How Interview on Fox at 3 PM Became ‘Exclusive’ on CNN at 6

By Mark Joyella 

Before CNN’s Wolf Blitzer ever asked a question, he had billed his live “Situation Room” interview with Jordan’s foreign minister Nasser Judeh as an exclusive no less than three times. An “exclusive” bug remained on screen for the duration of the 6pmET interview, as Judeh talked in detail about Jordan’s air strikes against ISIS targets.

Blitzer’s interview was picked up immediately by other media, including The Telegraph. It was a coup, but there was one small detail–it wasn’t exclusive.

Screen Shot 2015-02-05 at 6.31.35 PMThree hours earlier, Fox News Channel’s Shepard Smith, anchoring from Amman, had his own face-to-face interview with Judeh. On FNC, the foreign minister confirmed Jordan had conducted air strikes on Iraq and Syria, and described the effort as part of the country’s retaliation for the murder of captured Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kasaesbeh, using language he would repeat, essentially word-for-word, hours later on CNN. Fox’s interview was picked up by the Associated Press.

Judeh also gave a live interview to Sky News, where he hit essentially the same talking points he’d made elsewhere. That interview was shared on Twitter by Judeh himself, who retweeted this video:

While cable news producers will obsess over the nuances of whose interview was longer, more substantive and even booked first, Smith–who may have had the advantage of Fox’s corporate ties to Sky News–was able to get the interview first.