Thanks for adding this, Jonas. I just added a brief blurb that I think is related to this. (See the section about required skills, where I’ve added a note about being personable but willing to be “awkward”). These are the kinds of tips I’d usually discuss and rehearse with someone in an interview practice session. I notice this post is more about how to evaluate a media opportunity and self-assess readiness, rather than what to do during an actual interview. The latter is something I talk more about with people when we’re rehearsing for a specific interview.
When rehearsing mock interviews with people, I’ve noticed that the point you raise is one of the things that most trips people up though, which I think is understandable.
If someone asks you, “Some people have said butter is blue. Do you think that’s true?”, it’s almost a knee-jerk response to answer “Really? No, I don’t think butter is blue. I believe butter is white or yellow, because....”. The problem is that our natural instinct here works against us. “EAs ‘don’t think butter is blue’” is a much weirder and more intriguing quote than, “EAs ‘think butter is white or yellow.’”
It’s takes practice to get out of this habit and ensure that the words you say consist only of words you want to appear in the article, without giving fodder to competing/distracting/inaccurate messages. (You might still be misrepresented or misunderstood even then, but this is one strategy to lower that risk). The advice of interview coaches is just what you said, Jonas: that you should start right in describing your actual beliefs, and not repeat the question.
It can look something like this:
Q: Some people have said butter is blue. Do you think that’s true?
[Take a breath, smile, omit the first part of the response that comes into your head. Say,..]
A: Actually, I think butter is white or yellow. [or]
A: Actually, I don’t think that’s within my area of expertise.
[Pause. Let it be awkward if needed, wait for a new question]. [or]
A: Hm, no; what I do think is true is...[(possibly unrelated) point that you want to give a good quote about in order to communicate with your readers/viewers].
The last approach can feel especially awkward, but can be very effective in avoiding clickbait quotes and providing content you actually want to be quoted.