Axios reporter Jonathan Swan has a reputation as a fawning interviewer, but he made Trump son-in-law and nepotism hire Jared Kushner very uncomfortable this weekend.
A particularly excruciating moment:
The classic example of this interviewing technique — "repeat the question to highlight a comically evasive answer" — is embedded below. It's the BBC's Jeremy Paxman grilling UK politician Michael Howard. Action starts four minutes in.
Paxman vs. Howard is a well-loved performance, but the reason you don't see this technique every day is not because cable news interviews are softball (though they are). It's because a well-prepared interview subject can really punish it with a good answer. It's a haymaker, the crudest possible follow-up question, for use against someone forced by circumstances or stupidity to leap into your fist over and over again.
Props to Swan, though, for actually doing it. The fact he was so deferential and eager with Trump himself makes it better that he was so plainly contemptuous of Kushner.
There's good analysis of the interview at NYMag:
Elsewhere in the interview, Kushner balked at a question regarding his confidant on the Saudi peninsula, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Axios reporter Jonathan Swan asked if Kushner would join Jamal Khashoggi’s fiancée in calling on the Saudi government to be held accountable for the body of the slain American journalist. With heavy emphasis on the passive tense, Kushner says that the death of Khashoggi was “a horrific thing that happened.” Despite reports that the CIA determined that MBS most likely ordered the murder, and that the Senate unanimously declared MBS responsible, Kushner did not commit to any action: “Once we have all the facts, then we’ll make a policy determination, but that would be up to the secretary of State to push on our policy.”
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