Transcript: Interview: Barbara Frum | Oct 01, 1976

The screen shows a pale blue rounded setting, with a velvet texture. A table sits in the middle, a big couch, with brown cushions, around it, and both the host and his guest sitting down.
The host is a man in his fifties. He has short blond hair, and is clean-shaven. He wears a dark blue suit, a white shirt, and a red tie.

The Host says BARBARA FRUM, I MENTIONED
IN THE OPENING THAT
AS IT HAPPENS
IS A
RADIO NEWS PROGRAM.
YOU'VE HAD SOME INTERESTING
THINGS TO SAY ABOUT NEWS.
THAT IT'S NOT A REPLICA
OF THE DAY'S EVENTS,
BUT MORE AN
ORGANIZED CREATION,
ALMOST A DISTORTION.
WOULD YOU SAY
SOMETHING ABOUT THAT?

Barbara is a woman in her fifties. She has short dark hair, a brown collar blouse with a colorful brooch, a brown jacket with details in black and trousers. She looks relaxed with both her hands on her pockets.

Barbara says WELL, THERE'S AN AWFUL LOT
OF DAYS WHERE IT'S NOT AN
ORGANIZED ANYTHING BECAUSE
NOTHING IN THE WORLD
HAS HAPPENED THAT STRIKES YOU
AS BEING INTERESTING AND
DIFFERENT THAN THE
DAY BEFORE.
PEOPLE WANT TO HEAR SOMETHING
THAT TELLS THEM SOMETHING
ABOUT THE WORLD THAT NIGHT.
AND VERY OFTEN, UNLESS THERE'S
SOMETHING FED INTO THAT SYSTEM
AT THE INPUT END, YOU'RE
NOT GOING TO GET ANYTHING
OUT THE OTHER END.
FOR EXAMPLE, ONE NIGHT YOU'LL
SEE, IN A TORONTO NEWSPAPER,
A HEADLINE THAT SAYS, "DOCTOR
PREDICTS WE WILL HAVE TO HAVE
A LICENSE TO HAVE
FAMILIES IN THE FUTURE."
WHEN YOU SEE A
HEADLINE LIKE THAT,
THAT MEANS
THE TORONTO
STAR
IS DESPERATE.
NOTHING HAPPENING.
WHEN YOU SEE A STORY
ABOUT LASSA FEVER
IN
ETOBICOKE RUNNING
FOR THREE DAYS SOLID,
YOU KNOW THAT NEWSPAPER
IS DESPERATE.
THERE WAS, IN FACT, ONE DAY
OF
THE GLOBE AND MAIL,
THAT THE STORY OF LASSA
FEVER, IN THIS WOMAN,
IN ONTARIO, TOOK UP
TWO-THIRDS OF THE FRONT PAGE.
THAT IS A SIGN OF
DESPERATION.

The Host says AND IN THOSE MOMENTS
OF DESPERATION,
THEN THE CREATIVE
ENERGIES HAVE TO FLOW,
YOU HAVE TO ORGANIZE
TO FIND SOMETHING
THAT WILL HOLD PEOPLE.

Barbara says WELL, IT'S A TERRIBLE
THING, YOU SEE.
PEOPLE RESIST THE NOTION THAT
THE NEWS IS AN ENTERTAINMENT.
THEY LIKE TO THINK
IT'S AN EARNEST THING.
BUT THERE ARE ALL KINDS
OF MOTIVES WE HAVE
WHEN WE SIT DOWN AT
THE NEWS EVERY NIGHT.
WE WATCH LLOYD, OR WE WATCH
HARVEY KIRK OR WHOEVER IS ON,
AND WE WANT TO SEE A SHOW.
NOW, WE DON'T
THINK WE DO.
WE PRETEND WE WANT
TO BE INFORMED.
BUT WE WANT TO
BE STARTLED.
WE WANT TO BE
FRIGHTENED.
WE WANT TO FEEL SAFER.
BUT WE WANT TO FEEL A
LITTLE DANGEROUS, TOO.
WHY DO PEOPLE LIKE
HORROR MOVIES?
THAT'S PARTLY WHY THEY
LIKE THE NEWS, TOO.
BUT IT'S ALL GUSSIED UP
IN THIS NOTION OF BEING
AN INFORMED CITIZEN.

The Host says YEAH, NOW INFORMING AND
CLARIFYING IS ALSO PART
OF YOUR OBJECTIVES AS A
GOOD NEWS JOURNALIST.

Barbara says SURE, SURE, OF COURSE.

The Host continues DO YOU EVER FEEL, AFTER AN
ITEM, OR EVEN AFTER A SHOW,
THAT YOU HAVE
ENTERTAINED MORE THAN
YOU HAVE CLARIFIED
OR INFORMED?

Barbara says I DON'T KNOW.
I WOULDN'T THINK
OF IT THAT WAY.
THERE'S AN AWFUL LOT OF
NIGHTS I HAVEN'T CLARIFIED.
SOMETIMES, FOR EXAMPLE,
JUST IN THE PRESSURE
OF A LIVE PROGRAM, YOU WILL
MAKE A SLIP OF THE TONGUE.
AND YOU'LL HEAR IT
LATER, AND YOU THINK,
WHY DID I SAY AMERICA?
I MEANT TO SAY THAT.
IT HAPPENS.

The Host says YOUR PROGRAM FOLLOWS
THE NATIONAL NEWS.

Barbara says ON THE RADIO.

