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Friday, September 21

American Everyman, dealing with 9/11 and the aftermath

Pundita has obtained a copy of the transcript of the Brian Lamb interview with John Batchelor, which airs on C-SPAN's Q&A this Sunday, September 23 at 8:00 PM eastern time.

I had to stop several times while reading because the discussion hit me emotionally on many levels. John's discussion conveyed the post-9/11 era in America and the incredible tension under which he worked during the most difficult period for America since Pearl Harbor. He was The Broadcaster Who Knew it was Osama bin Laden Behind the Attacks, so WABC hurled him into a nightly show, where for months he was on the air seven nights a week.

John spoke of the adrenalin mixing with exhaustion, and of that feeling many Americans experienced while trying to take in all the news about the attack and subsequent wars: the feeling that your synapses were firing to the point where you thought your brain was going to melt.

John hit all the important bases and did so with highly evocative anecdotes. He conveyed the entire post-partisan era in America with these few words:
You talk to a man who is born in London and becomes a premier journalist for the London "Times" and then moves to Washington, and is at the Carnegie Institute. And then he's on a sat phone, just coming out of the Khyber Pass, and he's almost run down by a dung cart early in the morning in Peshawar. What ideology is that?(1)
Even though the interview was supposed to be all about John Batchelor, he had an uncanny way of stepping away from himself and turning the audience's attention to the unfolding drama in America and the world after 9/11.

I am glad it was Brian Lamb who interviewed John because Brian is a friend of John's and a fan of his show. Most importantly, as one of the founders of C-SPAN, Brian is also a major player, in his own right, in the new media revolution that rose from the ashes of the Pentagon and Twin Towers.

Brian really drew John out. The picture that emerged was, for me, American Everyman -- the Smart Everyman who, as John and Brian note, is now present in large numbers in America. The mainstream media keeps overlooking the smart part. There is indeed a tremendous hunger in America for John's broadcast style. This is what the suits in big broadcasting need to grasp, and what they can learn from the Lamb interview.

Brian Lamb wants John Batchelor back on the air; you will too, once you take in the interview.

1) Courtesy of C-SPAN Q&A. All copyright notices apply.
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