Scandal alert: national correspondents make small talk with their guest during the break!

I really wish the latest leaked audio about my least favorite presidential candidate was a true scandal. To bring you up to date, the GOP primary leader with the most impressive combover of the last two centuries recently appeared on a morning talk show on a 24-hour cable news network. During a break from live broadcast, the guest politician chatted amicably with the anchors, and even asked their opinion about his opponents' ads.

Yeah. That's it. The politician was polite and chatty. The hosts were polite and chatty. Social media is blowing up with accusations of favoritism and gasps that upcoming questions were actually discussed in front of the guest.

Here's the reality of live broadcast interviews:

1. The anchors do this every day. If their show is a morning chat show, expect cheery chattiness. 

2. The producers want smooth transitions and clean sound bites. It makes perfect sense to discuss topics for the next segment on a break.

3. A savvy guest wants to build rapport with his or her interviewers. Being amicable and polite is a good idea in life and in the studio.

4. A guest thinking about his or her next broadcast statement is smart to use the breaks to introduce strategic topics or ask questions about what the interviewers are looking for next.

None of these behaviors is unethical, unprofessional, parochial or wrong. There is one problem with this episode, however. It is pretty rotten to leak audio from not-for-broadcast-breaks to the press. I'd think twice about going back on a show where that happened. But if I did go back on, I'd sure be polite and friendly the entire time I had a live microphone on - who knows where that audio goes?


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