The Host continues ON THE RADIO.
AND I WONDER IF THERE'S A
COMPETITIVE TENSION BETWEEN
THE TEAM THAT PUTS THE
NATIONAL NEWS TOGETHER
AND YOUR TEAM.

Barbara says I THINK THERE IS.
BUT AT THE SAME TIME, WE TRY,
AT LEAST AT OUR END, I KNOW,
I DON'T KNOW ABOUT THAT END,
TO NOT DO THE SAME THING
BECAUSE IT WOULD
BE FUTILE.
THE LISTENER WHO TURNS
ON AT 6 O’CLOCK TO THE CBC
WANTS TO HEAR SOMETHING
DIFFERENT HAPPEN AT 6:30.
AND WE GET THEIR LINE-UP
DURING THE DAY.
AND IF WE DON'T THINK
WE CAN BETTER IT,
WE DO SOMETHING, WE
TAKE ANOTHER ANGLE.
IF WE SEE THEY ARE GOING
STRONGLY AT A CERTAIN ASPECT;
FOR EXAMPLE, WHEN MAO DIED,
THEY WERE GOING TO GO
TO THE NATIONS' CAPITALS
TO GET REACTIONS.
WELL, IT WOULD HAVE BEEN
FUTILE AND FOOLISH FOR US
TO SPEND OUR RESOURCES,
WHICH ARE VERY MEAGER,
BELIEVE IT OR NOT,
TO DO THE SAME THING.

The Host says SO YOU KNOW WHAT
THEY'RE DOING.
THEY DON'T KNOW
WHAT YOU ARE DOING.

Barbara says OH, YES,
THEY DO, TOO.

The Host comments THEY DO.

Barbara says YES.

The Host says IN YOUR BOOK, WHICH IS A
COMPILATION OF SOME OF THE BEST
INTERVIEWS IN
AS IT HAPPENS
OVER
THE PAST FIVE YEARS, AND ALSO-

Barbara says FUNNIEST, I HOPE.

The Host continues SOME OF THE PHILOSOPHY.
YES.
YOU SAY THAT YOU HAVE EDITED
DOWN THESE RADIO INTERVIEWS
IN THE INTEREST OF CLARITY
AND COMPREHENSIBILITY
TO MAKE FOR SMOOTH
READING.
I WANT TO KNOW IF
ON THE AIR ITSELF,
WHEN YOU TAPE FOR RADIO, DO
YOU ALSO EDIT DOWN THESE
TELEPHONE CONVERSATIONS
IN THE INTERESTS
OF CLARITY AND
COMPREHENSIBILITY?

Barbara says OFTEN, OFTEN.
MANY OF THE MOST TOPICAL
STORIES ARE DONE LIVE.
BUT FEATURE-ISH, MORE
FEATURE-ISH PIECES ARE OFTEN
DONE IN PRE TAPES.
IT'S JUST THE LOGIC OF THE
WORLD, IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT.
YOU CANNOT CALL PEKING AT 4:00
IN THE MORNING AND EXPECT
TO GET A COHERENT
BROADCAST.
YOU CANNOT CALL NORTHERN
ENGLAND AND EXPECT TO GET
A GOOD LINE WITH THIS
GUY TELLING YOU ABOUT
WORM FARMING WHEN
IT'S 11 O’CLOCK HIS TIME,
AND HE'S GOT TO GET
UP IN THE MORNING.
SO SOME OF THE
THINGS ARE PRE TAPED.

The Host says IN THE BOOK, YOU'VE ORGANIZED
UNDER CERTAIN HEADINGS
SOME OF THE BEST
INTERVIEWS.
AND YOU SAY NO ONE HAS
WORKED ON THE SERIES,
AS IT HAPPENS
WITHOUT IT
HAVING HAD A RADICAL CHANGE.
SO I'M SURE YOU'VE LEARNED
A LOT FROM THE FIVE YEARS.
LET'S GO TO THE CONSPIRACY
CHAPTER, CONSPIRACY BUFFS.
WHO KILLED JOHN F. KENNEDY,
MARTIN LUTHER KING,
WAS THE CIA REALLY A WHOLE
CONSPIRATORIAL ORGANIZATION
TO GET RID OF SOME
OF THESE PEOPLE.
WHAT FROM ALL THOSE INTERVIEWS
AND CLOSE PROXIMITY
YOU'VE HAD TO THE
CONSPIRACY THEORIES,
WHAT INSIGHTS HAVE YOU
GATHERED, IF NOT CONCLUSIONS?

Barbara says I DON'T KNOW.
I KIND OF PLAY
IT DAY BY DAY.
I'VE KIND OF FACED, I
GUESS, THE POSSIBILITY
YOU CAN'T BE
CYNICAL ENOUGH.
I HAVE A NATURAL
CYNICISM.
A NATURAL SKEPTICISM.
I EXPECT THE WORST.
AND I'M ALWAYS PREPARING
MYSELF FOR THE WORST,
AND THAT WAY I'M
NOT DISAPPOINTED.
THAT'S THE WAY I'VE
ALWAYS LOOKED AT IT.
IF YOU EXPECT THE WORST
YOU'RE NOT DISAPPOINTED.
IF YOU GO AROUND LIKE A
POLLYANNA AND EXPECT THE BEST,
THEN YOU'RE ALWAYS GOING
TO BE DOOMED AND UNHAPPY.
THIS WAY, YOU CAN LOVE YOUR
FELLOW MAN BECAUSE HE'S
AS ROTTEN AS YOU KNOW HE IS,
AND YOU CAN LIVE WITH IT.
BUT I WOULD THINK THAT WHERE
YOU HAVE TO BE SKEPTICAL
IN WHY THINGS SEEM TO
BE THE WAY THEY ARE.
AN EXAMPLE: THE STORY
THAT CARLOS WAS AT
IN OLYMPICS IN MONTREAL.
THE STORY SMELLED.
I MEAN, YOU JUST,
AFTER A WHILE,
YOU KNOW A STORY
LIKE THAT SMELLS.
AND IF YOU ARE JUST A NAIVE
NEWS FOLLOWER YOU THINK,
OH, WOW, THAT'S TONIGHT'S
INJECTION OF EXCITEMENT.
BUT IT WAS A FAKE STORY.
SO I THINK I'VE JUST
LEARNED TO BE A LITTLE
MORE PERSPECTIVE ABOUT
WHY A THING SMELLS.
I ALWAYS KNEW WHEN IT SMELLED,
BUT NOW I'M HAVING A LITTLE
BETTER SENSE NOW OF WHY.

