In Trump Era, Uncompromising TV News Should Be the Norm, Not the Exception

.. And, CNN was reporting, the transition team had even sought to get Mr. Flynn’s son a security clearance, for access to sensitive information.

.. And so it went eight times, as Mr. Tapper repeated the question and Mr. Pence accused him of pursuing “a distraction” and tried to change the subject. “I want to move on to other issues,” Mr. Tapper told him, “but I’m afraid I just didn’t get an answer.”

.. On television, in real time, even the best-prepared interviewers may have neither the time nor the facts to catch a lie and call it out. Even when they do, their attempts to call foul can turn into stalemates if the interviewee insists on continuing to forward something that’s false or unsubstantiated, which seems to be the latest craze (see Reince Priebus, millions of illegal votes, “Face the Nation).

.. Hillary Clinton did not grant Mr. Tapper another interview after a sit-down in early June, when he asked her if questions about her family foundation undermined her criticism of Mr. Trump’s. (In an email, divulged by WikiLeaks, the Clinton adviser John Podesta once called Mr. Tapper a word for the male anatomy not suitable for print.)

.. Mr. Tapper said some of his competitors, whom he did not name, had gone easy on interview subjects to ensure future access. “We’re not supposed to be providing people in power with safe spaces,” he said.

.. You can only imagine how Mr. Russert would have handled Katrina Pierson, the Trump campaign’s national spokeswoman, when she incorrectly asserted on CNN that it was President Obama who invaded Afghanistan, or what short work Mr. Koppel would have made of Mr. Lewandowski in August when he repeated the tired fake claim that Mr. Obama wasn’t born here.

.. CNN was host to such nonsense enough that Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post felt compelled to ask Jeffrey A. Zucker, CNN’s president, at a panel discussion two weeks ago, “At what point do you say, ‘You can’t come on our air anymore’?”

In an interview with me on Friday, Mr. Zucker defended those appearances by saying that they represented Mr. Trump’s worldview, and that his anchors were there to keep them honest and did.

.. Mr. Tapper did not invent the tough interview. George Stephanopoulos and Martha Raddatz of ABC, Chuck Todd of NBC, Chris Wallace and Megyn Kelly of Fox News, and John Dickerson of CBS have all had their moments.

And none has yet claimed the mantles of Tim Russert and Ted Koppel, feared interviewers who combined tough styles with incomparable levels of preparation.