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| 1 minute read

Peak 'Paxman'?

The trend, developing in recent years, of presenters being ever more aggressive in their questioning of politicians and other guests has, it seems, reached its peak. The aggressive style, embodied by the formidable Jeremy Paxman and his questioning of Michael Howard in 1997, had taken on a far more sinister, click-baity dimension in recent years, especially in the wild west days of the Brexit years.

The assured, informed and engaging interview style has been replaced gradually by a naked aggression, the object of which is not to extract a confession or somehow force an issue. The object has become the naked aggression itself, the hope being that the scandal of the style drives likes and shares, as opposed to the news in question. Frankly, some interviews border on the rabid and do nothing to engage informed and moderate observers. It likely turns people off.

Ms Maitlis is a firebrand for this new, and rather tiresome, brand of 'journalism' which borders on face to face trolling. I'm only surprised that it has taken this long for the BBC to call this out. She is by no means the only proponent of the strategy, but there can be some hope now that we might see a slightly calmer, more balanced approach to interviews.

The BBC took the unusual step of rebuking one of its best-known presenters after a stream of complaints about Tuesday night’s programme. It opened with criticism of the prime minister’s “blind loyalty” to his chief adviser. www.thetimes.co.uk/...

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