The Host says BUT DO YOU FEEL THIS NETWORK
CONSPIRATORIAL NETWORK
THAT MAY HAVE GOT JOHN F.
KENNEDY OUT OF THE WAY
WHEN IT WAS RUMOURED HE
HAD CHANGED HIS MIND
ABOUT ESCALATING
THE VIETNAM WAR?

Barbara says OH, NO, I THINK
THAT'S GARBAGE.
OH, YEAH.
YOU CAN TAKE PARANOIA INTO
THE REALM OF, YOU KNOW...

The Host says BUT YOU'RE STILL NOT DENYING
THAT THERE MAY BE SOMETHING...

Barbara continues BUT WHAT HAPPENS IS,
UNFORTUNATELY, IN THIS WORLD,
THERE'S JUST ENOUGH
TO MAKE YOU CYNICAL.
TO MAKE SOME OTHER NUT CASE
GO ABSOLUTELY BANANAS
ON A THEORY.

The Host says THAT TAKES US TO ANOTHER
CHAPTER IN THE BOOK ABOUT
MODERN RELIGIOUS DAY CULTS.
HARI KRISHNA, ALL
THAT KIND OF THING.
ANY INSIGHTS OR
CONCLUSIONS THERE?
OR WHY IN THE '70s...

Barbara says IT'S PROBABLY
ALREADY FADING.
NOW THAT WE'RE ALL
TALKING ABOUT PROBABLY
IS A SIGN IT'S
ALREADY ON THE WANE.
I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE
DIDN'T KNOW WHAT TO DO
WHEN THEY GOT UP
IN THE MORNING.
AND I THINK THE CULTS
GAVE THEM A REASON.

The Host says WOULD YOU PUT INTO THE CULTS
TRANSCENDENTAL MEDITATION AND-

Barbara says OH, FOR SURE,
ARE YOU KIDDING?

The Host continues ASSERTIVE TRAINING.

Barbara says OH, OF COURSE.
ANYTHING THAT MAKES MONEY BY
DEVELOPING YOUR PERSONALITY
WHILE IT'S DEVELOPING THE
OTHER GUY'S BANKBOOK IS A CULT.

The Host says YOU'RE VERY SUSPICIOUS
OF THEM ALL BECAUSE OF
THE MONEY MAKING
FORCES THAT ARE THERE?

Barbara says BECAUSE THEY ARE FEEDING
ON OUR NEED AND HUNGER
TO BE BETTER
THAN WE ARE.
AND OUR INABILITY TO
ACCEPT THE WAY WE ARE.
OUR NOTION THAT MAN IS
PERFECTIBLE IN THIS
SUPERFICIAL SENSE,
I THINK, IS ABSURD.
AND I THINK THEY
CAPITALIZE ON IT.
THE NOTION THAT YOU'VE
GOT UNHIDDEN TALENTS.
YOU KNOW, WHAT YOU
ARE IS WHAT YOU ARE.
THAT'S IT.
WHATEVER YOU ARE
RIGHT NOW.

The Host says SO YOU DON'T REALLY
THINK THEY CHANGE
ANYBODY FOR THE BETTER?

Barbara says OH, I GUESS A
FEW PEOPLE, SURE.
I COULD BE A DUMMY AND
SAY, NO, BLANKET NO, SURE,
THERE'S ENOUGH PEOPLE
IN THE WORLD THAT NEED
SOME COMPANIONSHIP.
THEY MIGHT JUST THRIVE ON THE
ATTENTION THEY GET THERE.
AND MORE POWER TO THEM.
IT'S LIKE ARTHUR
MURRAY DANCE LESSONS.
IF THE ATTENTION OF
THE DANCE INSTRUCTOR
LETS YOU GET THROUGH
LIFE, GO TO IT.

The Host says ACUPUNCTURE ALSO UNDER
THIS KIND OF THING?

Barbara says SO FAR I DO, YEAH.
SO FAR.
I THINK THAT'S
ON THE WANE, TOO.
WHEN WAS THE LAST
ACUPUNCTURE STORY YOU SAW?
YOU SEE, MILK IT, MILK
IT, MILK IT, LEAVE IT.

The Host says UFOs?

Barbara says YES?

The Host continues WHERE IS YOUR
BIAS THERE?
DO YOU THINK
THERE ARE-

Barbara says WELL, I HAVE HAD ONE
INTERVIEW IN THAT COLLECTION.

The host asks JOHN TAYLOR?

Barbara responds I THINK HE'S GOT IT.

