So just how did Charlie Gibson and ABC News, manage to score last week’s big “get” — the first detailed interview with GOP veep nominee Sarah Palin?
“ABC was very aggressive in trying to book the interview, and Charlie Gibson is Charlie Gibson,” says ABC News spokesman Jeffrey Schneider. “Politics is his passion, and he had the only exclusive interview with (John) McCain during the Republican convention. That must have played some part.”
The broadcast nets were the likely top bet for the “get” in the first place, since they routinely reach more viewers than any of the cable news outfits.
Also, more women than men watch broadcast news, according to data from Magna Global and the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. Women could decide the election, and, as one veteran producer says, of the three network anchors, “Charlie appeals most to women.”
But, some experts also note that since “The CBS Evening News” has the lowest broadcast ratings and that GOP conventioneers angrily chanted “NBC! NBC!” every time a speaker made a sneering mention of the “liberal” or “elite” media, Gibson may have won the interview almost by default.
While the Peacock’s Brian Williams might never have been in the running, another factor may have worked against the Eye’s Katie Couric: It would be harder to cry “sexism!” — as the McCain campaign has been doing about critical coverage of Palin — if a female interviewer pressed Palin on squirm-inducing questions.
Of course, Gibson is also a respected journalist, and that alone could have driven the McCain-Palin campaign managers’ decision.
But it’s hard to say — the campaign managers didn’t respond to Variety‘s question as to why they went with Gibson.