Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged 'Interviews'

In praise of television and the television interviewer!

Fearless Lantern-jawed TV Interviewer 1969

Browsing through the TV channels in our hotel room in Singapore I came across an interview with Lindsay Tanner, a former Finance Minister in Kevin Rudd’s Labour Government, who resigned from parliament when Julia Gillard deposed Rudd in June 2010. Much of the interview concerned public criticisms which Tanner had recently made of the Gillard administration, but what interested me most were his comments on the trivialisation of politics by the media and, in particular, the media and public obsession with the image of political leaders rather than the substance of their parties’ policies and record in office.  

He’s right of course. It would be much better if we interested ourselves in policy and performance rather than personality when deciding which political party to support and vote for. But it isn’t going to happen. Television and,  to a much lesser degree, radio have seen to that.

As late as the year 1BT (‘Before Television’’), which in this country was 1959, most voters’ familiarity with politicians was  limited to hearing them speak in Parliament, seeing their picture in the paper or attending a public meeting around election time. The voter had, if you like, a fairly long-distance view of the people running the country. Television, both literally and figuratively,  would reveal them in ever more extreme close-up. Personality politics was born.  Read the rest of this entry »


John Key on HardTalk

The interview mainly consisted of criticisms gleaned from NZ commentators, which were then put as propositions. This allowed the PM to counter them, which he did without difficulty. Stephen Sackur’s lack of knowledge of New Zealand and its politics meant he was unable to follow up Key’s answers and probe deeper. All we got was the next proposition. It sounds knowledgeable, but it’s surface stuff and easily batted back. More like practice in the nets than a real game. That aside John Key handled this HardTalk interview well and seemed relaxed and confident.

Major criticisms:

Someone had raced round and found a batch of model kiwi and waka and other Newzild stuff and scattered it round the set. Tacky, tacky.

And Key’s diction! The trick seems to be: Never use four syllables if you can get away with two. It may be OK for speeches at the United Nations – they have simultaneous translators – but the overseas audience would have needed subtitles to get the drift of his answers in this interview.


Just answer the question!

Sometimes even the great Jeremy Paxman can’t get a straight answer!


The notorious Simon Walker/Robert Muldoon interview.

 This is still one of New Zealand’s most famous – or should that be infamous? – interviews.  Simon Walker v. Robert Muldoon, broadcast in 1976.

It’s pertinent that Walker and Muldoon were in separate studios at the time.  It’s much harder to be tough when you’re face-to-face with your subject, particularly when that subject is intimidating. Intimidating would be a mild description of Muldoon – journalists were terrified of him.

Still makes for good viewing.—robert-muldoon-interview-1976


Media Tip: You’ve got a point there!

obama-makes-a-concessionThe first thing we tell our clients, from politicians to pop stars, is: ‘Be straightforward, tell the truth – and admit your mistakes’.

In general no-one has too much of a problem with the first two principles. However, although pop stars seem to have turned it into an art form, admitting their mistakes is anathema to politicians (unless the mistakes were made by someone else!) and most people have some difficulty ‘fessing up’ that they were wrong. That’s a pity, because concession is a powerful weapon in the media. Read the rest of this entry »