The Host continues TELL THE STORY.
IT'S A GREAT
STORY IN THE BOOK.

Barbara says EVERYONE THINKS I'M
PUTTING THEM ON.
I THINK THIS MAN
HAS GOT SOMETHING.
HE THINKS THAT
PLANES ARE TESTED,
WHICH OBVIOUSLY THEY ARE, AND
HE THINKS REMOTELY PILOTED
VEHICLES ARE BEING TESTED
ALL OVER THE UNITED STATES,
PROBABLY OVER CANADA, AND
CERTAINLY OVER THE SOVIET UNION.
THESE ARE VEHICLES YOU
CAN CONTROL BY COMPUTER
AND LASER AND WHO
KNOWS WHAT.
I DON'T UNDERSTAND
THE SCIENCE OF IT.
HE THINKS MAYBE THIS IS WHAT
HE DOESN'T THINK THAT,
I THINK, MAYBE THAT'S
WHAT THEY ARE SEEING.
WE JUST DID AN INTERVIEW WITH
HIM ABOUT REMOTELY PILOTED
VEHICLES, AND THE KIND OF
THING THEY'D DONE IN VIETNAM.
YOU CAN SEND THESE THINGS,
LITTLE PLASTIC DISCKY LOOKING
THINGS, AND THEY TAKE
WONDERFUL PICTURES FOR YOU.
AND AS HE TALKED, I THOUGHT,
THAT COULD BE A UFO.
IT CERTAINLY ACCOUNTS
FOR THE QUANTITY OF THEM.
THE FACT THEY WOULD
HAVE TO FLY ALONG
STRAIGHT LINES AND PATHS.
THE FACT THEY'D BE IN THE
REMOTE COUNTRYSIDE WHERE
VERY FEW PEOPLE
WOULD SEE THEM.
WHY DO THE UFOs ALWAYS DROP
DOWN IN THE COUNTRYSIDE
WHERE THERE IS
ONLY ONE GUY, YOU KNOW?

The Host says NEVER AT AN ARGO FOOTBALL
GAME OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT.

Barbara continues WELL, THINK ABOUT YOUR
DAILY TRAVELS THROUGH LIFE.
ARE YOU EVER IN THIS REMOTE
MOVIELAND KIND OF LANDSCAPE
WHERE YOU ARE ALWAYS ALONE?
YOU NEVER HAVE A CAMERA.
YOU NEVER HAVE ANYONE
ELSE YOU CAN SAY,
HEY, GEORGE,
LOOK AT THAT.
WHY?

The Host says WHAT WAS REALLY
INTERESTING THERE,
AND IT BRINGS UP SOMETHING
THAT YOU LIKE IN INTERVIEWING.
WHEN I READ THE BOOK, YOU TOLD
THE JOHN TAYLOR INTERVIEW
WAS ABOUT THESE ESPIONAGE
PLANES OR WHATEVER,
AND IT WAS ONLY IN THE
COURSE OF THE INTERVIEW
HE BEGAN TO SOUND
LIKE A UFO INTERVIEW.
AND IT WAS A SURPRISE AND A
DELIGHT FOR BOTH OF YOU
WHEN YOU SUGGESTED
THIS COULD BE.

Barbara says I'M NOT SURE IT WAS A DELIGHT
FOR HIM BECAUSE I THINK
HE WANTED TO SELL HIS JANE'S
FIGHTING SHIPS YEARBOOK.
AND I DON'T KNOW
HOW THRILLED HE WAS,
BUT THAT'S NOT
MY PROBLEM.

The Host says SO THAT TAKES US ONTO BARBARA
FRUM, THE INTERVIEWER,
WHO LIKES SURPRISES.
I DON'T KNOW IF I'VE GOT ANY
FOR YOU, TONIGHT, BARBARA.
YOU SAY YOU NEITHER LIKE TO
ABUSE OR SEDUCE A GUEST.

Barbara says MM-HMM.

The Host continues WHY NOT?
MIKE WALLACE, FOR A
PERIOD, MADE A PRETTY GOOD
LIVING OUT OF IT.
HAVE YOU TONED DOWN?
WERE YOU MORE ABUSIVE OR
SEDUCTIVE IN THE PAST
THAN YOU ARE NOW?

Barbara says I DON'T THINK I'VE
TONED DOWN SO MUCH AS
I HOPE I'VE IMPROVED.
ANYONE WHO DOES IT LONG ENOUGH
HAS GOT TO GET BETTER AT IT,
OR HE OUGHT TO KILL
HIMSELF.
SO WHERE PEOPLE MIGHT THINK
IT'S AN ABUSIVE INTERVIEW,
IN FACT, IT'S JUST
A LESS COHERENT,
LESS PROFESSIONAL JOB THAT
YOU DO AT THE BEGINNING
THAN YOU CAN DO
LATER ON.
I THINK, TOO, WHEN I STARTED,
PEOPLE WEREN'T USED TO
WOMEN ASKING QUESTIONS ON
TELEVISION, BELIEVE IT OR NOT.
AND I THINK ANYTHING I SAID
IN THE VOICE THAT I HAVE,
SOUNDED DIFFERENT THAN WHAT
A MAN WOULD GET AWAY WITH
BECAUSE HE'S GOT
A BARITONE VOICE.
SO I THINK IT
WAS JUST THAT.
I DON'T THINK
I'VE TONED DOWN.
I THINK TO ABUSE
A GUEST, REALLY,
THE KNOCK AGAINST IT IS
THAT IT ISN'T PRODUCTIVE.
ALL THE OTHER THINGS WOULD
JUST BE RATIONALIZATION.
IT DOESN'T WORK.
IN FACT, IT WORKS
AGAINST THE INTERVIEWER.
AND IT WORKS AGAINST
THE AUDIENCE.
SO I THINK IT'S
ELIMINATED ON THAT GROUND.
SEDUCING I DON'T LIKE
BECAUSE IT'S PHONY.
IT GETS THE AUDIENCE BUSY
WATCHING WHAT WE ARE TOGETHER,
INSTEAD OF WHAT WE
ARE TALKING ABOUT.
WHO REALLY WANTS TO SEE
HOW YOU ARE TURNED ON
BY JEANETTE RENO OR
WHOEVER IS HERE?
WHO CARES ABOUT YOUR
SEX LIVE, YOU KNOW?
HANDLE THAT
OFF THE AIR.

