“Put aside the rhetoric…”

A perfect example of how an overly-sound-bite-led politician can undermine his own credibility by refusing to stray from the script.  Indigenous politicians take note. Via Toby Harnden at the Telegraph blogs.

And the Guardian has a report based on the interviewer ITV News’ Damon Green’s response

In the two-minute 30-second version of the interview seen by the Guardian, Green tries six times to get Miliband to expand on his position about why he believes the strike action is wrong.

In each case he receives the same reply, that the strikes are wrong when negotiations are underway, the government has acted in a “reckless and provocative manner” and both sides need to “set aside the rhetoric” and “get around the negotiating table to stop this happening again”.

Green vented his anger at the Labour leader and his “handlers”, putting on a “convincing charade” of pretending to care about his line of questioning when they had a pre-planned PR line that they refused to go beyond.

“If news reporters and cameras are only there to be used by politicians as recording devices for their scripted soundbites, at best that is a professional discourtesy,” he said. “At worst, if we are not allowed to explore and examine a politician’s views, then politicians cease to be accountable in the most obvious way.”


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  • Cahir O’Doherty

    Brings to mind the fantastic Malcom Tucker-ism of

    ‘”The bottom line in a live TV interview is always,” counsels Tucker, “do not look like Michael Fucking Howard.”‘

    Poor Ed would be out of his depth in a paddling pool methinks..

  • Cynic2

    Green shouldn’t be angry. He has a brilliant story. The Labour Leader is a vacuous, total, utter twat and we have the proof on video

  • pippakin

    In a paddling pool? In a puddle more like… The Labour party is not what it was.

  • backstage

    Poor old Ed. Running for the leadership just to show form and thought he was part of the chasing pack. Probably thought he end up shadowing Environment! When they let him go probably depends on how badly the coalition is looking two years out from the next GE. If coalition is looking strong they might keep him until after; if they think they have a chance he’ll go 18 months out.

  • Nunoftheabove

    The increasingly toadying media really needs to rethink where it is here and, as they say, grow a pair. A principled (NUJ-backed ?) protocol needs introduced (common sense, as the rest of us might see it) whereby interviews with PR people within twenty paces of the interviewer and interviewee simply don’t proceed – doesn’t matter who it is. No buy-in to respectful house rules, no interview. They’ll get it eventually. Interference and ultimata from these PR people needs to be resisted; in response to insistences about which questions are asked, how they’re asked, how the camera is held etc, any professional journalist worth his or her salt should have the backing of his or her management team and union colleagues to simply tell the PR people and if needs be the interviewees themselves to go fuck themselves.

    Who knows, there may even conceivably be some political PR people who might be able, with effort, to decode and assimilate that kind of messaging into the venn diagram of their paradigm in some proximity to the inside of the box, thinking-wise.

  • michael-mcivor

    I know that by-elections are not the big win but labour did win the last few- with ed miliband in charge-

  • pippakin


    Absolutely brilliant!

  • wild turkey


    “Who knows, there may even conceivably be some political PR people who might be able, with effort, to decode and assimilate that kind of messaging into the venn diagram of their paradigm in some proximity to the inside of the box, thinking-wise.”

    slugger quote of the year!!! .

    and of course i say that from a post-structuralist perspective within a semiotic framework with a view to maximise stakeholder engagement by an inclusive listening excercise celebrating diversity

  • Comrade Stalin

    God, that’s cringe-inducing.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Just to precis that, the collateral damage of the social capital residue in the journalistic pipeline may, from the get-go, wrongside – within the communications space – the rightsized ducks that the PR professionals have in a row (those that are coming to the party, that is, rather than those off-message, further down the supply chain, to say nothing of the low hanging fruit, offline) however, going forward, once the ‘fucked away off’ product champions have stepped up to the plate, and granulated said“ fuck away off” message, they may well find this of some assistance in ascending the strategic staircase and thus facilitating the adoption of a more robust 360 degree helicopter view of the ‘having fucked away off’ experience, in a drilled-down consultation process with a number of key audiences. From a blue sky perspective, obviously. Bandwidth-wise, at any rate.

    But that goes without saying.

  • pippakin


    Blue sky thinking at its unparalleled best.

  • consul

    That was funny.

  • oracle

    Have to agree with Comrade Stalin simply cringing

  • wee buns

    His batteries are in too tight.

  • tuatha

    The meeja types, had they any principles or decency..oh, wait.., should do a Paxman, ask the same question over & over then end the interview, as did an Oz interviewer (Jane Singleton in 1984 with PM Bob Hawke, pronounced ‘Hauchey’) with “as you won’t answer the q

  • tuatha

    Ooops, sleeve interfered with keyboard – “as you won’t answer the question, we’ll leave it there..”.