Opinion: ABC gets Sarah Palin’s first TV interview

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That was quick.

Minutes after we posted the item below about Sarah Palin‘s nonappearance on the Sunday talk shows came word that the GOP’s vice presidential nominee will be interviewed this week by (drum roll, please) Charles Gibson of ABC, the anchor of ‘World News.’

McCain-Palin communications director Jill Hazelbaker told The Times’ Maeve Reston that the offer was made Friday, and the details were worked out over the last two days.

‘No ground rules on our end, multiple interviews over two days in multiple locations,’ Hazelbaker said in an e-mail. Palin is expected to be in Alaska this week; her son Track, who enlisted in the Army a year ago, leaves Thursday for Iraq.

[UPDATE: According to top McCain aide Mark Salter, who spoke this afternoon with reporters on a campaign flight from Albuquerque, N.M., to Kansas City, Mo., the interviews will take place in Alaska, probably on Thursday and Friday, and will be aired this week.]


Gibson, 65, is the ‘elder statesman’ of the three network news anchors (the others are CBS’ Katie Couric and NBC’s Brian Williams).

A self-professed political junkie, he conducted hundreds of interviews on live television as the co-anchor, for nearly two decades, of ABC’s ‘Good Morning America,’ and he moderated one of the Democratic presidential candidates’ debates during the 2008 primary season.

When he took over the anchor job after the death of Peter Jennings two years ago, The Times’ Matea Gold made note of his ‘straightforward, avuncular demeanor.’

On his blog last Friday, Gibson had this to say: ‘Sarah Palin has steered clear of reporters and their questions. Speakers at the Republican convention this week bashed the press and their handling of Palin’s family story. At what point does a candidate for higher office have a responsibility to take interact with reporters?’

ABC has, of late, been in second place in the network news ratings. Watch for a change in that figure this week.

-- Leslie Hoffecker

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