Something you won’t hear a news interviewer say…


I began this morning by making coffee and getting irritated. The two things were only connected because I’d flipped on the radio.

It was a conversation on the Today Programme which really irritated me.It wasn’t what they were talking about; it was the way the interviewer was conducting the interview.

You never ever hear an interviewer say “thank you. That was a clear and concise explanation. Now any intelligent listener has a much clearer understanding of that particular issue, thanks for coming in to clear that up”
Instead, no matter how clear or articulate the interviewee, it seems to be the presenter’s job to fill up the five minute slot by finding some kind of angle on the story or to pick up on a word or a phrase as if it were a crevice on a rock face and hammer in some kind of opposing point of view which will inevitably cast suspicion on the integrity of the interviewee or create confusion where there had just been clarity.

I know it’s the job of news reporters to try to see stories from all angles  but when they stubbornly refuse to accept a statement that is clear and straightforward as being “clear and straightforward” I find it very exasperating.

It puts me in mind of what Jesus said in Matthew chapter 13 “you will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving”. I think this style of interviewing collude with an attitude of cynicism, an attitude that implies that no one is ever right, everyone is always ‘spinning’ some story and no one can be trusted.

Perhaps that’s just the nature of our culture but it seems sad to me.

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