Buzzfeed has now changed the title to "Paul Ryan Gets Testy And Ends Interview," because he obviously doesn't walk out, and they've also put this up now:
The reporter knew he was already well over the allotted time for the interview when he decided to ask a weird question relating gun violence to tax cuts. Ryan responded as anyone would in such a strange situation. When you do nearly 200 interviews in a couple months, eventually you’re going to see a local reporter embarrass himself.So... not only doesn't he walk out, he doesn't end the interview.
Maybe Kaczynski is straining to win back lefty friends after he called "handkerchief" on the Romney "cheat sheet" conspiracy theory.
Anyway, let's focus on "testy." Did Ryan get testy? Ryan speaks eloquently about guns and crime and a need to restore "civil society" to the inner cities, which prompts the reporter to ask "And you can do all that by cutting taxes? By — with a big tax cut?" It's not a terrible question, really, but it does reveal the reporter's liberal mentality. Ryan's civil society — the basis for individual "discipline" and "good character" — is "what charities and civic groups and churches do." That's standard conservative ideology, but the reporter, presumably thinking in terms of government finding ways to rebuild individual good character, leaps to the issue of tax cuts. He can't envision the private groups — charities and civic groups and churches — building civil society. He's got the "you didn't build that" attitude.
So he asks a tax question and Ryan responds as if the reporter had made the assertion implied in the question and says "Those are your words, not mine." That's abrupt. He could have said your question shows that you don't understand what civil society is and explained the deep ideological difference between conservatives and liberals, but the reporter isn't his ideological opponent. He's a reporter, supposedly asking neutral questions, and the implied argument about the role of government would need to be spelled out before it could be refuted.
It's late in the interview, and the off-camera voice says, "Thank you very much." Ryan, yanking out his microphone, says "That was kind of strange," as if the question were a complete non sequitur. And then: "Trying to stuff words in my mouth," as if it were not a question. I read this as a dominating tactic, and the reporter goes beta: "I don't know if it's strange." Ryan mellows slightly: "No, but it sounds as though you're trying to answer my question for me. That's a little odd." And the reporter meekly agrees.
Ryan could have been a bit nicer, but I liked this display of dominance in managing the reporters who are looking to get their sound bites out of him. I'm sure this reporter would have loved to show Ryan stymied by contradictory aspirations about fixing the inner cities and cutting taxes. The reporter tried to get on top and got schooled. I'm okay with that.