Getting to the point a bit too quickly

9780137149063A reader pointed us to a curious interview that runs in the upcoming Newsweek. Newsweek is, of course, the magazine that used to be a weekly about news (thus, one assumes, the name) but is currently attempting to complete a transformation into a liberal opinion magazine. Or is it? A few months ago, we discussed the lengthy article by religion editor Lisa Miller hoping to make the Biblical case for same-sex marriage. It suffered from a lack of actual reportage, among other things.

Well, this interview a reader directed us to has some reportage -- it's an interview, after all. Newsweek's Matthew Phillips interviews Bishop Martyn Minns of the Anglican Church of North America and focuses on the expected media narrative of sex. Here's the interview in its entirety:

Does Jesus care if you report to Africa? Jesus cares about all things, so yes. But that presumes I do report to Africa. I'm a bishop in the Church of Nigeria, but it's not that kind of relationship. In the early days, the church was less segregated than today. We're breaking that down.

Isn't this process making it more segregated? No. We preach across lines of race, class and geography.

But not sexuality? God's love can change us all.

Is homosexuality a sin? It's clearly sinful. It leads to brokenness.

But aren't you abetting that brokenness by splitting away? The church drew a line in the sand hundreds of years ago. The Episcopal Church stepped over it. It's naive to say that by being nice to each other we can avoid issues of sin.

How does winning look to you? Maintaining our integrity. It does not look like big offices in Manhattan.

Are you referring to the Episcopal Church's headquarters? Not necessarily. It's just that I'm more interested in people than in building institutions.

I'm normally a pretty big fan of news outlets just running straight, unedited interviews. But this one is a bit weird, no? I mean, that first question is just annoying and snide. It sets the tone for the rest of the interview -- for the person being interviewed and also for the readers. This disrespectful and antagonistic tone is just not necessary. Another journalist friend described the questions as "obnoxiously confrontational."

The overwhelming feeling I have when reading this interview is that it must have been edited down about 95 percent. Despite living in the same geographic region as Bishop Minns, I've never heard him speak. But I have read other quotes of his in papers and he just never sounds that clipped, even if he's a somewhat efficient speaker. Even the interview questions themselves sound unnatural -- as if coming from an antagonistic robot.

I've done roughly three gazillion interviews in my brief reporting career and I can say that I've never had an interview turn out so brief -- either on the question or answer side. It's one thing to remove some ums and ahs -- but this seems much more dramatic.

I can't help but think this is an example of bad editing. I really would like to read the full interview -- the nuanced questions and the detailed answers. Otherwise, what in the world is the point of this mini-interview? What good does it do and how does it add to the debate?

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