One of the most extraordinary videos of a politician I have ever seen was this interview of Gov. Rick Perry.
Asked a simple question, Perry not merely was unable to provide a coherent response, but he couldn’t intellectually engage with (or even process) data that contradicted his pre-ordained belief. It was almost as if Perry thought the interviewer was speaking Hebrew.
Listening to Cline’s July 2011 discussion with N&O journalists reminded me of the Perry interview. Cline’s chief complaint—which she also expressed several times in e-mails to the N&O—involved a claim that in March 2011 articles about the Derrick Allen case, the N&O hadn’t revealed that the state had turned over bench notes regarding SBI testing to the defense.
This complaint would have been serious, if true. But not only had N&O articles mentioned the fact twice, N&O staffers read to Cline, during their meeting, the relevant sections from the paper’s stories. Much like Perry in the abstinence clip, Cline reacted as if her interviewers were speaking a foreign language (except for when she said she had no complaint about Judge Orlando Hudson making the same alleged error of which she was accusing the N&O). She repeatedly pressed the N&O reporters and editors to see her point of view. They confessed they were unable to do so—and understandably, since Cline’s “view” was incomprehensible. Here’s the section of the interview:
Based on this . . . reasoning . . . Cline concluded that the “Twisted Truth” series had done her a grave “injustice.” She penned a rambling e-mail demanding that the N&O send reporter Andrew Curliss, plus the paper’s editors, to a Cline-arranged “town hall,” at which she would invite “the victims in the crimes of alleged misconduct,” representatives from the DPD, and local politicians. (In other words, she planned to arrange a Cline political rally.) The N&O editors declined, but expressed a willingness to have Curliss appear alongside her in a neutral forum, such as a moderated discussion by the WUNC public radio station. Cline didn’t indicate any interest in such an option.