<a href="http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,2766-1817008_1,00.html" target="_blank">Link to Story</a> Some insight into the White House process and how it deals(process)with journalists. You decide did this young Irish Journalist over step her bounds or did she do her job and get a unique perspective. snippet: “Are we all ready to go then?” I asked, looking around the room. The next voice I heard was the president’s. “I think we have a spunky one here,” he said, to nobody in particular. snippet: The interview sounded like quite a production. We wouldn’t be able to just saunter in there with a camera. It would be filmed by a White House crew, which would then hand over the tapes to me to be copied and returned the same day. snippet: Reporters often begin a big interview by asking a soft question — to let the subject warm up before getting into the substance of the topic at hand. This was how I had initially intended to begin with Bush, but as I mentally rehearsed the likely scenario, I felt that too much time could be consumed by his first probable answer, praising Ireland and looking forward to his visit. We could, I had calculated, be into the third minute before even getting to the controversial topics. I decided to ditch the cordial introduction. snippet: Then MC announced that she had some news for me. “There may be another interview in the pipeline for you,” she said. “Me?” “We’re not supposed to tell you this yet, but we are trying to set up an interview with the first lady.” She indicated that the White House had already been in contact with RTE to make arrangements for the interview at Dromoland Castle, where the president and Mrs Bush would be staying. As an admirer of Laura Bush’s cool grace and sharp intellect, I had requested interviews with her several times previously without any reply. Now the first lady of the United States was being handed to me on a plate. I could not believe my luck. “Of course, it’s not certain yet,” MC added. And then her sidekick dropped his second bombshell. “We’ll see how you get on with the president first.” snippeta journalist that prays thats a good sign Stephanie and I locked eyes and headed for the ladies’ powder room, where we prayed. snippet: t was over. I felt like a delinquent child who had been reprimanded by a stern, unwavering father. My face must have been the same colour as my suit. Yet I also knew that we had discussed some important issues — probably more candidly than I had heard from President Bush in some time. I was removing my microphone when he addressed me. “Is that how you do it in Ireland — interrupting people all the time?” I froze. He was not happy with me and was letting me know it. “Yes,” I stuttered, determined to maintain my own half-smile. snippet: At the studio I handed over the tapes. My phone rang. It was MC, and her voice was cold. “We just want to say how disappointed we are in the way you conducted the interview,” she said. “How is that?” I asked. “You talked over the president, not letting him finish his answers.” “Oh, I was just moving him on,” I said, explaining that I wanted some new insight from him, not two-year-old answers. “He did give you plenty of new stuff.” She estimated that I had interrupted the president eight times and added that I had upset him. I was upset too, I told her. The line started to break up; I was in a basement with a bad phone signal. I took her number and agreed to call her back. I dialled the White House number and she was on the line again. “I’m here with Colby,” she indicated. “Right.” “You were given an opportunity to interview the leader of the free world and you blew it,” she began. I was beginning to feel as if I might be dreaming. I had naively believed the American president was referred to as the “leader of the free world” only in an unofficial tongue-in-cheek sort of way by outsiders, and not among his closest staff. “You were more vicious than any of the White House press corps or even some of them up on Capitol Hill . . .The president leads the interview,” she said. “I don’t agree,” I replied, my initial worry now turning to frustration. “It’s the journalist’s job to lead the interview.” It was suggested that perhaps I could edit the tapes to take out the interruptions, but I made it clear that this would not be possible. As the conversation progressed, I learnt that I might find it difficult to secure further co-operation from the White House. A man’s voice then came on the line. Colby, I assumed. “And, it goes without saying, you can forget about the interview with Laura Bush.” Clearly the White House had thought they would be dealing with an Irish “colleen” bowled over by the opportunity to interview the Bushes. If anyone there had done their research on RTE’s interviewing techniques, they might have known better. MC also indicated that she would be contacting the Irish Embassy in Washington — in other words, an official complaint from Washington to Dublin. “I don’t know how we are going to repair this relationship, but have a safe trip back to Ireland,” MC concluded. I told her I had not meant to upset her since she had been more than helpful to me. The conversation ended. By the time I got to the control room, the Prime Time broadcast had just started. It was at the point of the first confrontation with the “leader of the free world” and those gathered around the monitors were glued to it. “Well done,” someone said. “This is great.” I thought about the interview again as I climbed up the steps to RTE’s live camera position at Dromoland Castle to account for myself on the 6pm news next day. By now the White House had vented its anger to the Irish embassy in Washington. To make matters worse for the administration, the interview had made its way onto American television and CNN was replaying it around the world and by the end of the day it had been aired in Baghdad. Had I been fair? Should I just have been more deferential to George Bush? I felt that I had simply done my job and shuddered at the thought of the backlash I would surely have faced in Ireland had I not challenged the president on matters that had changed the way America was viewed around the world.