Thursday, January 08, 2009

Health Care Reform is Old News

Ok. Maybe not. But I found some old news of interest. First, Michael Moore blows up over Dr. Sanjay Gupta's report on Sicko.



Then, Gupta goes head to head with Moore on Larry King Live.



Ignoring the issue, two media interviewing strategies are clearly present. Moore attacks. His aim is not to be academic, but to persuade the general public. He does so by making a lot of noise. Gupta, on the other hand, remains calm. He talks about numbers--not just stats pulled out of the air, but where the numbers come from and how data should be collected (CNN, in sharp contrast with Sick, got all of their numbers from the World Health Organization.).

My question to you: which do you find more persuasive? Or, rather, which do you think persuades more people.

IMHO:
Moore certainly won the debate on Blitzer. He makes the average viewer believe that CNN is a scam. But Moore's opponent was not around to defend himself (though Wolfe stood up to defend his colleague to some extent).

Gupta was certainly the victor on LKL, though. He had a strong command over the facts and raised tough questions that Moore refused to answer (e.g., socialized medicine is only free at the point of use).

Is there an optimal strategy for interviewing? Should one be more radical when there is no one to defend the other perspective? Or do experts (Moore is not an expert, only an activist) have an ethical obligation to behave the way Gupta did?

2 comments:

Juris Naturalist said...

Moore goes straight to the emotional issues, and forces Gupta to play that game.
Moore resonates with romanticized elements from history. He could not manage a decent academic debate because his numbers are not scientific.
Gupta talks about catheters and numbers.
Its all about your audience.

Justin M Ross said...

Gupta's top critics then are Michael Moore and Paul Krugman. Amusing, highly amusing.

Nice blog, btw.