The next challenge was how to identify Andrew to our listeners, so they understood he was not a typical Times reporter, who wouldn’t take a stance. We tried to do that in a few ways. In the show’s introduction, we described Andrew as a columnist, and I mentioned his role again in the middle of the interview:
Michael: And as a columnist, distinct from a reporter in the newsroom, it sounds like you are taking the position that there is a kind of moral obligation within the financial system that, in your mind, they have not been awakened to or are aware of, that they can and should play a role in restricting or monitoring gun sales in light of these mass shootings.
Andrew: Absolutely. It’s a responsibility, especially in an environment in which lawmakers seem so deadlocked on everything that nobody is willing to step up.
A few listeners wrote in to tell us that that wasn’t enough.
“I really liked Andrew Sorkin today, but I think it’s worthwhile for Michael to clarify (or double-clarify) that he’s a columnist early on in the podcast,” one listener said. “I think most people get the columnist/reporting distinction, but most of the U.S. seems to have forgotten and view all reporting with suspicion. I think ‘The Daily’ is great and would hate to see listeners confuse a columnist interview with a reporting interview and as a result be tempted to impute a bias to your interviews of reporters.”
We hear you. The bar will always be exceedingly high for interviewing a Times colleague who expresses an opinion. And when we do, we will take pains to make sure listeners understand who the guest is and why we’re doing it.
Talk to Michael on Twitter: @mikiebarb.
What we’re listening to
Who: Michael Simon Johnson, a producer for “The Daily”
After hearing about the death of the billionaire businessman David Koch two weeks ago, I found myself with a renewed interest in the opaque world of the Koch brothers, the oil and gas titans who have been major forces in energy, philanthropy, conservative policymaking and climate skepticism over the last half-century. David and his brother Charles, of the multinational conglomerate Koch Industries, together had a net worth that rivaled the likes of Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos.