Listening In preview: James Brown

MEGAN BASHAM, HOST: Next up on The World and Everything in It: A preview of this week’s Listening In.

NICK EICHER, HOST: Journalist and sportscaster James Brown spent the last 30 years at Fox and CBS. He’s anchored sports coverage and contributed to news programs. But more importantly, he’s a committed Christian who’s not shy about sharing his faith.

In this conversation with James Brown, WORLD’s Warren Smith asks about journalism and one of Brown’s most memorable interviews.

WARREN SMITH: You are one of the few sportscasters that in fact has made a pretty strong reputation for himself as a journalist. You contribute to 60 Minutes, you contribute to Real Sports. You’ve asked some tough questions of some well-known people. I think, for example, of Michael Vick and the 60 Minutes interview that you did with him. Can you talk a little bit about that part of your career, both as a sportscaster but also what your philosophy is towards journalism generally?

JAMES BROWN: Well, first of all, I try to make sure that I adhere to journalistic principles, Warren, and that is to be, as best as anyone can be, to ask the questions to elicit answers so that the public can make up its mind. I am not in the business of trying to make a reputation for myself, nor am I trying to engage in hyperbole or where I’m trying to make myself the star, you know. I want to ask tough questions. And you mentioned Michael Vick. I went to visit him when he was in prison. And the reason I went after the interview—and I know everybody was going after him—I asked the question, Michael, I heard you say that you wanted, that you realized you made a terrible mistake, that you wanted to get back to your faith foundation. If that’s what you’re looking to do, then I’m interested in doing the interview. Now I know you’re in debt—and he was looking to get paid for his interviews so that he can retire the debt. And I said, that’s the worst thing that you can do because anybody hearing your answers will hear the answers through the lens of “I’ve got a debt to pay.” Your best bet—and excuse that reference because that’s not a very good one—your best opportunity is to be honest; I have hard questions to ask you. And he cut me off and said I have some answers to the hard questions and I owe answers to those hard questions. And that’s how it came about because I said, you know what, if you’re doing it for all the right reasons, the good Lord will take care of you. If you’re serious and genuinely remorseful, things work out. And I’m so very happy to say Warren, that they did. Now there are those who will never forgive him, and I understand that, that’s human nature, but I told him, there are the intractable few who will never forgive you, but if you’re genuinely remorseful and make amends, God will forgive you. And those who are looking to give you a second chance based on whether or not you’re being honest, they will. And so he’s been very determined.

BASHAM: That’s James Brown speaking with Warren Smith. To hear the rest of that interview, be sure to check out Listening In. The new edition goes live tomorrow, and it’s available on your favorite podcast platform.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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