Ugh, are you kidding? Charlie Rose is a terrible interviewer, fawning all over people he thinks have high status, and constantly interrupting and pissing on people he disagrees with. [He’s maybe better than cable news shows, but that’s a pretty low bar.] He asks far too many ridiculously leading questions, cuts off insightful lines of discussion by his guests to bring them back to whatever point he’s trying to make, and often just starts rambling about something irrelevant. His show is worth watching because of the fantastic quality of the guests, not his skill as an interviewer. My favorite Charlie Rose moment was maybe 10 or 15 years ago, in an interview with I think Bill Joy, but it might have been someone else. Charlie asked some rambling minute-second “don’t you agree that...” type question, and his guest responded with a bored look, “well, duh.”
Go listen to a couple of episodes of Terry Gross’s truly masterful interviews on Fresh Air, or watch interviews by, say, Bill Moyers, and then come back and watch an episode of Charlie Rose. Try paying attention to the different ways they lead an interview, and the resulting differences in the conversation. Often someone will be in the news or have a new book out, and will appear on both Charlie Rose and Fresh Air at about the same time; the Fresh Air interview is always dramatically better.
"Try paying attention to"? Have I given you any indication that I would have trouble focusing on the interview?
Terry Gross is certainly a good interviewer for art and culture guests. I agree that she does not get the same quality of quests that appear on Charlie Rose's show. I think that is part of the reason I may have discounted her quality as an interviewer. In light of that I would like to compare the two interviewers. Can you think of any guests who have appeared on both shows recently? Do you think Rose's fawning/pissing on behavior is any different than Gross's interviews with Franken and O'Reilly?
> Have I given you any indication that I would have trouble focusing on the interview?
Sorry, I’m not trying to imply that you’d have trouble following the interview. I mean pay special attention to the form of the interview, and the style of the questioning (i.e. watch out for when Terry follows up on something the guest said, when she allows him to keep talking and when she re-centers the conversation. Think about what kinds of insights the she draws out, what she can get him to say that wasn’t pre-planned, etc.), rather than only to the content of what the guest is saying. I think if you pay close attention to the way Charlie interviews, you’ll find yourself wanting to throw something at the screen.
Terry Gross’s interview with O’Reilly was impressively respectful and polite, considering the way he was acting. Asking difficult questions is different from pissing on people. What I mean is, Charlie Rose will ask a guest a question, and then when the answer isn’t what he wants to hear, he’ll parrot back at them effectively “well isn’t what you just said completely wrong, and isn’t it actually like this ....?” What is the guest supposed to say to that?
> Can you think of any guests who have appeared on both shows recently?
I like him and his show, but there have been more than a few instances when corolla just won't shut up. A few guests I was really hoping to hear from have gotten about four sentences in edgewise. When he's taking the interview seriously he does a good job.
I have to admit I was surprised to see Carolla mentioned in a discussion of Gross, Rose and Russert. I would like to check him out. Nothing jumped out at me after cursory review of his recent episodes. Can you give me any pointers/recommendations for a good interview to listen to?
Agreed -- he did his research. I was imagining him having to be equally knowledgeable in many other domains when interviewing political leaders and so forth, and came away impressed. Although I'm sure he has a team that helps prepares the questions, he still has to think on his feet a bit.
The only place where he perhaps came off uninformed is when he implied that Google hadn't acquired any companies in 2012, when in fact they've acquired dozens. But that's not a very substantive mistake.
And imagine the wide variety of people that he interviews. Being a good interviewer like that takes talent and intelligent because he has to become a quasi-expert in pretty much everything, within a week.
It's true that he is a very intelligent person but let's not forget that he has people working with him, like many other talk show hosts. As a funny fact I happened to be at Bloomberg that day for a meetup and sit next to him for a few minutes while he met one of his aids carrying a notepad which what seemed to be information for the interview.