early and awkard

Combative Paul Ryan Interview Has Nothing on the Twitter Fight It Spawned

An interview Paul Ryan did with Flint, Michigan’s ABC12 took an awkward turn on Monday when the vice presidential candidate’s staff halted it abruptly after the reporter asked an out-of-the-blue question about taxes after grilling Ryan on gun control. Ryan was clearly peeved at the reporter, whose question about Ryan’s plan to lower taxes did seem strange after Ryan’s comments on how civil society can help end gun violence. “Those are your words, not mine,” he said. But that grumpiness was trumped by the adolescent squabbling that broke out on Twitter after BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski posted the video with the since-changed headline, “Paul Ryan Gets Testy and Walks Out of Interview.” Ryan didn’t walk out of the interview, and New York Post columnist/Commentary editor John Podhoretz wanted to make sure Kaczynski knew it.

The Romney/Ryan campaign blamed the interview hostility on the reporter, saying in a statement to Buzzfeed, “The reporter knew he was already well over the allotted time for the interview when he decided to ask a weird question relating gun violence to tax cuts.” It continued: “When you do nearly 200 interviews in a couple months, eventually you’re going to see a local reporter embarrass himself.”

It was the headline on Buzzfeed, not Ryan’s actions, that caused the most exciting stir on Twitter. Shortly after Kaczynski posted the clip, Podhoretz pointed out that Ryan didn’t end the interview, let alone walk out, prompting Kaczynski to argue that he could have answered the question, in spite of his aide’s objection. Finally, Podhoretz had had it: “Horseshit,” he tweeted. Then later, this admonishment:

@buzzfeedandrew Listen, little boy–when you do something wrong you change it. That’s what a grown up journalist does. Grow up, child.

— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) October 8, 2012

Later, Podhoretz took it back:

I apologize to @buzzfeedandrew. I’m 51 years old and Twitter annoyances occasionally reduce me to adolescence.

— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) October 8, 2012

The headline has been changed to say “Paul Ryan Gets Testy and Ends Interview.” Podhoretz still isn’t thrilled with that, but it looks to be as far as BuzzFeed is willing to concede his point.

Quick End to Paul Ryan Interview Sparks Fight