"Well, there is only one piece of advice I can give you," said the wisest of wise men. "The secret of happiness is to see all the marvels of the world and never to forget the drops of oil on the spoon."

('The Alchemist' Paulo Coelho)

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Stop talking, I'm interrupting!

BBC's Radio 4's Today programme is a daily current affairs programme which airs six mornings a week from six to nine o'clock and has something of a reputation for taking no prisoners. I generally listen to it for the first hour, whilst contemplating getting up and starting the day and on Thursdays I hear more between eight and half past, on my way to my Welsh class.
Today Evan Davis was 'interviewing' George Osborne. You will notice that I have placed 'interviewing' within quotation marks and if the definition of interviewing is talking over/interrupting/patronising/condescending, or any combination of the aforesaid, then that is undoubtedly what he was doing.
Accepting that a politician actually giving a straight answer to a question is rarer than a barbecue summer in Britain, most people, I think, would nevertheless expect to hear some attempt at answering a question posed by the interviewer, if only to wriggle out of it and, whilst I am no fan of George Osborne, I was almost beginning to feel sorry for him.
At every attempt to speak, he was accused by Davis of refusing to answer the question, even to the point of being told, "Well, I know you're not going to give us an answer on that." At one point, it even led to Osborne actually begging to be allowed the answer the question! When he did manage to get a few words in edgeways, he was repeatedly cut off mid sentence by Davis.
I have to say that, by the end of this farce, I was quite impressed by Osborne's calm, polite response in spite of being repeatedly goaded. I can only assume that Davis is intent on making his mark as a 'cutting edge' interviewer with a reputation for cutting to the chase, but the result this morning was nothing short of loutish, ill-mannered rudeness and he should be ashamed.


mrsnesbitt said...

I agree! I listen to Radio 4 all of the time - infact I can't bear a quiet house - I LOVE the gentle mumbling in the background - yet I was aware something was amiss! Freida got off the settee as the programme was annoying her! Intelligent dog eh?

Flighty said...

Sadly it seems to be the trend to 'interview' in this way. If they persist I can see politicians, etc. simply refusing to go on such programmes. Flighty xx

Jennyta said...

Very intelligent, Mrs N. :)

Jennyta said...

And who could blame them, Flighty!

ZACL said...

I heard this farce of a so-called interview on AM this morning. I tend to shut off when Evan Davis starts to attempt to copy Humphreys, (he usually does it badly.) Today, I did not shut down. I did want to hear how Osborne was going to acquit himself. I forgot what the darn question was that was not being answered, in the end. I also wondered whether the controllers of the programme might have had a little whisper in Davis's earphoned ear, for his 'tour de farce' abruptly ended. I actually think Davis almost fell off the podium.

Humphreys, himself, is bad enough, at times not all that knowledgeable, but, he can do a better demolition job, (to wit, the last short-lived DG of the BBC) whether you agree with the style or not. I do wish presenters would develop their own manner of interviewing and resist trying to copy what they assume is the master BBC style.

I have little sympathy for politicians, they are adept at answering anything but what is asked. It behoves the interviewer to handle this, but with intelligence, and in Davis' case, some measured persistence would not go amiss. Subtleties are more difficult to operate with, but the end result could be sparkling.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Yes, but intellectually Evan Davis is a giant while Osborne is but a callow dwarf. Are you sure you are not a raving Condem Tory in disguise? The crushing of Osborne was quite delightful in my view.

Cro Magnon said...

John Humphreys did it so much better. Osborne is too polite and well educated to cope with the likes of Davis.

Jennyta said...

I didn't hear the end of the interview until I played it back on Iplayer later, but it did seem as though someone had a word in Davis's 'shell-like' because his style did change quite abruptly.

Jennyta said...

Maybe so, YP but I would like to have heard some coherent answers to the interview questions. As it was, it was a complete waste of air minutes and all we were left with was a sense of frustration. (What does a raving Condem Tory in disguise look like?)

Jennyta said...

He did, Cro, but if you invite someone onto your programme, presumably it is to hear what they have to say in answer to your questions and to do your best to get them to come clean. Bullying is not the way to do it and there is the risk that it will descend into farce, as yesterday's debacle testified.


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