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Jul 17, 2010

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Since our dashing, conceited Tory felt the need to start an interview off on this foot and thereby belied the entire interview for the sake of an argument is a sign of both his personality which is likely to be quite an arrogant one. Mangles the odd phrase too 'make this point across'?

Why do you feel the need to quote Jon Snow's hyperbole anyway Will?

An MP 'enhanced' the truth, that some telehack has to gear his words to such an extreme degree is a sign of his own poor debating skills rather than anything exciting or significant. This isn't brilliant TV; I don't turn on the news to see people argue over what happened over a sodding Tweet or an e-mail the night before.

This is boring and doesn't mean a thing to me as a person who wishes to be informed on other matters like, er... news.

Office politics crap; and it should be forever confined to the back offices of news broadcasting; if people don't play ball, warn them and if they don't heed the warning then cut off the interview and start doing your job, which is reporting the news.

One thing Goldsmith said was that he'd love to 'see new journalism' - as much of a bad retort and snide as that is, he has a point. Journalism and politics have declined in equal proportion; that we get inflamed slanging matches like this for minutes on end prior to anything resembling an interview begins is only a sign of how much the trade has worsened.

A journalist arguing with a politician is like a pot and a kettle in some cartoon locking spouts and steaming away - all the while ignorant that they are very similar in terms of how much bullshit, lies, and utter wind they produce on a day-to-day basis and if they do get along - which is often - the whole scam goes down swimmingly a lot of the time.

Oh yeah there's exceptions; but those are few and everybody in the trade knows it. That you honestly believe this is 'brilliant' TV is rather daft; the news is not meant to be entertainment as some egoist MP has a mindless exchange...it's meant to be news.

You want mindless exchange?

Go watch Vorderman, Piers Morgan, and other amply qualified opinionated people duke it out.

I'm a fan of both these guys, although I can't help feeling Zac came off better in this skirmish - despite being in what may turn out go be a tricky little spot. Like you say, this was an exchange for off screen - but thank goodness it wasn't!

Peter, you make good points and I absolutely agree, up to a point. As I say, I think it was as terrible as it is brilliant.

Absolutely it is terrible, awful, pointless, if you think of it as "news", because as I say we didn't learn anything new about this story.

However, I do think it is great TV - a moment of interest and fascination, that an elected MP would so woefully fail to understand what he had to gain from such an interview and that a respected journalist of such long standing would practically offer him "outside" (or at least as far as Ofcom's offices which must be the broadcast equivalent).

It's interesting exactly because it's not meant to be that way.

That's where it differs from Piers Morgan's show, because that *is* meant to be mindless entertainment - it's the only speed setting Piers Morgan has.

This is all missing the point. Goldsmith was on air to answer some serious questions as to whether he had misled voters in his election campaigning spend and whether he had spent more than he was allowed. This is serious journalism Peter.

The fact that he decided to spend his allotted time arguing about rubbish shows that he was running scared. That he didn't want to answer the charges in detail. That he realises that he was in a corner.

this interview exposes the conceit of both TV journalist and politicians-both prepared to dance on a pin head because they feel their own positions and status are so vitally important. Three more soldiers died in Afghanistan today.

I *do* think this is important.

I (perhaps naively) expect our politicians to respect the rules around election spending, as they are an attempt to keep our democracy on a somewhat level playing field.

If they don't respect those rules then I don't want them representing us.

Even if the outcome is that they all break/bend the rules 'equally', channel 4 seem to have singled out Zac Goldsmith because some are more equal than others.

Zac Goldsmith had an opportunity to take a different approach. He could have acknowledged the importance of the electoral spend cap, explained that it's complex and that MPs are bending it all over the country, and congratulated Channel 4 news for getting an electoral process issue into the spotlight.

And then - having displayed respect for the electorate and the democratic process - he could have made the point that while it does look dodgy, in just a few days time the electoral commission will clear him of any specific wrong doing, and probably begin a much needed overhaul of the system.

There was no need to have the paddy that he did. To even begin to think that the finer points of his right to reply arrangements are important enough to take up 9 of 13 minutes, leaving just a few minutes to answer the real questions, shows how he weighs his own importance relative to that of our democratic process.

Telling Jon Snow to 'watch it' - and that if he wasn't vindicated then there would have to be a new General Election was just the cherry on the top. I bet Nick n Dave loved it!

Andrew (and Will)...

You might recall a number of years ago Alistair Campbell was dispatched to Channel 4 news during a time when a problematic story broke about New Labour. He managed to pull off a well engineered and damning criticism of the BBC, soundbites galore and hyperbole attuned well to the scenario. He mitigated greatly the potential damage to New Labour from what was actually a much more important issue that soon drifted away like a fart in the wind straight to the old news bin. The 'tension' between the then-government and the Beeb died down in a matter of weeks - because it was cleverly engineered in the first place!

Just did a Google of it (typed in: Alistair Campbell Channel 4 News), and here we are...top of the search results:

www.channel4.com/news/article.jsp?id=262148

Jon Snow is hardly great at following up the bigger picture if he even comprehends it in the first place. He more or less sat back as Campbell did his work. He hardly sat back here but failed just as completely as he had with getting proper answers out of Alistair seven years back. People who are interested just look at Snow's lumbering hyperbole and idle threats as the true issue escapes all examination.

So Will, and Andrew, this is not new or 'brilliant' TV - it's just a mediocre hack called Jon Snow bungling another interview that could have adversely affected a reigning party were it pulled off with aplomb.

Andrew you are wrong to think Goldsmith was 'running scared' - he was comfortably assured that he'd get through alright as he'd likely got an idea beforehand by glancing at Snow's record. 'In a corner' my backside; Snow is the idiot hunter who chases two rabbits and loses both - and that by a long shot.

-Pete @ dirtygarnet.com

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