tuesday, December 23, 2003
The Rather awful Essie Mae interview
Belatedly, I've read the transcript. And what an uncomfortable experience - the vid must be purgatorial!
Dan Rather, in a gentle but repulsively lounge-lizardly way, treats Essie Mae as a hostile witness.
Time and again, he comes back to questions like Strom's monetary help, and his views on segregation, and re-asks essentially the same question. To which Essie Mae has already given a clear and comprehensive answer, going as far as she wants to go. Which she then dutifully repeats, more or less.
And which evidently never goes far enough for Rather! Quite what he expected when he poled up to do the interview, I don't know. I suspect he thought a little auger work would produce a gusher of Sharptonesque bile. It never materialised.
Not that Essie Mae is Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah about the Jim Crow South - no Magnolia Madness discernible. But, unlike certain commentators, she doesn't blame Strom for the ghastly system either.
The effect is like Sherlock Holmes' dog: the very absence of the knee-jerk diatribe about Thurmond currently to be found wrapping fish up and down the land itself speaks volumes.
And seems to piss Rather off no end.
He has, I think, a reputation as an old lefty - the Ratherbiased.com site plies its chisel on the point. But it's unnerving to hear him in the mind's ear working on Essie Mae, almost like a detective trying to trip up a suspect to get a confession.
Maybe on a second read, it'll be different. But, first time round - distinctly creepy.
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