This is a terrible decision to make. Am I prepared to accept responsibility
for
putting an idea in Senators’ heads? Maybe even Ross Lightfoot’s? Deep
breath. I
am a responsible, independent journalist. What other people do with
the stories
I report is their own business. Deep breath. Here goes…

BBC chairman Michael Grade and director general Mark Thompson have been
forced
to defend presenters Jeremy Paxman and John Humphrys in front of a House
of
Lords committee which accused them of failing to respect politicians.

You can see how one of our Senate star chambers might apply the idea.
Committee
member Lord Kalms complained politicians were “not given sufficient
respect and
are often disparaged,” in the Beeb reports, but Thompson claims the
public
enjoys “the rather adversarial approach.” Twenty members of the
Commons
recently signed a motion condemning Paxman. Bet we could get more of
our MPs to
line up for a go at Kerry O’Brien or the AM team.

“This controversy is not a new thing,” Thompson said, drawing comparisons
with
the way the legendary “Inquisitor General” Sir Robin Day
interviewed
politicians in the 1960s, at the time of the end of deference. “You
have to
strike a balance between proper discussion and scrutiny in the
traditional
British adversarial way… and the danger of overstepping the mark
into
negativity and rudeness. Generally we get the balance right, much of the
time.”

Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen disagreed, according to the BBC. “John
Humphrys
speaks more than the person that he is interviewing. It is therefore
not good
broadcasting,” she claimed. Perhaps Janet Albrechtsen can raise the
matter at
her first ABC board meeting.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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