The Host says IT'S NOT A TECHNIQUE,
SAYS BARBARA FRUM.
INTERVIEWING, WITH HER,
IT'S AN ATTITUDE.
WHAT'S THAT ATTITUDE
THAT YOU HAVE ABOUT WHAT
YOU ARE DOING, THE
PEOPLE THAT ARE THERE?
YOU DON'T LIKE TO SELF-ANALYZE
WHAT YOU ARE DOING.
I DON'T EITHER.
I HATE DISCUSSING WHAT IT
IS BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW.
BUT AN ATTITUDE.
IS IT AN ATTITUDE
ABOUT PEOPLE?
AN ATTITUDE...

Barbara says YOU KNOW THE
TERRIBLE THING IS,
AFTER A WHILE
YOU JUST DO IT.
ISN'T THAT TRUE?
YOU JUST DO IT.
YOU DON'T SIT AND THINK,
MY ATTITUDE TODAY IS...
THERE'S A CERTAIN JUST
SHEER EXPERIENCE THING
THAT JUST PUNCHES IN.
AND QUITE HONESTLY, YOU CAN
GO IN AND BE HALF DEAD
ON YOUR FEET, AND COMPLETELY
EXHAUSTED OR PLAYED OUT,
AND YOU'LL DO IT.
YOU'LL JUST GET THROUGH IT
ON SHEER EXPERIENCE LEVEL.
BEYOND THAT, I CARE
ABOUT THE CONTENT.
I CARE ABOUT
WHAT'S SAID.
I CAN'T BEAR A LIE.
I JUST CAN'T BEAR IT.
I JUST CAN'T BEAR IT.
SO IF SOMETHING IN THERE
DOESN'T SOUND RIGHT,
I'LL PURSUE THAT.
PURSUE THAT.
SO I SUPPOSE
THAT'S AN ATTITUDE.

The Host says HARD TO KNOW A LIE THOUGH
OFTEN TIMES, ISN'T IT?

Barbara continues I DON'T MEAN A
LIE IN THAT SENSE.
I MEAN ANYTHING THAT -
I'M GLAD YOU PICKED ME UP
ON THAT POINT BECAUSE
I NEVER REALLY
USED THE WORDS
PROPERLY MAYBE.
WHEN SOMEONE SAYS
THEY THINK, OH,
A SENATOR THINKS THE UNITED
STATES IS NOT INTERFERING
IN SOUTHERN AFRICA, HE'S NOT
TELLING ME A LIE SO MUCH
AS HE'S TELLING ME WHAT
HE WOULD LIKE TO BELIEVE,
WHAT HE WOULD LIKE THE
ELECTORATE TO BELIEVE, MAYBE.
SO THEN THE FUN IS TO PROBE,
BUT NOT TO SAY, COME ON, MAC,
TELL ME THE TRUTH, BUT RATHER
DEAL A DECK OF EVIDENCE.
AND TO TEST WHAT HE SAYS
AGAINST WHAT YOU KNOW.
AND OF COURSE WHAT THAT
INVOLVES IS YOU MUST
CONSTANTLY KNOW MORE AND MORE
AND MORE IN ORDER TO DEAL
A BETTER AND BETTER
DECK AT THIS GUY.

The Host says RIGHT.
THE INTERVIEWER SHOULD
NOT BECOME THE ISSUE,
IT FOLLOWS FROM
WHAT YOU'VE SAID.

Barbara interrupts and says UNLESS THE STORY IS THAT.
SOMETIMES THE
INTERVIEWEE IS THE STORY.
IF EVEL KNIEVEL WANTS
TO JUMP OVER A CANYON.

The Host says NO, I WAS THINKING
THE INTERVIEWER
MUSTN'T BECOME THE ISSUE.

Barbara says OH, FOR SURE, NOT.
FOR SURE NOT.

The Host continues AND SOMEONE WHO INTERVIEWS
ON A DAILY BASIS SHOULD NOT
IMPOSE THEIR OWN
OPINIONS ON THE PUBLIC.

Barbara says YOU ARE DOING IT
ANYWAY, YOU SEE?
SO YOU DON'T HAVE
TO DO IT DIRECTLY.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO BANG AWAY
AND TURN TO THE CAMERA
AND SAY, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,
I REALLY FEEL ABOUT THIS ISSUE,
I THINK YOU OUGHT TO KNOW.
THEY KNOW.
THEY KNOW YOU.
IT'S LIKE READING ANY
GOOD MOVIE REVIEWER.
AFTER A WHILE, YOU LIKE HIS
COPY BECAUSE YOU KNOW HIM,
BETWEEN THE LINES
ENOUGH TO KNOW, GEE,
I WONDER IF I'D
LIKE THAT FILM.

