Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Political Journalism

The Guardian's Jackie Ashley reviewing Armando Iannucci's new comedy, 'In the thick of it' comes out with one of the year's understatements. She says (of the character that appears to be based upon Alistair Campbell) ....

"...he bawled and manipulated only because he was struggling with a venomous media that this show lets off too lightly."
Anyone who has had much contact with political journalists will tell you that (with a few exceptions) they are all cynical, manipulative and mendacious. The exceptions are the just habitual liars.

Ask yourself this. If you were a government minister being interviewed by Jeremy Paxman on the BBC Newsnight programme, would you ...

a) offer a frank and thoughtful discussion of the issue, acknowledging the weaknesses of your arguments, the validity opposing views, and the reasons that you have reached your conclusions
b) be as argumentative and as opaque as possible.

If your answer is a), you are - by definition - not a government minister. You wouldn't last five minutes.

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