tv production blog



Points on Handling the TV Book
Interview and Author Assertions


"The most classified woman in U.S. history."

"As well-written as any piece of spy-fiction, except this one is real."


Crossing the

Credibility Line

>> First, a few things about Sibel Edmonds and her book, Classified Woman and then we'll move onto personal/professional comments on her TV interviews.

From the government's perspective the problem with Classified Woman is that's not fiction.

It has upset people in high places in the Government, so much so that they have gone to incredible lengths to squelch it -- and her.

It has made Sibel Edmonds a guest on numerous TV programs, including 60 Minutes.sibel_edmonds.jpg

Any discussion of her or her book within the government is discouraged or even outright forbidden -- and, incredibly, that even extends to members of congress.

People fear what she found out during her time as a translator for the FBI.

These things include memos and warnings marked VERY IMPORTANT about an impending 9/11 attack sent up the government hierarchy.

But these warnings were ignored before 9/11 and systematically covered up afterwards.

Gross Governmental Incompetence

>>It is hard not to view the events she describes as anything other than inexcusable and possibly even criminal governmental incompetence -- incompetence that cost more than 2,000 lives, and for which no one has been held accountable.

It's no wonder the government doesn't want anyone with insider information talking about it.

That's the story of the book in a nutshell. If you want more on the book, you can see some of the reviews here

It's too bad more people don't read books -- this one has more five-star reviews than almost any recent non-fiction book.


Crossing the Line of Credibility

>>Unfortunately, Sibel Edmonds crossed the credibility line with some of her TV interviews -- probably urged on by interviewers trying to evoke the most startling, attention-getting responses.

This "crossing the line of credibility" is just what her many critics wanted -- it calls into question the politically uncomfortable, or maybe even politically devastating, things she writes about.

>>During my time as a TV producer and director I was responsible for many TV interviews.  If I were in charge of one of her interviews I would first read her book and then study some of her YouTube interviews. (Yes, I know this takes time, but as a person who knew my audience it would be worth it.)

I would recognize that Mrs. Edmonds has a tendency to become a bit hyper as interviews progress.

Preparing For the TV Interview

>>Although this may be a natural tendency for guests who feel passionately about their subjects (and especially for anyone who has been put through the years of government hell that she has), "calm, reasoned and collected" win points for credibility.

I would see that her interviewer spends time with her before "cameras roll," talking to her in a calm, measured way, and, yes, even making sure she got only decaf coffee or tea before going on camera.

I would not try to "juice up" the interview for the sake of ratings. I would know that, given the chance, the facts would speak for themselves. The problem, of course, is to cover the salient points in the limited time available.

Before the interview starts I would want the interviewer to sit with her and calmly ask some mundane questions (never questions that will be part of the interview) which would be meant to get her to calmly "settle in" while giving the audio and video personnel a chance to do their checks.

>>Subjects tend to be their own worst critics and past negative experiences are a major reason people don't like to do TV interviews.

>>As a former TV producer-director I know that sometimes you can get desperate to find a guest at the last minute, especially when a scheduled guest suddenly cancels. Replaying an old show does not speak well for your control of things.

Knowing you have one or more people "out there" with an interesting story that they are ready and willing to expand on relieves a lot of anxiety.

Handled right, Sibel Edmonds would be the kind of person that could provide multiple fascinating interviews -- interviews that audiences would make a point to tune in to see.

-Ron Whittaker

Ms. Edmonds founded the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (SWBC), 2004, in league with over 50 former and current United States government agencies.

NSWBC is made up of current and former employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Department of Energy (DOE), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Federal Reserve, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) (including the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the National Security Agency (NSA), the Department of State, and others. .

Additional background reading on this topic is included in the book, Extreme Prejudice: The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of 9/11 and Iraq,  by Susan Lindauer.

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