would be a thorn in my side–if its first name was Charlie.
I’m well aware that Charlie Rose interviews interesting and often brilliant people. We’re not talking Dr. Phil here. Or even Oprah. Rose invites really intelligent people who deal with matters that don’t necessarily make the headlines. True, he also does his fair amount of headline hunting. But even there he chooses people and perspectives that the major networks often ignore.
This realization makes it harder to hate him. And more difficult to flip the channel. But I just can’t stand Charlie’s interview style.
That, I really, really hate. Rather than dig into his guests’ knowledge of their specialty, Rose insists on showing how much he understands about that subject. I know he’s learned a lot over the years, that his researchers do a fine job, and that it’s his program. Still, it’s the guests I’m interested in, not his know-it-all pretentiousness.
Charlie often won’t let a guest finish his or her thought or sentence before breaking in and finishing it for them. I guess the risk you take when you invite really bright people onto your television show is their desire to speak for themselves.
And interruptions aren’t the worst of it. All too many times, Rose won’t even bother with a question but simply asserts (often emphatically) what he believes to be in his guests’ minds. Recently I watched an interview with the winner of The Masters Golf Tournament. Apparently the player was behind heading into the final nine holes. Charlie leans across his plain round table, arm outstretched, and pushes his horse face into the middle of the screen while telling the guy (and I paraphrase) But you knew you would nail all those birdies on the back nine. You knew it, you had to!
A puzzled look crossed the golfer’s face and you could almost see him getting ready to say huh?– but then he simply responded, (again I paraphrase) I had no idea at all about what was going to happen. I just tried to play one hole at a time.
If this had been an exception rather than the rule, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed. Only I find this two-part crime, especially annoying. First, stealing the punch line of a guest’s story is remarkably ungenerous. And I just don’t believe in clairvoyance. Over and over. You always know what Charlie believes is in his invitee’s mind. Or what the guest plans to do, or what he knows about his or her field of expertise. I guess it ain’t called The Charlie Rose Show for nothing.
And woe to those who participate in a panel discussion on the program. I may not be the best facilitator on the planet, but the golden rule is to give people an opportunity to participate. And, if they are reluctant to do that themselves, it’s the moderator’s job to include them.
No golden rule for Rose. I’ve seen discussions where he’ll let one person remain silent for the entire conversation until, as an afterthought, Charlie will ask a quick question to that person, then switch to another before his afterthought even finishes answering. I’m sure it’s his producers who create the gathering, but I’m equally sure that Rose okays them. He clearly has a hierarchy of people he’s interested in during his group presentations–or this form of rude is his payback to all the mean kids in high school who used to ignore him.
From where I sit, if you invite someone onto your television program you really ought to talk to them. Not Rose. Even Bill Maher, a snotty snoid if there ever was one, makes sure to let all his guests speak. Even those who actually have nothing to say.
Finding something good and intellectually engaging on television is hard enough. Most of the people Charlie invites are never on the tube anywhere else. Where else can you hear world renowned physicists discuss the Higgs boson particle discovery? Or modern architecture? Or unusual museum exhibitions? Or any non-pop culture phenomena that’s actually interesting to people with curiosity and want to expand their knowledge. If Charlie lets them. The one interview show that doesn’t cater to Kardashian followers and it gets smothered by an out-of-control ego.
Back in the day, I always believed that Dick Cavett’s best interview would have been with a mirror. Certainly the one that he’d be most interested in. Today I’d rather watch Cavett and Rose interview each other at the same time.
Shame on me for blood lust.
There are those that are wise. Then there are those that are otherwise. ~ Arushi Nayar