I just blew my chance to be on the Lehrer show

Got a phone message and this e-mail a little while ago:


I am a reporter for the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS, working on a segment for tonight.  We are trying to assemble a cast for a studio discussion on public opinion about the Iraq war – whether there is in fact some sort of sea change going on, what actual people are saying rather than Senators in Washington.  We are hoping to find three or four columnists or bloggers to discuss not so much what they personally believe, but what they have been hearing from the public in general, the military community, the area he or she is writing from.

We air live between 6 and 7pm eastern time.  Is this something you might be interested in?  Give me a call when you have a moment, and I look forward to talking with you.

Elizabeth Summers
Reporter, National Affairs
The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer

The call came in while I was juggling, being three people, trying to put out tomorrow’s pages with QuarkXPress in Mike’s absence, and wondering whether I should be satisfied with those few tortilla chips that I had snarfed, or run by Mickey D’s (and Starbucks, of course) after sending the pages to the printer whenever I get done. Maybe nobody would miss me for a few minutes. I had canceled my weekly meet with the publisher, so the lunch thing was looking like a maybe, when I got an IM from the newsroom saying somebody wanted me to be on the show, so would I fix my phone so it would ring so they could sent her to me.

Anyway, she had called because of my column last week, but she said they didn’t want to talk so much about what I think, but about how opinion on the war is running in S.C., and I said in essence kind of like nationally only not as much so. I went on about how I could hardly quantify it; I could talk about commenters on my blog (comparing and contrasting then and now) but that’s hardly representative, and then I went off on a pedantic tangent when she committed the faux pas of calling me "conservative," yadda-yadda, and pretty soon I had talked my way out of the interview.

Then I felt bad, and started saying I could glance over letters and look at a recent poll and actually think about the subject for a few minutes, and maybe they could still use me, but it was too late. My original strategy had been too successful. If only we could say that about the Bush-Rumfeld strategy in Iraq, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, would we.

Dang. And I like doing live TV. I like radio better, but still…

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