Sunday, 10 November 2019

Interviewing Politicians

Andrew Marr had a great analogy this morning for the Conservative Election pledge to hiring extra police, nurses and public servants.
'It's like you took away my rain coat ten years ago and after a decade of being cold and wet you give me back my coat and you expect me to be thankful?' he said to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Savid Javid, who then went off on a tangent about Labour spending even though they haven't said what it would be yet.
Journalists get a bad press ironically, but the press and broadcast media are especially important at this time when an election campaign is ongoing and the pledges are made thick and fast. 
All parties do it, promise something which turns out to be not quite as promised once it is dissected and tested and the public have to look at someone to fact check and do the investigating, and that is where the media comes in.
Another politician trick is to answer the question that they want to be asked rather than the one which they were actually asked and filibuster knowing that the interviewer only has a certain amount of time available, a sort of the more they talk the less time to be questioned on things they don't want to be questioned on tactic.
It is the job of the journalist, the good ones anyway, to ask the questions the politicians find uncomfortable and Andrew Marr is excellent at this as is Andrew Neil, John Snow, Robert Peston and Laura Kuenssberg and up until he retired, Jeremy Paxman was formidable at questioning, and making uncomfortable, politicians.  
As for the press, the tabloids should not be taken too seriously as they have their colours fixed firmly to their masts and you won't find many newspapers that will take a balanced view means if you do read a newspaper during the election then the UK Newspaper line is Right Wing and Conservative leaning are The Sun, The Times, The Express, Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail while in the Left's Corner is The Mirror with The Guardian and i more central-left and tend to be Liberal Democrats.
My suggestion for a balanced view is to get your political fill from the Broadcast media as they are regulated by OFCOM and have to show no bias and have to be balanced or risk huge fines and being taken off the air as happened with Fox News and RT when they were removed from British TV Platforms a few years ago.
As with most things, the golden rule is if what a politician is saying sounds too good to be true, it invariably is and trust a journalist to let you know if you look in the right places.

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