Donald Trump always seems game for a TV interview. Hillary Clinton? Not so much.

This is a headache for networks that have often been accused of covering Trump way more than other candidates in this campaign. Their preferred method of balancing things out would, of course, be to interview Clinton more often. While the likely Democratic presidential nominee is showing some signs of becoming more accessible, it's hard to imagine she will ever volunteer for the nearly constant exposure that her Republican counterpart seems to crave.

So what should the networks do? Interview Trump less to compensate for Clinton's recalcitrance? A New York Times story on Tuesday summarized the conundrum:

For broadcasters, turning down an interview with a candidate is anathema to a news culture trained to pursue maximum access. Yet the starkly different strategies of the candidates are straining the industry's bedrock notions of evenhandedness.

I decided to put the question to Dick Wald, formerly the president of NBC News and, later, the "ethics czar" (formal title: senior vice president of editorial quality) at ABC News. Is it time to cut back on the Trump interviews?

"No," said Wald, now a professor at Columbia. He went on:

This is not an ethics question. If one guy speaks a lot, and the other guy speaks less, don't try to cover them both in the same amount. Try to cover them as they say something newsworthy/interesting/valuable. The world is not only not fair, it isn't even-handed. When John F. Kennedy runs against Richard Nixon, Kennedy is handsomer, funnier and quicker and gets more coverage, even if Nixon is at least as substantive and intelligent.

That's a bluntly honest answer from a longtime TV executive who had to make these kinds of coverage decisions all the time. Wald is saying the networks need to exercise good news judgment, of course, but he's also putting a lot of responsibility on the candidates.

Trump, like Kennedy, has a certain magnetism. (He surely considers himself handsomer, funnier and quicker than just about anyone.) But Clinton knows how to play the media game, too. If she chooses to speak less — and therefore gets covered less — that's largely on her.

Wald's rationale makes sense, but if viewers think TV networks are favoring Trump by interviewing him more often than Clinton, that can still be a problem. That's why Wald said my question is actually "a public relations question."

News organizations are selling the news and their reputation for honesty. If imbalance of coverage occurs and might make them look biased because of the way candidates behave and push their campaigns, [then] the organizations have to adapt and talk about it. The world gives them a lot of opportunity to talk about it. It's part of the news of the campaign.

Indeed, the volume of coverage devoted to each candidate is a story of its own. And the story is often some variation of "Trump is manipulating the media, and the media is letting him do it."

According to Wald, if Clinton is making the networks look biased by turning down interviews, then the appropriate response isn't to interview Trump less often to achieve balance. The appropriate response is recognize the imbalance and explain to viewers what is going on.

Here's the short version from Wald: "The answer is, be aware of what you are doing. Or, maybe, don't be dumb."