I'M about to do something I never thought I would do: defend Donald Trump and Clive Palmer.

Most people would have seen the headlines relating to Mr Trump's comments on abortion overnight.

"Trump: 'Women who Abort should be Punished'" is one I've read.

Other outlets are leading with a press release his campaign released shortly after he allegedly made the much maligned comment.

"Donald Trump clarifies comments after backing punishment for women who have illegal abortions," is what ABC Online has up.

However what I would urge you to do, if you haven't already, is watch the footage.

Yes Mr Trump said something stupid and yes he shouldn't have responded the way he did, but let's for one second just have a bit of a look at the questions he was asked by MSNBC reporter Chris Matthews.

"Should the woman be punished for having an abortion? And this is not something you can dodge," Mr Matthews asked.

"If you say abortion is a crime and abortion is murder you have to deal with it under the law, should abortion be punished?"

This went on and on, aggressive questioning intended only to force Trump into doing exactly what did - say something dumb.

I'm reminded this morning of another example much closer to home, when Fairfax MP Clive Palmer appeared on the Today show and was interviewed by Lisa Wilkinson.

There in an epic ten minute battle Ms Wilkinson descended into attack mode.

"Clive you've sat yourself in front of a lot of very expensive yachts, you like to show off your wealth, you've talked about it many times," Ms Wilkinson said in one of her harsher barbs.

To which Mr Palmer responded with the obvious: "Why don't you just ask a question."

 

Most of the general public probably wouldn't agree but interviewing people is hard and if a journalist tells you they've never blown up at someone, never gone too far, they're probably being untruthful.

However, every time a journalist does this, every time this line is crossed a great disservice is done as this simply hands the advantage back to the interviewee and their supporters who inevitably just say they have not been given a fair go.

In the Palmer v Wilkinson battle the upshot was swift and the condemnation of Ms Wilkinson quite widespread.

I note with interest that today very few people have said Mr Mathews went too far and Mr Trump's comments are still on television bulletins and news websites.

The point is this, the goal of good journalism and good interviewing has to be to get the most accurate and honest information from the subject.

I sincerely doubt this is something either of these people were seeking to achieve in these interviews.



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