Saturday, July 24, 2010

Daniel Schorr

I heard a bit of an obituary for Daniel Shorr, dead at 93, on public radio. They talked about what a fine reporter he was because, on CBS TV, he interviewed the leader of East Germany. Shore kept interrupting and badgering the man until he walked out of the interview. The head of CBS complimented Shorr on how cool and calm he remained throughout the interview, but Shorr admitted to him that it was a fraud, that the reaction shots of Shorr were filmed after the fact. They re-edited the interview so that Shore looked calm and collected while the East German leader was so irrational that he stormed out.

The reporter on public radio thought this showed how honest Shorr was. Yes, the reaction shots were deceptive, he said, but Shorr admitted the deception immediately.

Well. No. Shorr admitted it to his boss; he never informed the public about his fraud. He used a rare interview with the leader of East Germany strictly as an exercise in propaganda. Imagine the reaction if a reporter from the USSR acted that way while interviewing a West German leader then used faked reaction shots and broadcast it in the Soviet Union.

They said that CBS banned the practice of filming interviewer reaction shots after the fact, but that ban didn't last long. That sort of fraud was Mike Wallace's whole career.

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