Nasty Questions

As he has done a couple times now recently, President Trump reacted rather badly to a question put to him yesterday by NBC White House Correspondent Peter Alexander. The president called it a “nasty” question. Alexander asked the president what he would say to a scared nation as the coronavirus pandemic continues on. It didn’t sound nasty to me, but I guess nasty is in the ear of the beholder.

I’m of the opinion there are no nasty questions, just nasty reporters. I’m kidding!

As a reporter myself once upon a time, I don’t think I ever asked any politician or celebrity a nasty question. A few turned out to be a little embarrassing maybe, but not nasty.

Once I did an interview with Burl Ives, the terrific folk singer and actor who won an Academy Award for his performance in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof with Elizabeth Taylor. “But I don’t know where my Oscar is,” he told me. I said something stupid like, “You don’t know where your Oscar is?” He said, “No. My ex-wife sold it.” I didn’t have a follow-up question.

I didn’t even get out a full question to television personality Steve Allen when I said something like, “You are the father of the television talk show…. ” He said, “Yes, and if I ever find out who the mother is there’s going to be one hell of a scandal around here!” Didn’t make much sense, but it was funny.

But my favorite story along these lines didn’t happen to me. In fact, there’s some question that it happened at all. But I’d like to think it’s true. Here’s why.

As the story goes, a television reporter is talking to an elderly woman on the occasion of her 100th birthday. At one point, the reporter asked her, “Were you ever bedridden?” Supposedly the woman answered, “Oh, yes, hundreds of times. And once in the back of a buggy. But don’t put that on television!” I’d like to think that’s true.