The Host says YOU DESCRIBED YOURSELF
VERY BRIEFLY YEARS AGO
AS A KIND OF
THRILL SEEKER
OR THOUGHT MAYBE YOU
WERE A THRILL SEEKER.
IS THERE AN APPETITE
THERE FOR THE SENSATIONAL?

Barbara says OH, I GUESS, SURE.
SURE.

The Host continues DO YOU FIGHT IT?

Barbara says NO.

The Host says LET IT GO?

Barbara says WHY?
'COURSE.
MY GOD, LIFE'S SO BORING.
OF COURSE.
WHY WOULD YOU FIGHT IT?
IF SANDRA GOOD COMES ON THE
AIR, THIS IS THE ROOMMATE,
AS YOU KNOW, OF THE GIRL WHO
TRIED TO KILL GERALD FORD.
THAT'S EXCITING.
THAT'S EXCITING.
SHE ACCUSED ME IN
THIS INTERVIEW
OF BEING A
THRILL SEEKER.
I DIDN'T HAVE TO
SEEK THE THRILLS.
HER ROOMMATE HAD JUST
TRIED TO KILL GERALD FORD.
NOW, I MEAN, WHY NOT GET
SOME THRILL OUT OF THAT?
I WAS ABSOLUTELY
CHARGED UP.
I COULDN'T COME DOWN FOR
FOUR HOURS AFTER THAT.
I WAS SCARED.
I WAS ACTUALLY FRIGHTENED
TALKING TO HER.
AS YOU READ WHAT SHE
SAYS AND WHAT I SAID,
YOU CAN ACTUALLY
SEE MY TERROR.
BECAUSE EVERY
TIME I GO AT HER,
I DON'T KNOW IF SHE'S
GOING TO HANG UP.

The Host says RIGHT.

Barbara says THAT'S EXCITING.

The Host continues ONE CRITIC SAID
OF YOU, BARBARA,
THAT A COUPLE OF SECONDS
INTO THE INTERVIEW
WE KNOW WHAT IT IS
YOU WANT TO HEAR.
AND WHEN IT BECOMES OBVIOUS
TO YOU THAT YOU ARE
NOT GOING TO HEAR IT, THEN
YOU DON'T LISTEN ANYMORE.
YOU'RE NOT INTERESTED.

Barbara says REALLY?
I NEVER READ THAT.
OKAY, I BELIEVE YOU IF
YOU SAY SOMEBODY SAID IT.
I NEVER READ IT.

The Host says WELL, THEY SAID
SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

Barbara says THAT I STOP LISTENING?

The Host continues NO, END OF INTERVIEW.
THE UNITED STATES IS
INVOLVED IN CUBA
IS WHAT BARBARA'S
ASSUMPTION IS.
AND AS SHE TRIES TO HEAR
THAT FROM HER SENATOR
ON THE PHONE, AND HE
SAYS, IT'S NOT, NO,
I DON'T THINK THAT'S -
THEN WE MOVE ON
TO ANOTHER INTERVIEW.

Barbara says I DON'T THINK
THAT'S VALID.
NO.

The Host says BARBARA FRUM
THE PERSON.

Barbara says OKAY.

The Host continues MUCH DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
THE PUBLIC BARBARA
AND THE PRIVATE BARBARA?

Barbara says I DON'T THINK SO.

The host asks NO?
NOT REALLY?
YOU'RE CONSTANTLY SEARCHING
FOR TRUTH IN YOUR PRIVATE LIFE?

Barbara responds SOMETIMES AT PARTIES
PEOPLE SAY, HEY,
YOU'RE INTERVIEWING ME.
I SUPPOSE THAT'S AS GOOD A
SIGNAL AS ANY THAT I'M THE SAME.
BUT I'M NOT, I'M NOT WALKING
AROUND THE WORLD ASKING
QUESTIONS ALL DAY LONG.
I'M NOT AT ALL.

The Host says BORN FROM A RELATIVELY WEALTHY
FAMILY IN NIAGARA FALLS,
SO REALLY HAVE NEVER
NEEDED THE MONEY.
AND WITH THAT KIND OF
CUSHION, NOT HAVING TO WORK,
IT'S ALLOWED YOU TO DO, NEVER
FORCED YOU TO DO THINGS
YOU WOULDN'T DO OR
DON'T APPROVE OF.
CAN YOU LIST ANYTHING YOU
DON'T REALLY APPROVE OF?

Barbara says I DON'T APPROVE
OF BEING BORED.
SO I WOULDN'T DO
ANYTHING THAT WAS BORING.
THAT KIND OF THING.
I'VE ALWAYS FELT I
HAD A CERTAIN FREEDOM,
AND IF I DIDN'T EXERCISE
IT, HOW COULD YOU EXPECT
ANYBODY TO EXERCISE IT?

A slate on screen reads ‘Barbara Frum.’

Barbara continues HOW COULD I ASK SOMEONE TO
DO SOMETHING ON PRINCIPLE
IF I WOULDN'T DO
SOMETHING ON PRINCIPLE.
IF I HAD THAT FREEDOM, IF I
HAD THAT ECONOMIC SECURITY,
I HAD TO USE IT, AND NOT
JUST BE A DOLLAR SLAVE,
OR A DRUDGE AT A
JOB THAT I DESPISED.
I'VE ALWAYS LEFT JOBS WHERE
PEOPLE ARE UNHAPPY WITH ME.
I DON'T SEE THE POINT
IN WORKING WITH PEOPLE
WHO DON'T LIKE YOU,
AND YOU DON'T LIKE BACK.
SO THINGS LIKE THAT.

