Jeremy Paxman: Newsnight’s run by kids

27 June 2014

It’s fair to say that Jeremy Paxman did not see eye-to-eye with Ian Katz, the modish former Guardian hack who edits Newsnight these days. Paxman told the crowds at the Chalke Valley History Festival, ‘Look, Newsnight is made by 13-year-olds.’ He could not have been more withering about ‘Katz’s Cubs’ — the new generation of green (and cheap) faces bought in by Katz.

Paxo continued, in wise-old-owl mode:

‘It’s perfectly normal when you’re young that you want to change the world…The older you get, the more you realise what a fools’ errand much of that is and that the thing to do is to manage the best you can to the advantage of as many people as possible.’

The veteran star also confessed: ‘I suppose I am a one-nation Tory, yes.’ A comment that manages to shoehorn-in Labour’s favourite slogan and please the soft right. The mark of a consummate politician. Arise, Lord Paxman. Anyone?

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  • Baron John Arbuthnot Fisher

    Would have loved to see him take on the chair of the BBC Trust.

    • amicus

      Chair? A piece of furniture.

  • Makroon

    I guess this is all part of Paxo’s run to be chairman of the BBC trust.

  • HenryWood

    “Jeremy Paxman’s infamous Michael Howard interview … ”
    I saw that interview live. I just watched it again using your link. Can someone please tell me just what was “infamous” about it?

    Paxman talks of 13-year-olds running Newsnight. That interview was the equivalent of a 13-year-old asking the same question over and over again because he could not think of anything else to ask.

    That was the day Newsnight went down the pan for me and joined Today, Question Time and Any Questions in the BBC cesspit. PM – on R4 at 5.00 pm – is also now in there.

    • Alexsandr

      paxo was right to keep asking the question cos the answers he was getting were evasive and obfuscating.

      • HenryWood

        It was obvious that Howard was evasive and obfuscating as you say, but any interviewer worth his salt would have had the brains to come in from a completely different angle in an attempt to unsettle Howard. Paxman could not do that. Perhaps he did not have the brains?

        BTW, an interviewer on BBC radio of great worth was Jimmy Young in his heyday. There was none of today’s hectoring and bullying of interviewees, not allowing them to finish an answer without interruptions. Instead he used to ask a question then let them have their say and answer it in full. Once they had given their answer he would often slip in the stiletto question, either from him or from a listener, as a follow-up. It is so much harder for a politician to answer a follow-up question once he has already given his full answer. It usually means they are left floundering.

        Today’s “interrogators” do not understand this. All they do is ask a question and after half an answer is given the interruptions start. That is *not* good political debate.

        • Alexsandr

          you are right about interupting. Ok if the interviewee is waffling but too many like the sound of their own voice.
          esp caroline quentin who is awful.

        • The Masked Marvel

          Agreed. Many is the time when one gets the impression that a given BBC presenter thinks they’re being similarly wonderful by repeating the same question over and over and acting as if their guest is being evasive, when it’s actually a case of the guest giving an answer only the BBC genius doesn’t like it. Evan Davis does this regularly. He obviously wants a certain answer, and when he doesn’t get it he will talk over his guest repeatedly. Often it degenerates into an imitation of Catherine Tate’s “Lauren” character, with Davis thinking he’s being tough and direct rather than peevish and unfair to what his guest his actually saying.

    • HookesLaw

      Despite what you and your other commentators say the reason for the repeated question was simple and I believe it was Paxman himself who wrote about it.

      The next interviewee had not arrived and the producer told Paxman in his earpiece to continue the interview. Since Paxman had run out of questions he repeated the same one over and over. Paxman later sent Howard a bottle of Champagne after he had won some award.

      • HenryWood

        So an “interviewer” earning riches beyond measure ran out of scripted (?) questions and was only able to repeat one question until time was up. As I said, perhaps Paxman did not have the brain to form other questions and you seem to confirm that. The man would appear to be useless as an interrogator without his team’s (scriptwriters) help.

  • CharlietheChump

    I’m glad he’s moved on the whole newsnight thing is so last century

  • The Masked Marvel

    Newsnight had problems before Katz came in. As for being concerned that something is being run by kids….

  • Peter Stroud

    Paxo, the first BBC Eurosceptic to ‘come out’. Well done

    • dado_trunking

      Ahahaha! what about A Neil?

      • Terry Field

        He lives in France with a green swimming pool!!

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