I have now lived the dream of being a TV talking head for a day.
Okay, I don't know how many people actually dream of it. But here's a hint--don't bother. Unless someone's paying you to.
I wrote a comic book biography of Barack Obama, for IDW Publishing, which is also publishing one about John McCain. These have been generating a lot of national (and international) publicity. Last weekend was Comic-Con in San Diego, and I had to stay over after to be interviewed at IDW's offices for CNN's The Situation Room. The interview was brief, and I had only a few seconds of screen time. The books were also covered by the NY Times, the L.A. Times, and the AP, among others.
After I got home from San Diego, Fox News Channel decided it wanted me and the McCain writer on, live, yesterday afternoon.
I tried to decline Fox's invitation. Over the past 13 days, I have been home for 2 full days, and my work and ranch upkeep are both suffering, and I'm still tired from Comic-Con and all the activity since.
But they really wanted me, so much that they offered to send a car down for me. That's 2 hours here from Tucson, then 2 back, then 2 home, then another 2 for the driver to get home. If Rupert Murdoch wanted to pay someone to drive around for 8 hours, how could I refuse? Besides, I figured I could get some work done in the car.
So about 11:00 am yesterday, a Lincoln Town Car came through the ranch gates and pulled up outside the house. I got in and we drove up to Tucson, where the local Fox affiliate broadcasts from a building on the University of Arizona campus. It being summer, and a Sunday, the campus was quiet. So quiet, in fact, that the building Fox broadcasts from was locked up tight.
We waited around until a little after 2:00 (for a 2:40 broadcast), and when no one showed up, I called the producer in New York. She called the person who was supposed to be setting up the broadcast, who had been informed that I would be going on the air at 8:40, not 2:40. So he rushed down, opened up the studio, set up a light and camera in front of a table, slapped a mic on me an handed me an earpiece, and I was on. No real prep, no instructions. I heard the broadcast, then a commercial break, and then we were live.
Since I don't watch Fox, I didn't know how big they are on split-screens. And since there was no monitor in the studio with me, I couldn't see what was happening on screen. So I foolishly assumed that if I wasn't being asked a question, or answering one, that I was probably off camera. That was when I blinked, looked around, adjusted my earpiece, etc. When I got home and saw the tape, I realized the error of my ways. I looked, as my wife said, like a "shifty-eyed serial killer."
I shouldn't have been surprised that they misspelled Mariotte. I would have liked it if they got that part right, but oh well. Now their viewers know the comic is coming, and that's the important thing.
But I'm in no hurry to be on TV again any time soon.
Causes Jeffrey Mariotte Supports
Nuclear Information Resource Service, Natural Resources Defense Council, Move-On.org,