IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Actress Clarkson weighs in on journalism

After role in 'Good Night and Good Luck' she has new respect for profession
/ Source:

It's been a pretty tough season for journalists, coverage of Hurricane Katrina brought to light the suffering of communities that usually go unnoticed, and the government's lame response to that tragedy, the press got points for that.

But this week's news about legendary reporter Bob Woodward hiding information in the CIA leak case has some people thinking reporters are in cahoots with the White House, fairly or unfairly. 

The new movie, "Good Night and Good Luck," raises important questions about the role of the press in a free society. 

On Thursday, Patricia Clarkson, who plays a radio and television producer in that film, joined MSNBC's Tucker Carlson on 'The Situation' to discuss the media, 'Good Night and Good Luck' as well as a couple of her upcoming films, including 'The Dying Gaul.'

To read an excerpt of their conversation, continue to the text below. To watch the video, click on the "Launch" button to the right. 

TUCKER CARLSON:  So everyone is down on journalism, including me sometimes.  Did this movie, "Good Night and Good Luck," and working in the movie change your view of journalism?

PATRICIA CLARKSON, ACTRESS:  Well, no, because, I've learned more about Murrow, of course, and I do think he is a remarkable man and heroic.  But I'm a news junkie, and so I've always loved the news, loved journalists.  I think there are remarkable journalists out there today. 

CARLSON:  Good for you. 

CLARKSON:  I watch all the channels.  I can name everyone everywhere. 

CARLSON:  Really?


CARLSON:  So you think it's still an honorable business to go into? 

CLARKSON:  Oh, I think it's still truly one of the most glorious professions in our country. 

CARLSON:  If there was a reporters union, I hope you'd be the spokesman for it.  We could use you. 

CLARKSON:  I think in my next life, I'd like to be a journalist.  I don't know that I'd be very good, because I think you have to be truly objective, have true objectivity at times, and I'm too emotional and maybe that's why I'm an actress.  But I think of the men and women who are covering Iraq, I think how the journalists stepped up to Katrina ...  I mean, whew. 

CARLSON:  Yes, what did you think of that?  You're from New Orleans.  Your mother is a city council woman there, who I've met, a very charming person.  What did you think of the press coverage from New Orleans, Katrina?

CLARKSON:  I thought it was excellent.  I thought people really stepped up and ... there was great coverage, because it was rough and tumble. 


CLARKSON:  I mean, I don't think people shied away.  I think people were willing to cover people in true distress, truly neglected, and I think for the first time I saw true outrage in journalists' eyes ... and in their voices, about what was happening. 

CARLSON:  Most of the reporters, obviously including me, who were down there, are not from the area.  They're not from the South.  A lot of them have Ivy League degrees.  They're from the northeast.  And it's a self-selected group, journalists.  I wonder if you thought the coverage of the region, the Gulf region, was fair, were there stereotypes that you thought were misleading?

CLARKSON:  No, I mean, I felt the coverage was right.  I mean, I felt everyone was depicted, and I do think, yes, in a disaster of that scale, people are going to be left behind.  The poor, the elderly, the disabled, and I think that became very apparent ... And it was everywhere.  Day in, and day out.  And it was great for our country to see that. 

CARLSON:  I agree, when there are thousands of poor people standing under a bridge, it's kind of hard. 

CLARKSON:  And it was a great-yes, it was a great moment. 

CARLSON:  You have two movies out, which is amazing to me.  "The Dying Gaul" is one of them, received less publicity maybe nationally, but the reviews have been just excellent.  What's it about?

CLARKSON:  It's a rather dark emotional thriller.  With Hollywood as the backdrop, and it's a triangle between a rather young, naive screenwriter, played by Peter Sarsgaard, and a studio executive, played by Campbell Scott, and his Hollywood wife, played by me.  And it's almost Jacobean.  It's love and revenge, and hate and betrayal. 

CARLSON:  Is the studio executive evil?


CARLSON:  So it's not really true to life then.

CLARKSON:  He's complicated, but that's the thing.  No, I mean, what I think, it's a testament to Craig Lucas' writing and directing, is that ... to have these Hollywood characters as caricatures, it's shooting fish in a barrel. 

CARLSON:  Yes, it is.

CLARKSON:  These are true ... they're flesh and blood characters, and Hollywood, is, I think, simply the backdrop for something much more involved and probing about human emotions, and but it's very sexy, and there's nothing out there like it right now.  It's-it's very hot. 

CARLSON:  Sexy and dark. 

CLARKSON:  Sexy.  And my old-fashioned Southern family will just love it. 

CARLSON:  And you're in it.  I'll see it.  "The Dying Gaul."

CLARKSON:  I'm in a white bikini. 

CARLSON:  I hope it becomes huge.  Patricia Clarkson, excellent actress.  Thank you very much. 

CLARKSON:  Thank you so much.  Thank you.