Charlie Rose Fails to Stereotype David Mamet

PBS television host Charlie Rose is a skilled interviewer, but he can't seem to hide his political ideology.  He routinely lets leftist guests express partisan views without challenging them.  That's fine, but he also seems inclined to debate, rather than interview, conservative and libertarian guests.

For instance, in a recent show about Elena Kagan's Supreme Court Justice confirmation hearings, Rose asked NPR's Nina Totenberg, "Nina, what is all this about her relationship to Justice Thurgood Marshall and trying to somehow identify her as a liberal activist?"  Of course, Totenberg then simply amplified Rose's implied disapproval of such tactics, scolding the Republicans for being foolish and possibly racist for attempting such linkage.

Later in the same segment, Rose gushed, "I think it's nice to see a non-judge be nominated to the Court."  (To paraphrase Alex Trebek, please restate your fawning leftist opinion, mister interviewer, in the form of a question.)

In contrast, earlier this year, Rose took a relatively combative stance in his interview with former Republican lawmaker, Dick Armey.  In one exchange, when Armey correctly blamed the (Democrat) Community Redevelopment Act for contributing to the housing market collapse, Rose interrupted him and said dismissively, "That's a very small part of it."

Given that historical bias, it was fascinating to watch Mr. Rose attempt to confront playwright David Mamet ideologically during a recent interview.  Rose obviously knew that in 2008, Mamet had penned the political epiphany piece "Why I Am No Longer a Brain Dead Liberal", and he was looking for a fight.  But Mr. Mamet was on the show to plug a book and a play, not endorse a political candidate, so he wisely avoided Rose's leftist traps.

After an unsuccessful attempt to tag Mamet as "a former liberal or something", Mr. Rose eventually baited him by asking bluntly, "What do you think of President Obama?"

Mamet replied, "I'll tell you when we get off the air."  When Rose persisted, he explained, "Since we're talking about the theater, it's not my job as a playwright to burden the audience with sectarian politics, because that's misusing their time."

Hallelujah!  Regardless of whether one agrees or disagrees with Mr. Mamet's current political views, it seems admirable that he chose not to express them during an interview about the arts.