That's human nature. I've run into situations where a customer is very belligerent over something negative my company did to him over the phone and via e-mail and then being afraid what would happen in a face-to face and this same person i far more reasonable towards us in that environment. That's why actors go out and give interviews to movie reviewers before their film comes out, to curry favour.
The smartest reporters are the ones who aren't overly critical because they realize that they never played the game and don't know enough to be that way.
If you ask tough questions, is that perceived as being overly critical? Is it not fair to ask a GM if he is considering a coaching change or extension on the coaches contract when the team has performed miserably under said coach? I don't think so.
I really get nothing out of an interviewer who is just there to polish the ego of the interviewee...Its a waste of my time. You don't have to have an opinion at all...just ask questions. But questions, real people want to know the answer to. Not everything can be answered but you can leave that up to the interviewee.
Sometimes a "no comment" can be read into, especially if you see the facial expression and body language that goes along with it.
I really didn't want to start a thread on this, but did anyone listen to Dutch's interview with Peter Laviolette on TSN radio's Bryan Hayes show? The guy rambled on about his own kids that he didn't even ask a hockey question until the last 20 secs of a 8+ mins interview and they ran out of time, the question was obviously obtaining Bryzgalov's rights. What a waste of a booking, Dutch should never be allowed to host a radio show again. That was amateur hour at it's best!