My appearance on ‘Dublin Talks’

I was emailed yesterday by Jeremy Dixon, producer for yet another Irish talk radio show called Dublin Talks, hosted by Adrian Kennedy. I don’t know why the Irish find me so fascinating but anyway, the email was cordial enough and I agreed to do an interview. I’ve done enough of these things now that I pretty much know how they generally go, and my experiences have largely been positive, or at least neutral. Here was my email in response to Dixon’s interview request.

Jeremy,
Sure, I’ll be interviewed for your show. Let’s see, I’m in the Central Time Zone, and the best time to interview me is between 1 PM and 6 PM my time. I think you guys are six hours ahead, so that would be evening for you.
Take care,
Todd
To which I received the following reply:
Thanks for getting back to me so soon. How does 1pm tomorrow suit you?

I told him that would be fine. Now, you should know that I am a night owl who usually goes to bed at 2 AM and wakes around 10-11 AM. Last night I slept roughly anyway because of some concerns over my pipes freezing, since I can’t afford to have them repaired if they freeze and bust. I was just beginning to finally drift off when my phone began ringing . . . at 6:30 AM this morning. I ignored it, hoping the callers would give up, but it turned out to be Dixon, and he proceeded to call me off and on for the next hour and a half. Finally realizing there was no hope of getting back to sleep, I got up at 8 AM and answered the phone, figuring that he just wanted to confirm the later interview. How naive I was. We soon went live and I just went with it. What the hell, right? Beforehand, Dixon says, “Oh, I probably woke you up, huh?”

“No, it’s fine,” I say. “I just woke up to see a bunch of calls on my phone.”

I am a little irritable now, but I remained pleasant. And then the interview with Kennedy begins. Standard questions initially, but then it quickly veers off into Kennedy playing off of his callers, who are of course responding with vile threats and insults (never heard on-air). I’m used to that by now, but Kennedy asks me, “Do you understand the hatred and disgust people have for you?” I answer, pleasantly, something to the effect of, “I understand the hatred directed at those who actually abuse children, but much less so those who just have the thoughts and feelings.” Apparently unsatisfied with this, Kennedy circles back around again later, continuing with this line of questioning, as if my answer would be different the second time. It wasn’t.

Please keep in mind that I was extremely tired and not particularly alert, though that was no doubt part of Dixon and Kennedy’s plan all along. The entire interview I kept getting the impression that they were trying to get my goat, to make me snap. If so, then I’m afraid I left them terribly disappointed. I’m sure, given how I actually felt, my replies weren’t always the most intuitive or sympathetic, but I think, all in all, I fairly well stumped their attempts to get me on the proverbial ropes. Needless to say, not my favorite radio experience. Niall Boylan was soooooo much more professional than Dixon and Kennedy.

And for future reference for anyone who wants to interview me: if you aren’t willing to stick to the agreed to plan, then sorry, I don’t have time to appear on your show. This is not a job for me; I don’t get paid to do it. I do this in the name of advancing the dialogue between society and people like me. From this point on, if you aren’t going to offer me even the simple courtesy of adhering to the parameters we both agree to beforehand, then I am simply going to ignore you. 🙂

6 thoughts on “My appearance on ‘Dublin Talks’

  1. Well, they said 1PM. If it’s 1PM THEIR time, then it would be 7AM your time. So maybe it was a matter of lack of clarification.

    BTW, is there a link?

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  2. Todd’s email to them says:

    >” the best time to interview me is between 1 PM and 6 PM my time”

    I suppose he could have added something like ‘which would be 7p.m. to 1 p.m. your time’ (or whatever it would be…), but still, they have been either been sneakily dishonest or just damn careless in getting times wrong like that.

    I think there will be a lot of reporters who will try to ‘trick’ paedophiles willing to give interviews, do things to unsettle them, or set them up with situations that are unfair – Tom O’Carroll got ‘done over’ by the oleaginous Ross Coulthard earlier this year for Australian ’60 Minutes’.

    But it sounds like Todd did well to ‘hold his line’ and not get lured into being argumentative or petulant. And I guess it’s all good experience.

    I know you’ve got a message to get across and don’t want to jeopardize such opportunities – but I think paedophiles who are interacting with the media need to insist on high standards from reporters, producers and researchers – I mean if these were just anonymous vox-pops then a little sloppiness on the reporters’ part is excusable – but not on serious issues, not when you are doing THEM a favour by appearing, and not when it’s you putting your safety and reputation on the line.

    I guess that one must be ready to say ‘please call me back at the time we agreed’, or to walk out of an interview if you realise you’ve been manipulated into an unfair situation, or to do the politician’s trick of knowing exactly what you wish to say and turning each question into an opportunity for saying that.

    (the link to the Niall Boylan show still isn’t working…)

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  3. I know we disagree on a lot of issues, Todd, but I’ve just listened to the Dublin broadcast and I must say that you come across really well: you’ve got a good voice for radio, and you remain calm, polite, thoughtful in the face of the nastiness and stupidity that’s coming at you from the other side. It’s also good that you refuse to give simple answers to complex questions.

    The listeners’ reactions? – well, given their brutality and nastiness I think that it’s clear that they are the ‘monsters’ not you – the polite, intelligent and dignified manner in which you respond to such brutality and ignorance does you credit and, I’m sure, it will provoke some emotional shift and reflection in a lot of listeners – Susan’s comment at the end testifies to this.

    And the same thing comes back again and again – people HATE the idea of a non-offending paedophile even more than an offending paedophile – it creates too much dissonance.

    Don’t be discouraged by what might feel to you like a bad experience – you came out on top in this interview. You are doing well.

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