SBD/November 15, 2011/Media

NBC's Bob Costas Draws Praise For "Rock Center" Interview With Jerry Sandusky

Pundits took to Twitter to praise Costas for his interview with Sandusky
Bob Costas' interview last night on NBC's "Rock Center" with former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who is at the center of a child sexual abuse scandal, immediately drew widespread praise from members of the sports media and beyond on Twitter. ESPN’s Chris Fowler wrote on his feed, “Bob Costas Superbly handled phone interview with Jerry Sandusky tonight. Most disturbing content possible handled with great poise.” SI.com’s Richard Deitsch wrote, “Bob Costas showed you tonight why he is the best sports broadcaster of his generation.” NBC’s Cris Collinsworth: “Bob Costas was absolutely brilliant conducting that interview with Jerry Sandusky.” The Detroit Free Press’ Michael Rosenberg: “Bob Costas is an all-time great interviewer. Phenomenal job tonight.” Newsday's Neil Best: "There is no one more qualified to deal with an interview like this than Costas. He is the master." NFL.com's Jeff Darlington: "Why doesn't Bob Costas do more hard-hitting interviews like the one he conducted with Sandusky tonight? He was brilliantly fair & thorough." The N.Y. Times’ Pete Thamel: ”Best thing about Costas tonight? He was well prepared. He knew this case cold. Impressive interview.” SBD/SBJ's John Ourand: “Nobody will complain about Costas' questioning. He asked all the relevant ones.” The N.Y. Daily News' Richard Huff: "Gotta give Bob Costas credit. He didnt miss any tough questions. Hard to watch, but pulled no punches." The Hollywood Reporter's Lacey Rose: "You may not like the fact that he gave Sandusky a platform, but you cant deny the Bob Costas delivered some first rate journalism tonight" (TWITTER.com). The HOLLYWOOD REPORTER compiled a list of tweets regarding Costas’ interview with Sandusky. Oprah Winfrey tweeted, “Anybody see Bob Costas interview Jerry Sandusky? Great job Bob.” CNN contributor and former President Bill Clinton counselor Paul Begala: “Bob Costas a total pro interviewing alleged child molester Sandusky. Tough Q’s, focused follow-ups. Costas should moderate Prez debates.” ESPN The Magazine’s Molly Knight: “Bob Costas just landed a quadruple axel. Just brilliant with Sandusky. Such a difficult interview on so many levels” (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 11/14).

SUPERB JOB: In Boston, Mark Perigard writes Costas' interview with Sandusky “just might be the best news interview of the year.” Costas “controlled the interview with methodical, logical follow-up questions, like any good newsman, and Sandusky just dug his grave deeper.” It was a “chilling interview.” Perigard writes, “Kudos to NBC for giving Costas the reign to take it” (BOSTONHERALD.com, 11/15). In DC, Joel Achenbach writes this was “must-see, can’t-believe it TV and Bob Costas showed why he’s a superstar talent.” This was “a clinic in how to do a high-pressure, big-news TV interview on deadline” (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 11/15). In Baltimore, David Zurawik writes it was Costas who put “Rock Center,” the “self-important, over-promoted newsmagazine on the map Monday with his exclusive interview" of Sandusky. Zurawik writes, “What a ‘get’ for Costas, and what a superb job of getting to the heart of the matter.” He did it “over a phone no less -- he didn’t even have in-person access” (Baltimore SUN, 11/15). AWFULANNOUNCING.com’s Matt Yoder writes this interview was Costas “at his best -- a well prepared, cutting interview that asked many of the questions viewers at home would have likely asked themselves.” Given the “setting and the context of the interview it truly is an outstanding job by Costas” (AWFULANNOUNCING.com, 11/15).

GETTING SANDUSKY ON THE PHONE: Costas today said he was "very much” surprised Sandusky agreed to the interview. Costas: “I was set to sit down with his attorney, Joseph Amendola, and no more than 10, 15 minutes before the cameras were to roll, Amendola says, ‘What if I can get Sandusky on the phone?’ And I’m thinking, ‘I wonder, from your standpoint, whether that’s the smartest thing to do, but at the same time, sure, if you want to do it let’s get him on the phone'" ("Morning Joe," MSNBC, 11/15). Costas said there no ground rules prior to the interview but Amendola “was sitting there the whole time as the cameras rolled" ("The Dan Patrick Show," 11/15). Amendola spoke with NBC’s Ann Curry this morning live in-studio and he discussed why Sandusky conducted the interview. He said, “I explained to Jerry that this was an opportunity for him to tell people how he felt and what has happened in his life and the fact that he’s not guilty of these offenses, and he took that opportunity” (“Today,” NBC, 11/15). But ABC legal analyst Dan Abrams said, “I don’t know what he was doing doing this interview. I was sort of torn thinking, ‘How could it hurt him?’ And then I listen to the interview and I had my answer. ... This is not helpful to him at all" ("GMA," ABC, 11/15).
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