The fallout over the ridiculous interview tactics of the leader of the British Labour Party, Ed Miliband, rumbles on in the UK media.
What’s surprising to me is why the fuss this time, and why single out Miliband? Ever since “media training” became de rigeur in boardrooms and the corridors of power, high profile figures have been spouting memorised propaganda to journalists all over the world.
Examples are extremely easy to come by. My own worst experience involved the London 2012 Olympic bid. I was in Singapore at the time, enjoying the celebrations and festivities to be sure, but the day after the London win came the great tragedy of the 7/7 bombings on the London transport system which killed 52 people and four suicide bombers.
The communications manager of the bid team had already been booked to appear live on my show, and turn up he did. However, he had only one intent – to avoid talking about the bombings at all costs.
My line of questioning, a fair one I thought, was along the lines of “clearly security is now going to be uppermost in the minds of Londoners what provisions for security did the bid document contain, and should these now be revised?”
His answer, repeated at least four or five times, was along the lines of “I’m here to talk about London’s victorious bid, and what great news it is for London.” He would address nothing more.
I was quite shocked at the blunt and unapologetic disingenuousness of the man, and more or less said so. The interview ended acrimoniously, shall we say, and the committee member in question went straight to my CEO to register the bizarre complaint that asking tough questions about relevant issues was somehow unacceptable on live TV.
To my dismay, my CEO seemed to favour the guest’s side.