Thursday in Phoenix, Bernie Sanders gruffly ended a local television interview with KNPX’s political reporter, Brahm Resnik, when the allotted time for the short sit down was expired.
The full interview with Sanders is expected to run Sunday. A clip of it ran on Thursday’s KNPX broadcast, focusing on Sanders “abruptly ending” the interview. Another KNPX story read, “Bernie Sanders Walks Out Of Interview.”
Clinton supporters jumped on the headline, with some suggesting Sanders was running from questions he didn’t like. With the Arizona primary looming, they speculated, Sanders was rattled by tough questions on his past votes against comprehensive immigration reform, for pro-Minute Men legislation, and over Jane Sanders’ visit to Joe Arpaio’s tent city prison camp, which Hillary Clinton backers have called a gaffe.
That’s not what happened. Resnik asked Sanders tough questions and persisted when Sanders tried to deflect them. He kept asking questions as time expired on his four-minute interview with Sanders, one of several in a row Sanders hosted in hotel ballroom Thursday with local TV outlets. Reporters ask questions until someone makes them stop, and in an interview Resnik defended the tactic.
But he rejected the idea that Sanders walked out because questions about Jane rattled him.
“If you see the video, you will see that’s not fair,” Resnik said. “There was a question in between.”
Sanders actually ended the interview after a question about whether or not he’d consider being Clinton’s vice president. (In the past, he’s answered that question by asking if she’d consider being his vice president.)
Resnik makes no apologies for his interview, or for his persistence. A former Montreal resident, he said he knew Sanders well from TV coverage in the Vermont-area city and was ready to press him on issues important to Arizona voters.
“I’ll keep asking questions until the time is up or even beyond,” Resnik said. As to why Sanders so abruptly ended the interview with the cameras rolling, Resnik said that’s anybody’s guess.
“The truth is i don’t know. I’m not a mind reader,” Resnik said. “I have to believe his handler behind me gave him the cut sign.”
Regardless of the reasoning, “I’ve never seen that happen before,” Resnik said of the way Sanders ended the chat with KNPX.
After a request from BuzzFeed News, the station posted extended video of the interview to its website showing the question leading up to the ending of the interview, the question asked, and the aftermath.
What the video shows is Sanders abruptly ending the interview, Resnik expressing disbelief, and Sanders milling around afterwards briefly lecturing Resnik on his allotted time and how he should report the interview’s end.
It’s a tone those regularly around Sanders are accustomed to, and one that raised eyebrows at KNPX. But the video doesn’t show Sanders fleeing the interview or even questioning Resnik’s questions.
“I told you you had four minutes. You had more than four minutes,” Sanders told Resnik after the interview ended. “I didn’t walk away, you persisted.”
“I’m a reporter,” Resnik replied. “That’s what we do.”
“Don’t say I walked away,” Sanders chided Resnik. “You got four minutes…that was the time that was allotted.”