How to Make Political Interviews on TV Satisfying for all Viewers: Independent, Conservative & Liberals

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How to Make Political Interviews on TV Satisfying for all Viewers: Independent, Conservative & Liberals

Dr. Paul Hatherley has a Ph.D. in psychology. He has explored Chinese Taoism, Japanese Zen, and Indian Buddhism along with Western thought. Throughout his career, Dr. Hatherley has explored one key question, “What, if anything, is necessary to make human life internally satisfying and meaningful?” Dr. Hatherley has practiced psychotherapy for over 20 years and for the past ten years he has offered education in mental and emotional development.

How to Make Political Interviews on TV Satisfying for all Viewers: Independent, Conservative & Liberals

Anyone who has watched political interviews on TV knows they are in for a frustrating experience that is certain to be unproductive, and over time, even toxic.  The problem is that everyone's purpose—the interviewer and the interviewed—is manipulative in that everyone has a point to prove, and no one is actually trying to understand the facts of reality, themselves, or each other.

One consequence is that no one is satisfied by the interaction—not the interviewer, the interviewed, or the viewer at home.  In spite of universal dissatisfaction, however, nothing is changing in the process to improve it.  Instead, the process is actually deteriorating as Democrats, Republicans, and the Media become ever more competitive and estranged, and the dialogue ever more combative and hopelessly antagonistic.

In this daily process where the competition to be seen, heard, and be right is acted out by spinning, manipulating, and sometimes just making-up an imaginary reality and proselytizing it as fact, we are seeing the fabric of Democracy being rapidly shredded. The media has the power and the responsibility to do something positive about this deteriorating circumstance that is now threatening everyone's existence.  Why the media?  Why not the politicians, or the average citizen?

Since media reporters are smart, educated, and articulate, and their numbers are small, while their influence is great, we have a better chance to train them to become more effective at changing the conversation than either the average citizen, or politician.  This is in fact what is needed right now, and has been needed for a very long time.  The problem has been that no one has understood how to change both the purpose and the process of our collective conversation to make it more satisfying and productive for all concerned.

I have spent a lifetime innocently pursuing one goal—to understand the internal—mental and emotional dimension of human life.  One huge element in my investigation has been to understand the purpose and process of how to think about life until we understand every element—internal and external.  The ultimate purpose is to use understanding to nurture and fulfill ourselves, each other, and Nature.

The source of understanding is thought, while conversation is the public expression of our private thoughts.  The purposes and process that drive our thoughts create our conversations.  Change our purposes and process, and we change the conversation.  Right now, the purposes behind our collective conversations are largely unconscious.

Even when conscious, people's purposes are often manipulative as they doggedly pursue advantages—material, emotional, or imaginary—and are not innocent in their desire to understand.  The media has long used interviews to stimulate controversy and trap politicians in mistakes or contradictions.  Politicians often use the media to project a positive image of themselves and spin reality to gain power and feed their egos.  Few people have consciously wanted to understand reality with an innocent desire to best serve the needs of people—high and low, rich and poor, famous and anonymous.

Integrating an innocent desire to understand is probably, at this point in our collective development, going to be easier for the media than either average citizens or politicians—in part, because it is an ideal of the media, or at least it once was, to pursue the truth and protect the people.  So, if reporters make it their conscious and innocent purpose to understand the facts and everyone's perspective—this purpose is in harmony with their traditional professional ideals—not so much for citizens and politicians.

Once the purpose has changed—next comes the process.  Right now, the process in the typical political interview is the reporter asks a question, the interviewee answers with a deflection, ignores the question entirely, or just "makes shit up." Next, the reporter pursues an "honest" answer, the interviewee continues to dodge, then after x number of attempts the reporter gives up and starts the process over with a new question.  In the end, everyone is dissatisfied and is left completely frustrated.

If the reporter wants to understand he needs to learn how to follow the interviewee's deflection, avoidance, or imaginary fantasy of reality.  This is a sophisticated response that requires psychological awareness, as well as mastering specific techniques based on learning how to listen to what someone else is saying, focus on the critical elements, and ask questions that cannot be misinterpreted and will reveal the interviewee in an innocent way he/she cannot see, or immediately anticipate.

Learning how to follow a critical relevant point and perspective is critical not only for our national political conversations, but also in conversations in our own heads, and with each other in our most personal, romantic, parent/child, or friend relationships.

Changing the purpose and process in our private thought process and public conversations is necessary for the internal growth required to understand and feed internal needs, master our potentials, and complete our developmental tasks.  This mastery of our internal world is required for own happiness, fulfillment, and intimate relationships, as well as social and political harmony and development, and long-term survival.

It is the purpose of CMED training to provide the developmental foundation, so people can evolve into fulfilling their own potentials, as well as learn how to work cooperatively with other people and Nature to enhance, preserve, and protect all life.

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