Monday, 1 September 2008

Be(little) the media

I got back home tonight in time to see Channel 4 News for the first time in years, to be treated to a really choice piece of political journalism. Gary Gibbon's 'interview' with Ed Balls was one of the most pointless I've seen for some time, and I still bother to watch Nick Robinson. It was just a series of questions designed in a way that if Ed balls had veered an inch from the party line he would have been portrayed as either a) admitting Brown was in trouble or b) 'slapping down' David Miliband.

At one point he seemed to be asking Balls whether he could personally vouch that no-one anywhere in the Government was talking about a leadership challenge. If you say yes it implies a) you're dishonest since it's impossible to know and/or b) control-freakish. But if you say no then it implies there could still be a challenge in the offing. And then we wonder why politicians speak in content-free and colourless soundbites.

Fair play to Ed Balls though, he almost managed to do the whole interview without blinking.


Antony said...

Didn't see the interview Tom, but the question is perfectly fair. The way I see it you can either lie or tell the truth when answering a question like that, which it is, of course, the job of journalists to ask. Alternatively, you can do what most politicians do, which is avoid the question entirely, or answer: not that I know of....difficult if you're plotting a challenge yourself, of course.
You might argue that the question is pointless because most politicians are past-masters at that line of interrogation, but hey, if you get Darling by the fireside with a wee dram he'll tell you everything!
The Scarlet Pimpernell

Mrs Blogs said...

There's a good piece in the New Statesman last week by Brian Cathcart..the Media column, on how the media 'read the political codes' ...its particularly good on the Miliband leadership bid/non-bid it any which way you will!