Whom would you like to interview, and what would you ask?
Cynthia McFadden is an anchor and correspondent for ABC News who currently co-anchors Nightline and Primetime. Recently named co-anchor of “Primetime” on ABC News, she has been at that network since 1994, when she joined as a legal correspondent. She became a correspondent for “PrimeTime Live” in 1996, and in 2005 she was named co-anchor of ABC News “Nightline.
McFadden has conducted numerous interviews with politicians and cultural figures from Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf to Madonna. She was the legal editor and narrator of the ABC News documentary series “In the Jury Room,” the first television program ever to show jury deliberations in a death penalty case. The hour-long documentary she co-anchored on school integration 50 years after Brown v. Board of Ed has won several awards, including first place documentary from the New York Association of Black Journalists; in 2001-02, for her reporting on 9/11, McFadden and her ABC team received a Dupont Award. McFadden's other awards include the George Foster Peabody Award, an Oversees Press Club Award, six Cine Golden Eagles, the Ohio State Award, two Silver Gavels from the American Bar Association, the Grand Award at the New York Festival and the Blue Ribbon at the American Film Festival.
Cynthia McFadden has appeared as a guest on numerous talk and news shows, including 20/20 and The Charlie Rose Show. Before joining ABC, from 1984-1991, she was the executive producer of Fred Friendly's Media and Society seminars, based at Columbia University, and she became an anchor and senior producer at Courtroom Television in '91, the year of that network's inception. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude from Bowdoin College, and received her law degree from Columbia University.
Question: Whom would you like to interview, and what would you ask?
Cynthia McFadden: Well of course Osama bin Laden is on the top of all of our lists. My former colleague, John Miller, in fact interviewed him as the only western journalist to do so. Yeah. There’s not a journalist alive, or perhaps not a person alive who wouldn’t like to sit down and try to understand how he sees the world. "Why? You took credit for the World Trade Center. Why?” I mean I’d like to understand his . . . what his thought process is, how he feels he’s making the world a better place. You know the simplest questions are usually the best questions, aren’t they? I mean the simplest questions are the ones that you get the other person . . . There’s a real tendency in what I do for a living to . . . I wouldn’t say over prepare . . . I would say overanalyze the question. It’s really about making yourself the star of the interview and not the other person. So often if you just ask the simplest question – why? You know what makes you feel that what you’re doing is making the world a better place? You know of course you have to be prepared. And of course you have to know all the specifics. And of course you have to have the follow-ups; but usually it’s in those very simply questions you get the most insight, I think. He’d certainly be high on my list."
Recorded on: Jul 7 2007
Osama bin Laden.
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