Thursday, March 22, 2012

How Not to Interview Bono

When Jason Mattera got a chance to launch an unplanned interview with U2's lead singer Bono, he probably couldn't believe his luck. And he had certainly done his homework, preparing to catch the Irish singer, famous for his charity work, in a web of hypocrisy and lies.  Mattera is practically panting with joy at the prospect of "nailing" Bono.

Over the years, Mattera has specialized in this type of journalism (oh dear, where do you put the quotation marks in a sentence like that?) with such people as vice-president Biden (O'Biden, to Palin fans), to Chris Rock and others. 

Sean Hannity and the Fox News team revel in news stories like this- despite the fact that they are the very same people who claim Sarah Palin was a victim of "Gotcha" journalism when people asked her what newspapers she reads. (Name one, dammit!) I am sure, for Sean Hannity and Jason Mattera,  this Bono interview must have been especially tantalizing. 
During an appearance on Sean Hannity's radio program yesterday, which includes a brief snippet of the Mattera interview with "Bono," Hannity and Mattera touted "bad boy reporter" Mattera's impressive ambush interview skills. Asked by Hannity how he managed to get an interview with "Bono," Mattera replied that it was "basic shoeleather journalism." (Hannity promised to run the video on last night's edition of his Fox News program, but said on Twitter this morning that Mattera's appearance was preempted by election coverage and that they would run the video tonight instead.) 
Mattera and Hannity complained about how "Bono" refused to answer Mattera's inquiries about controversy over U2's taxes. As Mattera put it, "He just filibusters forever without any actual explanation." 
The only problem is unfortunately whoever Mattera interview it was not Bono. Except for a pair of sunglasses, the man looked nothing like Bono. The man Mattera is trying to nail is clearly under 30 years old and Bono is only two decades older than that. It certainly didn't sound like Bono. (Jason, he is Irish, dear boy, like a leprechaun.)
Is it me your looking for?
Not once did "Bono" misrepresent himself and if some strange man comes to me and thinks I am Tom Jones, who am I to tell him different? It's not unusual, after all. 

Hannity, a fool by proxy, thanks to Mattera, a fool of a more direct kind, attempted to claim that they had been "punked." (Again with the quotation marks!) But usually that word is reserved for some kind of setup and not when a graduate for the James O'Keefe school of journalism chases after the wrong guy.  As one very witty commenter said at Media Matters:
Who would have thought... guy pretending to be journalist gets punked by impersonator answering questions honestly. 
I wish I had said that!
In the end, Hannity and Mattera had a good laugh about it.. publicly. Sean said he thought it was "hilarious." And why shouldn't he? As far as Fox News, journalism and the time-honored standards that come with it have always been one big joke. Ha ha.