Do journalists always have to be aggressive when interviewing people? Many friends have asked me this question. My answer is always the same. Being aggressive is part of a reporter's job. So is being curious about the issues reporters cover. But there is a big difference between being aggressive in a fair and polite way and being aggressive in a rude way. To be aggressive used this way means to be very forceful. But it can also mean being hostile. Some journalists believe that to be good at their jobs they must be aggressive in a hostile way when asking questions.
They want to tie into knots the people they interview with hostile questions. To tie people into knots means to confuse them and make them unable to explain something clearly. During my time as a TV host some people said I liked to tie into knots the people I interviewed. Whenever people tell me that, I always say I beg to differ. To beg to differ means to disagree in a polite way. I was aggressive when questioning guests on my TV show, but I took pains to be polite even when guests avoided giving me a direct answer. To take pains means to try very hard to do something.
I took pains to be polite and asked the question again when guests didn’t give me a straight answer because it’s pointless to be hostile. Guests will likely never go back to a TV show, and others may never agree to be guests, if they feel the host is too hostile, unfair, or rude. No guest wants to be tied into knots.
記者訪問人的時候，是否總是必須進取、挑釁的（aggressive）？許多朋友都曾問過我這道問題。我的回答總是一樣的：積極進取（aggressive）是做記者的職責之一。同樣，記者亦要對所報道的議題懷有好奇心。然而，公道而有禮的進取（aggressive），與粗魯無禮的咄咄逼人（aggressive），還是有很大的差別。在這裏，to be aggressive是指非常強硬激烈的，但它也可以解作懷有敵意、具侵略性的。有些記者相信，要做好自己的本分，他們就必須以不友善的方式，挑釁進取地（aggressive）問問題。
他們訪問人時，想以懷有敵意的問題使受訪者 tie into knots——to tie people into knots 是指令人感到困惑，又或令他們緊張得舌頭打結，不能清晰地解釋某事情。我做電視節目主持期間，有些人說我喜歡把我訪問的人弄糊塗（tie into knots）。每當有人這樣跟我說，我都總是說 I beg to differ。To beg to differ即「恕難苟同」。確實，我在電視節目上問嘉賓問題時，相當積極進取（aggressive），但我已極力（took pains）保持有禮，即使嘉賓迴避給予直接的回應。To take pains意指費盡苦心、不厭其煩地做某件事情。
我極力（took pains）保持有禮，當嘉賓沒有給我直截了當的答覆時，我會重複提問那道問題，因為對對方不友善或抱持敵意，是毫無意義的。如果嘉賓覺得主持人太有敵意、不公允，甚或粗魯無禮，他們便很可能從此以後不再亮相電視節目，其他人也或許永不願意當嘉賓了。沒有嘉賓會想被弄得頭昏腦脹、舌頭打結的（tied into knots）。