The Host says YOU'VE NEVER
BEEN A JOINER.
NEVER IDENTIFIED YOURSELF WITH
ANY SORT OF ORGANIZATION
OR ESTABLISHMENT.
ANY REASON FOR THAT?

Barbara says I DON'T KNOW.

The Host continues IT'S JUST NOT YOU.

Barbara says AFTER A WHILE, YOU ONLY
ANALYZE THESE THINGS
IN RETROSPECT.
YOU SUDDENLY LOOK
BACK AND SAY, HEY,
I'M WHATEVER AGE I
AM, AND LOOK AT THAT,
I HAVEN'T JOINED
ANYTHING.
THERE MUST BE A
PATTERN HERE.

The Host says SOME OF THE ARDOUR YOU
ONCE FELT FOR THE WOMEN'S
LIBERATION MOVEMENT
HAS WANED.

Barbara says I FOUND THAT VERY,
VERY DIFFICULT,
THAT PARTICULAR
CHAPTER TO DO.
BECAUSE THIS WAS ONE OF THE
EXPECTATIONS THAT BARBARA FRUM
WOULD HAVE SOMETHING
MARVELLOUS TO SAY ABOUT
THE WOMEN'S MOVEMENT, AND
ALL KINDS OF WOMEN'S ISSUES.
AND I SAT AND SAT AND
THOUGHT AND THOUGHT,
AND REALIZED I HAD
NOTHING TO SAY.
I HAD FELT SO MUCH PASSION IN
THE PREVIOUS FIVE OR SIX
OR SEVEN YEARS THAT IT
SEEMED TO HAVE JUST
BURNED OFF OR SOMETHING.
MAYBE IT'LL COME BACK.
I'M NOT SAYING THE
FEELINGS WON'T COME BACK.
I'M NOT A PATSY, EITHER.
I'M NOT SAYING THAT I WILL NOT
CARE ABOUT ANY WOMEN'S ISSUE,
OR WILL NOT FIGHT IT
SORT OF ISSUE BY ISSUE,
BATTLE BY BATTLE.
BUT THAT SORT OF GENERAL
FERVOUR THAT I USED TO FEEL,
I'M AFRAID IT'S GONE.
I THINK IT'S GONE
IN ALL WOMEN.
I REALLY DO.
IT'S A DEAD ISSUE.
YOU KNOW, AGAIN, LOOK AT WHAT
YOU TALK ABOUT AT PARTIES NOW.

The Host says BARBARA, I'M JUST
WONDERING WHAT'S YOUR
PROXIMITY TO THE MEDIA.
IF IT'S A FACTOR IN
THAT KIND OF THING,
THIS OVERSATURATION?
AND MIND YOU, IF WE'RE
OVERSATURATED OUT THERE
WATCHING THE SET,
YOU ARE VERY, VERY
CLOSE TO THE NEWS AND EVERY
FAD THAT'S HAPPENING,
EVERYTHING THAT'S GOING.
I WONDER, DOES IT PUSH
SOMEONE TOWARDS FICKLENESS?
YOU KNOW, NOTHING'S AS
OLD AS YESTERDAY'S NEWS.
WHAT'S NEW?
AND I WONDER IF CONTINUITY AND
THE KIND OF PASSIONATE PEOPLE
THAT STAY WITH THE THING
AND DO THE SAME THING EVERY
MORNING UNTIL FINALLY 15 YEARS
LATER, THEY ARE ABLE TO SAY,
WE TOOK A STEP
FOR SOCIETY.
DO YOU THINK PEOPLE IN
THE MEDIA, YOU KNOW,
THAT SATURATION
NEUTRALIZES THAT?

Barbara says WELL, THERE'S TWO
THINGS IN THERE.
THE BEST STATEMENT I EVER READ
ABOUT THIS PARTICULAR SENSE
OF WHERE THE MOOD IS WAS
WRITTEN BY AN AMERICAN
EDITOR OF A MAGAZINE.
AND I MUST CONFESS, COME TO
SEE MYSELF ON AIR AS A KIND
OF EDITOR, RATHER THAN JUST A
QUESTION-AND-ANSWER PERSON
HELPING THE GUY
GET HIS STORY OUT.
HE SAID, YOU MUST BE
JUST A LITTLE AHEAD,
OBVIOUSLY, NEVER BEHIND.
IF YOU ARE BEHIND PUBLIC
TASTE AND PUBLIC INTEREST,
YOU'RE NOT GOING TO BE A VERY
SUCCESSFUL BROADCASTER
OR JOURNALIST, BUT YOU MUST
BE JUST A LITTLE AHEAD.
AND I THINK THAT YOU MUST BE
JUST THAT LITTLE BIT ATTUNE.
YOU KNOW A THING IS NEW AND
HOT OR FADING AND GOING,
BEFORE OTHER PEOPLE DO.
OR YOU WON'T BE IN
TOUCH WITH THEM.
YESTERDAY, WE DID AN INTERVIEW
ABOUT THE LOCH NESS MONSTER.
WHEN IT WAS FINISHED,
I SAID TO THE PEOPLE,
PLEASE DON'T BRING
ME ANY MORE NESSIE.
I THINK THAT'S JUST DONE.
I THINK IT'S FINISHED.

