This was a story that seemed impossible to write, about one moment in time that demanded to be dramatized. But when Hillary Clinton rushed to the hospital and underwent emergency brain surgery, it was clear that it had to be. So Joel Carson found himself not only sitting in the basement of Clinton’s New York home for an interview she conducted with Lynn Sherr right before she was rushed to the hospital, but also watching it unfold via livestream on the “Today” show, where Carson serves as a producer.
At the time the interview was scheduled, Carson knew all about the likely obstacles Clinton faced in rehabilitating her reputation, and had no illusions that it was possible that the interview would survive the tumult of Clinton’s hospitalization. (After she resigned, Sherr told viewers that, before Clinton was taken away by doctors, she had written in a hospital waiting room journal, “And just like that, I’m done.”) But Carson saw that, unlike the rest of the world, Clinton herself was in the moment. “I could see it like a fan, that she was giving it all the intensity of this incredibly powerful moment.” he says. “I just felt, at the moment, she was pretty strong.” The questions Sherr asked Clinton were equally straight forward, without pussyfooting around issues of her judgment or integrity. For Carson, there was no way around filming the whole thing, rather than leaving it to a final version edited solely by Sherr. The unedited footage, he later realized, was easily more compelling.