MSNBC’s Roberts mounts successful interruptions

Now for another installment in the ongoing tutorial “How to Properly Interrupt an Interlocutor on Cable TV News.” (See first installment).

The Scenario: MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts is hosting a humdrum panel on the presidential race. One of the panel members is Alice Stewart, a well-traveled spokeswoman for Rick Santorum’s campaign.

The Disagreement: Roberts talks about Romney’s jobs record as Massachusetts governor, saying that the state ranked “47th in the country in terms of where it was in jobs, so it was basically at the bottom.” Stewart: “Well, that’s a misleading number you’re putting out there, that was put out by the Obama campaign.”

The Interruption: After some back and forth, Stewart tries to move on to some neighboring talking points, but Roberts talks over her, repeating:

“Was it 47th or not?”

“Was it 47th or not?”

“Was it 47th or not?”

“Was it 47th or not?”

What makes those interruptions successful is their moderation. Roberts barely raises his voice as he breaks into Stewart’s spiel. He does roll his eyes just a touch, a bit of attitude that he’d be well advised to omit from his next interruptive moment.

The Upshot: Stewart pulls out the white flag: “[Romney] took it from 50th to 47th.” No apparent victory dance from Roberts. Masterful interruptions.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.
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