The Host says I WONDER OF THE STAYING
POWER, THEN, YOU KNOW?
IF THE MEDIA, CLOSE PROXIMITY
THAT YOU HAVE TO THE MEDIA
NEUTRALIZES ANY
FORCE FOR YOU TO -
I'M WONDERING ABOUT
THE WANING ARDOUR
OF THE LIBERATION MOVEMENT.
THE FACT YOU NEVER
JOIN ORGANIZATIONS.

Barbara asks YOU MEAN, HAVE I
BECOME WHAT?

The host responds YOU ARE A DAY-TO-DAY
PERSON.
YOU GET HYPED UP ON
WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW.

Barbara says OH, SURE.
I MEAN, I DON'T THINK
I'M SHALLOW, EITHER.
WHAT YOU'RE SUGGESTING IS WE
ARE JUST SOME KIND OF
PARASITE CLASS, YOU KNOW, WHO
JUST FEEDS ON SENSATIONAL NEWS
IN ORDER TO GIVE
PEOPLE KICKS.
I DON'T THINK SO.
I THINK YOU MUST BE ATTUNED
OR THEY WON'T LISTEN TO YOU.
AN EDITOR OF A
NEWSPAPER OR MAGAZINE,
OR AN EDITOR OF A RADIO
PROGRAM OR TELEVISION
PROGRAM, IF YOU'RE NOT HERE
TALKING TO PEOPLE AT NIGHT
THAT YOUR GUESTS WANT
TO HEAR YOU TALK TO,
THEY AIN'T GONNA
BE THERE.
AND THAT MEANS YOU
EITHER ARE TUNED IN
OR YOU ARE NOT TUNED IN.
AND YOUR AUDIENCE
WILL TELL YOU.

The Host says LET'S PUT THE
QUESTION ANOTHER WAY.
NOT REGARDING PROFESSIONALS
LIKE YOURSELF IN THE BUSINESS,
BUT THE WHOLE SOCIETY
THAT'S NOW TUNED IN
TO THE ELECTRONIC MEDIA.
DO YOU THINK, THE WAY WE
SATURATE, THE WAY WE ZERO IN,
AND LEAVE IT AND MOVE
ON TO SOMETHING ELSE,
COULD PARTIALLY EXPLAIN HOW
THE WORLD AND THE FADS
SEEM TO BE CHANGING
EVERY 48 HOURS?
AND WE SEEM TO BE GOING
AROUND IN CIRCLES
IN PERIODS OF FIVE
OR SIX YEARS?

Barbara says ON THE OTHER HAND, WE'VE
CREATED MOVEMENTS, TOO.
I THINK WE'RE GUILTY ON BOTH
THOSE COUNTS, SURE, SURE.
THIS ISN'T A PERFECT
WORLD, YOU KNOW?
THIS ISN'T THE
PRIESTHOOD OR SOMETHING.
I DON'T THINK JOURNALISTS
ARE SOME PRIEST CLASS.
AND ANYWAY, PRIESTS CAN
BE CORRUPT, AS WELL.
I MEAN, EVERYONE
IS A SINNER.
YOU DO THE
BEST YOU CAN.
I THINK THESE
ARE VERY DEEP ISSUES.
AND ANY ONE OF THESE QUESTIONS
WE COULD ARGUE THREE,
FOUR HOURS INTO
THE NIGHT ABOUT.
I DON'T THINK THEY ARE CAPABLE
OF KIND OF DEFINITE ANSWERS.
I THINK THE MEDIA CREATED
A LOT OF MOVEMENTS
IN THE '60s, FOR EXAMPLE.
ANYONE WHO WENT OUT AND
BURNED DOWN A BUILDING
WAS GOING TO GET
SOME TELEVISION.
ANYONE WHO HIJACKED A
PLANE WAS GOING TO GET
SOME TELEVISION.
YOU GET INTO THAT DICEY
AREA ABOUT DO YOU
NOT REPORT HIJACKINGS,
WILL THEY THEN NOT HAPPEN?
I MEAN, THESE ARE DEEP,
PHILOSOPHICAL QUESTIONS.

The Host says BARBARA, EVERYBODY YOU SAY
THAT'S BEEN IDENTIFIED WITH
AS IT HAPPENS, IT HAS
CHANGED THEM RADICALLY,
AND IN SOME WAYS
PERMANENTLY.
HOW HAS IT CHANGED YOU?

Barbara says I TALK MUCH FASTER.
I LIVE MUCH FASTER.
I THINK I'M BURNING
OUT SOMETIMES.
I THINK I THINK FASTER.
AND I HARDLY CAN TALK ON
THE PHONE ANYMORE AT HOME.
THAT'S THE ONE GOOD THING
ABOUT THIS WHOLE THING.
MY KIDS USED TO SAY IT WAS
A NATURAL CASTING FOR ME
BECAUSE I WAS TALKING ON THE
PHONE ANYWAY, ALL THE TIME,
AT LEAST I WAS
GETTING PAID FOR IT.
BUT IT'S GOTTEN TO THE POINT
NOW WHERE IN THE EVENING
IF THE PHONE RINGS,
I'M JUST SHATTERED.
I CAN'T BEAR
IT ANYMORE.

The Host says CAN YOU SEE YOURSELF
FACING THIS DAILY PRESSURE
FOR MANY YEARS TO COME?
OR IS IT LIKE JOHNNY
CARSON, SOMETHING YOU CAN
ONLY HANDLE FOR A WHILE?

Barbara concludes I THINK I'M JUST GOING
TO DO IT AS IT COMES.

Watch: Interview: Barbara Frum