Thursday, October 13, 2022

The Badgering Style

Sometimes Americans see BBC news interviews and think, "why aren't our journalists like that???" But after you watch enough of them (and, in my case, did a radio interview once and was on the receiving end!) you realize that in their own way the BBC style often as useless as the American one.

The BBC style is to adopt a haughty condescending tone, and a hectoring interrupt-every-30-seconds approach, which they use for everyone from the Chancellor to the Exchequer to the person who runs the local food bank. It sounds aggressive, and occasionally does dislodge an important person from their talking points, but it is a kind of "both sidesing" in it's own way.

The US style is to throw out mostly softballs with the occasional hard question, and when the subject fails to answer the hard question or lies, just say, "moving on."

The main difference is the UK style makes everyone - equally - seem like a defensive liar, while the US style makes everyone - equally - seem like a well-meaning person deserving of respect.

Of course both make exceptions. Sometimes US politicians get a grilling (not always appropriately!), and sometimes the BBC style is applied with more subtlety, but generally...

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