Does the Gayle King interview exemplify the insensitivity in journalism?

Gayle King interviews WNBA legend Lisa Leslie. Photo courtesy of

CBS News TV-Anchor Gayle King has received extreme backlash after a recent interview with WNBA legend Lisa Leslie.

King considered the interview to be wide ranging, however many people have taken a distaste a portion of the interview when King asked Leslie if Kobe Bryant’s legacy is complicated because of an acquitted sexual assault charge.

Celebrities such as Snoop Dogg, 50 Cent and Bill Cosby have expressed their disapproval of the line of questioning during the interview. King would eventually take to social media to express how CBS’s posting of an isolated clip led viewers to take the interview out of context. Though it seems like everyone is opposing King, she has massive support.
Notably, Susan Rice, a National Security Adviser and United Nations Ambassador defended King on Twitter.

“This is despicable. Gayle King is one of the most principled, fair and tough journalists alive” Rice tweeted. CBS News President Susan Zirinsky addressed the situation, saying how threats against King or any Journalist is reprehensible.

Also, #ISTANDWITHGAYLE was trending on twitter garnering mass support for King.

King was interviewing Leslie because she was Bryant’s friend and she wanted to get her perspective on his life and legacy. His legacy is filled with excellence, such as his five NBA championship rings and an academy award just to name a few of the great things he did in his career.

In addition to that Bryant has faced his share of controversy. It’s a journalist’s job to ask questions that people generally want to know, even if they are beloved by everyone.

Asking a person who intimately knew Bryant about the rape case would either make him look good or bad. Bryant’s rape case was a big deal at the time that it happened. People are still talking about it even though it was not successfully taken to trial.

I think King brought Leslie in for an interview to put Bryant’s legacy into context. Leslie was his friend which is why King included the follow-up statement:

“But you wouldn’t see it right because you’re his friend.” King said.

I think that was asked to make Leslie appear to be more impartial and really get people to see Bryant’s legacy is still intact despite the rape case.

He was a public figure that is now deceased, so people are reflecting on his life. The case is old; however, Bryant didn’t talk about it when he was alive which led people to solely come to their own conclusions and not truly understand the situation from his perspective. This moment is like a corrected moment that he missed with this subject.

Some people argue that it was too soon and that it disrespected his family, but would there ever be a right time to bring that up? Bryant was a beloved NBA star who people just couldn’t see doing anything wrong. The grieving process is a forever process, so waiting would’ve benefited no one.

Remembering a person in only a good way is unrealistic because there are many facets to a person’s life. Journalism’s job is not to be sensitive, but to in this case create context.

Being that Bryant has been deceased for just over two weeks people are still reflecting on his life, trying to put it into context. I think that King asked the question “is it fair to ask about the rape case”, because that was her way of trying to create a conclusion of that subject.

I think the Gayle King and Lisa Leslie interview was an example of trying to help people discern someone’s legacy.