Last week Noam Dworman of Comedy Cellar USA, on his Live at the Table podcast, interviewed Washington Post columnist Philip Bump. It was a debate, with Bump invited because he’s “most associated with pouring cold water on the Hunter Biden story,” as Noam put it.
The show went viral as Bump, semi-reprising the performance of Russiagate champion and Guardian reporter Luke Harding walking on an interview with Aaron Mate, left abruptly after conceding Hunter’s line, “unlike pop, I won’t make you give me half your salary” was evidence. To be fair the show had run long, but Bump insisted earlier that there was “no evidence” of wrongdoing on Joe Biden’s part, so it wasn’t a timely exit — not that I’m unfamiliar with interviews that go sideways.
I know Noam and my name got dragged into this somewhat absurdly (Bump said I had “an agenda,” as Noam brought up tapes between Petro Poroshenko and Joe Biden I’d referenced), but didn’t want to say anything. Then a subsequent show also went sideways, for much the same reason. More on that in a moment. Back to Bump v. Dworman:
Many exchanges in the podcast stand out, not in a good way. Bump repeatedly tells Noam his problem is that he’s not accepting his, Bump’s, versions of things. At about the 56-minute mark, Bump chides Noam for bringing up things that have been “debunked.” When Noam asks, “What’s been debunked?” Bump says, “I’ve written about this!” He adds, “It’s been debunked in the sense that I’ve already addressed this, and presented the counter-arguments to it.”
At about 1:05 in the video above, Noam brings up “the issue of the press. The press actually bothers me more than Joe Biden…” To which Bump interjects [emphasis mine]: “But you don’t listen to the press. I’m sitting here and telling you you’re wrong about these things and you don’t listen.” About five minutes later Noam again brings up media, and Bump says, “But again, you’re attacking the press, because you refuse to listen to what we’re saying.”
Nearly an hour into the show Bump began complaining he’d been set up, and I know what he was thinking, having of course also been in the position of being invited to an interview with someone who perhaps wants to make an ass of you. I actually don’t think that’s Noam’s game, but even if it were, the answer isn’t to keep repeating, “How can we talk when you keep insisting I get down from this high horse I’m on?”
Bump acts like he and his paper haven’t gotten all sorts of things wrong in recent years, implicitly rejecting the notion that people like Noam have reason to question anything “already addressed” by papers like the Post. If you need an explanation for declining ratings and circulation of mainstream press outlets, this vibe is it.