Reporter's Notebook

The art and science of the interview

Posts Tagged ‘Arianna Huffington

Failure to Thrive

with one comment


Jon Stewart interviewed media magnate Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post.  Ms. Huffington was promoting her new book, and any loyal watcher of the Jon Stewart show immediately felt the chemical mismatch between the two.  For one, his conversation w/Ms. Huffington was full of unusually numerous, uncharacteristically long non reactions. Several times, she would say something that seemed very far afield from something she had just said, and Mr. Stewart was having a hard time keeping up.

At one point, in an effort to help Mr. Stewart understand the context of the book, she recommended he read the last three points in four sections that would take him a total of seven minutes.  His incredulous reaction to that and other comments from Ms. Huffington caused reactions in her such as smoothing her hair against the back of her neck (a stress reliever) as well as breaking her chain of thought at least twice.  She also leaned back in her chair (to put space between her and him) and he reciprocated.

Since the point of the book is was to talk about what Ms. Huffington called the third metric of success, Mr. Stewart asked her what were the first two metrics.  She came back with “Money and Power”.  As an audience member, I wondered if a person could achieve the third metric only they had achieved the first two, or if someone had no hope of achieving the first two unless they had mastered the third.  I guess I’d have to read the book first.

The hosts traded some well placed barbs which seemed friendly at first, but when Ms. Huffington said that 20% of people use their cell phones during sex, Mr. Stewart disagreed and asked Ms. Huffington to cite her sources.  She said, paraphrasing, that she doesn’t need to talk to Jon Stewart about her sources because she talks to real experts.  At that point, friendliness seemed to be wearing thin.  And in the closing silhouette shot, when you normally see Mr. Stewart talking intimately with his guest, he was alone at the anchor desk.

I don’t know how many times Ms. Huffington has been on the Jon Stewart show.  But this didn’t seem to be among their chummiest meetings.

Written by Interviewer

March 26, 2014 at 10:34