Ana Marie Cox Done 'Talking' in NYT Mag: Leaves Loving Liberal Dialogues, GOP Loathing

October 23rd, 2017 8:22 PM

Sunday marked Ana Marie Cox’s last Talk interview on the back page of the New York Times Sunday Magazine. It was the usual loving treatment of a liberal: “Bree Newsome Thinks Allies Should Be Protesting.” (Newsome was the activist/vandal who removed a Confederate flag from the South Carolina statehouse.) Before that, Cox said goodbye on Page 2 of the Saturday news section, where she patted herself on the back for waiting out her subjects until she worn down their defenses and they started getting real.

....My editors supported my decision to chase after introspection instead of scoops: Rather than wanting a truth that Talk subjects had been keeping from the world, I wanted one they’d also been keeping from themselves. The thing about interviewing famous people is that you already know everything about them that they want you to know. Their anecdotes are well-worn.....I let the subject exhaust that line of conversation, like an owner tiring out a dog by going on however long a walk was needed to make them more pliable and relaxed once they returned home, to the conversation I really wanted to have....Being a good interviewer takes skill, just not the skill most people assume: You don’t have to be able to ask or come up with great questions. You need patience and humility. The more focus you put on asking a great question, the more it’s about you, and that shows. An interviewee can tell, and it detracts from that gentle magic that focused curiosity can work....A handful of genuinely famous people told me to “stay in touch,” and I think a few of them even meant it...

But Cox’s “gentle magic” was woven solely to benefit liberal figures; Republican subjects were few and far between (though her interview with Sen. Ted Cruz was perfectly civil) and were constantly bashed in her interviews with liberal figures.

Her January 2017 “Talk” with MSNBC host Joy Reid consisted almost solely of softballs, including this anti-Trump pitch: “‘Make America Great Again’ seems to be nostalgia for a time when white supremacy was a more effective institution.

In April, she welcomed disgraced CBS anchor Dan Rather, without getting into the details of the anti-Bush forged documents scandal that marked his downfall, saying only that Rather was an “early target of internet fact-finding.” She also ludicrously claimed that the newsman was "famous for doing really tough interviews."

In July she was gushing over Maxine Waters as a hero to the young and hip. In August she eagerly interviewed her favorite kind of “conservative,” the conservative-bashing radio host Charlie Sykes.

Cox really cut loose in an article for MTV, where she was able to eviscerate GOP figures directly, calling House Speaker Paul Ryan an undignified “stooge” and “media welfare queen.”