Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Being polite to Americans

This is as ever not the most topical post, but one that keeps bubbling up every now and again, and finally has reached the stage when I feel it should be committed to online immortality. (What a build up... it's not really deserving of that!)

Jeremy Paxman interviewed Al Gore the other day, on Newsnight, and as ever when he interviews Americans I was struck by just how persistently he pursues questions which are designed to catch the interviewee out, or embarrass him. This - famously summarised by him as the 'why is this lying bastard lying to me' - is par for the course with UK politicians, but it seemed rather discourteous and frankly a little petty to be trying to trip up the former Vice-President and Nobel Prize winner on how eco-friendly his house is, and whether he's going to give up meat for environmental reasons. (The latter is a valid question, but Paxman was so obviously only asking it because he knew/ strongly suspected the answer was no and would thus give him an opportunity to sneer.) I just thought it was, rather rude? This is one of the reasons why I think people love Evan Davis, which I may well have mentioned on here before. He is genuinely interested in the answers to the questions rather than just trying to land a cheap shot and catch a still sleepy politician out.

Incidentally, Gore used the interview to praise Gordon Brown for his 'outstanding leadership' on the international stage, on climate change. Something even Paxman couldn't sneer at.

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