Linda Lovitch

How low can you go? Let’s ask RT’s anchor

This week’s “How Low Can You Go” prize for an international journalist goes to (drum roll please) RT’s Anchor for his unforgettable, dismissive, disrespectful, and all-around dissing interview with our glorious Emily Schrader.

Even Emily termed him “the most condescending unprofessional interviewer I’ve ever interacted with.”

Let’s take a look at how Emily adeptly dealt with him.

After offering a warm welcome, it all goes downhill from here.

Even the opening bodes not so well as the anchor declares, “100 days since the conflict erupted between Israel and Hamas.” Erupted?! You mean, when Hamas infiltrated into Israel, slaughtering, raping, mutilating, and kidnapping Israelis in their homes and at a music festival?

After the question about where the conflict is going, Emily immediately takes control of the interview and conveys her messages. “It is unconscionable that after 100 days we still have 130 Israeli hostages in Hamas captivity.”

Yup, you don’t just answer the question, you bridge to what you want to say. In my training, no one can use the excuse, “But, Linda, she didn’t ask me about the hostages.” Nope, you talk about them. You set the agenda.

While the anchor acknowledges the hostages, he quickly pivots to the large number of Palestinian dead. And then oddly enough asks her how the war has affected her.  This is actually a gift question – you can take this in any direction you want.

Emily makes it personal – talking about the constant rocket attacks, even near her home. She also mentions the stress of not knowing if there are still terrorists in Israel and if Hamas is planning to attack Israel again. And, back to the main message – the hostages must be released. Nice.

“As an Israeli, from the bottom of my heart, we don’t want to see a single Palestinian killed.” Very important – I don’t hear this sentiment very often from Palestinians who are interviewed.

Then he plays the numbers game – so how many Israelis were killed? Emily makes it personal –  including the Bibas family with a 10-month-old baby taken hostage.

And, now it turns – I was surprised it took him so long. “Would you call the killing of Palestinians a massacre?”

“Absolutely not,” she answers. “One reason is that it was a reaction to a terrorist attack that intentionally targeted civilians.”

Yup, you have to have your messages ready. You have to be clear on your facts and figures. You have to have the personal stories to appeal to the pathos. As I tell my diplomats, you have to have a drawer full of the history and statistics as well as the personal stories ready.

And, here we descend into the usual rabbit hole — but, more Palestinians died — the fake equivalency, the false proportionality narrative. And that’s when Emily gets feisty. The anchor interrupts her continuously and she stands her ground.

Notice she simply repeats her short message again and again. When someone interrupts you constantly, you have to play chicken and keep talking until they swerve. But it’s hard for people to hear your points, so it has to be short and to the point.

“Would you like more Israelis to die?” She repeats – “No one wants Palestinians to die.” And “That’s false!”

Then, the condescension sets in – he appreciates her joining and appearing on international television amongst the angst – yeah, don’t think he would say that to Eylon Levy or Mark Regev. Yeah, you know what I’m getting at. He also keeps asking her how she personally feels about things. Hmmm.

But, our Emily bulldozes forward with her messages. “There’s a reason Germany joins in our condemnation of Hamas” and “It’s all Iran.”

And, for dessert, she makes sure to get in the last word, “Yes, it’s called antisemitism and you are contributing to it.”

Mic drop.

Each time I think I have seen it all, the international press surprises me. Each time I am flabberghasted by the inane questions of the anchors, they surprise me.

Luckily we have very talented spokespeople who are ready for the attack.

We need more Emily Schraders.

About the Author
Linda Lovitch is a media and communications consultant in Israel, working with government spokespersons, ambassadors, high tech executives, start-ups, universities and non-profits. Linda helps people to communicate with clarity and confidence whether talking to live, televised or online audiences.
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