28 August 2007

Mr. Pot and the kettles



Wikipedia on Jeremy Paxman:

In 1998 Denis Halliday ... resigned from his post in Iraq in protest at the UN sanctions imposed on that country ... in the subsequent interview with Newsnight, Paxman asked Halliday, "Aren't you just an apologist for Saddam Hussein?"

During [an interview with Tony Blair] Paxman famously asked Blair if he and President Bush "prayed together" ...

The BBC received complaints [that when interviewing party political leaders during the 2005 General Election] Paxman was "rude and aggressive" ... particularly after [asking George Galloway] "Are you proud of having got rid of one of the very few black women in Parliament?"
Jeremy Paxman's MacTaggart Lecture at the Edinburgh International Television Festival:
[In] more innocent days ... producers made programmes because they were passionately engaged with the world and wanted to communicate what they’d found out. Too much of the time now they simply pick things from the world which look as if they might make good television ...

... the problem is that all news programmes need to make noise. The need’s got worse, the more crowded the market’s become. We clamour for the viewers’ attention: “Don’t switch over. Watch us! You won’t be disappointed!” ...

The problem is that a sort of expectation inflation sets in. ... [In the case of Big Brother] the audience’s jaded palate needs to be constantly titillated. The danger is that the same thing happens with news: if for no other reason than to save producers and presenters from more of that dead-eyed somnambulism you can already see too often ...
So what does Mr Paxman think is the source of the problem? An ethos of top-down cultural 'democratisation' or similar manifestations of pseudo-egalitarianism? No — money.
[The BBC's programme on the Queen] demonstrates the changing imperatives, the variety of operators, the confused lines of accountability, the fact that money intrudes at every stage. ...

There are too many people in this industry whose answer to the question what is television for? is to say ‘to make money.’ ...

All the recent scandals and so-called scandals have one element in common: money. ...

Of course, the BBC’s got problems of its own, and they also come down to money.

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