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The November 2014 Fox News Channel interview with Rob O’Neill showed the power of stories in several ways.
O’Neill, a former Navy Seal, was part of the team that raided terrorist Osama Bin Laden’s compound a few years ago. O’Neill killed him after a decade-long hunt after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.
Around 2.7 million people watched Part 1 of the interview and 3.4 million watched Part 2, according to the New York Times.
The interviewed reminded us storytellers of several things:
- Appearing credible counts. O’Neill appeared credible and likable. He shared his story very well.
- Good video makes great stories even better. Fox News had video from the raid (or at the least it was a reenactment – there was a note earlier in the show) and that really helped tell the story. I couldn’t look away.
- There isn’t just one version of a story. O’Neill’s version was said to be different from another Seals’ published version. Nobody was accused of lying and he explained that people are sharing things the way they saw them. It was dark. It was war. Multiple versions of the same event is nothing unusual. Ask police officers who are investigating a car crash and have four different witness accounts.
- Being human counts. O’Neill’s story of how the Seals thought they were going on a suicide mission, how they hugged and prepared was very touching. I could feel for them and their families. As we know now, no Americans were hurt in the incident, but the team initially thought they were going to die.
- Overcoming conflict is part of great stories. The team thought they were going to die. O’Neill’s recollection of when they started realizing they might make it out alive was touching and powerful. A commander announced: “This is probably the only time you are going to like hearing this: ‘Welcome to Afghanistan.”’ They made it out of Pakistan, where Bin Laden’s compound was located.
Overall, Fox News shared a powerful and rare story that stirred emotion. Some people said the story shouldn’t have been told, that confidential information might be shared. O’Neill responded that he didn’t share anything that wasn’t known already and that every time you do anything in public somebody will not like something related to it.
It’s true that we can’t please everyone. Inside looks like this one help us understand what’s going on in the world and being able to hear authentic stories from all parts of our lives is part of living in a free world.
Hat tip to the Fox News Channel for getting and sharing what appeared to have been a very authentic story.