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  • More on the Tony Blair Interview

    Posted by Jonathan on February 7th, 2003 (All posts by )

    I read about 1/3 of the transcript from the Q&A. Blair handled himself well. The interviewer and the audience, if sincere, are twits. I can’t imagine the audience is representative of majority opinion over there. It’s probably representative of elite opinion, though. I hope that I am not naive to be so optimistic. Also:

    – I was astonished by the high proportion of questioners from the audience who assumed that UN fiat takes precedence over decisions made by their own elected government.

    – Paxman’s interviewing style is great. I wish we had journalists like him here in the States. So what if he’s rude. One of the press’s most important functions is to serve as a check on government. You can’t do that if you’re always deferential. Yet journalists who ask difficult questions of politicians are exceedingly rare. They are discouraged by the j-school mentality, with its emphasis on “access” — mustn’t risk losing it by antagonizing interviewees — and guild-like hostility to reporters who rock the boat. (O’Reilly isn’t a good counterexample, because there’s only one of him and he’s easily avoided by pols who don’t want to face his questions. Also, he is often unprepared.) How long would Clinton have lasted if he had been met at every press conference by Paxman-like reporters asking him, repeatedly, if he had raped Juanita Brodderick?