By now most of you will have seen Ed Miliband’s interview where he gives almost identikit answers to questions posed by BBC, ITV and Sky News journalists.
Now Channel 4′s Krishnan Guru-Murthy has blogged about the episode, in which he criticises politicians’ tactic of repetitive responses in a post titled Changing the Rules of the TV Interview.
There’s nothing new about it, politicians have been doing it for years and it is partly our fault in the media for letting them get away with it for so long.
I’ve had politicians from every party try a variation of the loop on me. Somebody in political PR training school obviously told them that if you’re doing ‘a clip’ for the news and you want to make sure the media only use what you want them to then only say one thing.
He then goes on to suggest a way in which television interviews can be conducted with more transparency.
So perhaps it is time for a new deal between television and politics. Perhaps an interview should just be an interview without any rules. Or perhaps when politicians only agree to be clipped or pooled we should make it clear, when they repeat themselves they should be challenged on camera and when they refuse to debate with other guests we should say so.
ITV’s Damon Green, who was part of the pooled interview, also added his thoughts on Friday, remarking that “if we are not allowed to explore and examine a politician’s views, then politicians cease to be accountable in the most obvious way”. You can read his take on the interview here.
Interviewing: If you’re interviewing in person, and your interviewee is giving a long-winded, irrelevant answer and shows no sign of stopping, put down your pen to show that you have stopped taking notes. If this doesn’t work, stand up. That should get their attention. Tipster: Sean Armstrong