UK Politics

Sally's Vibrator & a Weeping Ed Balls

22 Nov 2011 at 18:57

Lord Justice Leveson could do worse than read the latest issue of Total Politics magazine. Well, I would say that, wouldn’t I, as I publish it, But I think the reaction to two interviews in the magazine demonstrates what is wrong with today’s media. Now in some ways, I shouldn’t bite the hand that feeds me, as we have had some great coverage in the last 24 hours. Who wouldn’t kill for so many mentions all over the media? But when you look at the subject of that coverage you do wonder about the priorities of some of today’s media – and I don’t just mean of the red top variety.

This month’s issue contains two long interviews, one with Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls and one (by me) with Sally Bercow. Both know how to g’give good interview’ and both did so in this case. But in Ed Balls’s case it was quite a meaty interview. lots of good stuff about his job, lots about economic policy, but what did all the press pick up on? Yup, the fact that he sometimes cries during an episode of Antiques roadshow. In a similar vein, the only thing reported from the Sally Bercow interview was her reply to my ‘quickfire round’ question as to what her favourtie gadget was. She informed me, giggling away, that it was her vibrator. I asked if that was on or off the record and she she told me it was on the record. Well you can’t blame a boy for keeping it in. So to speak.

Of course those two things were always going to be reported. But to the exclusion of everything else in the interviews? There was so much more.

It strikes me that we get the media we deserve, and I am not surprised that this happened. As an interviewer you kind of recognise the game. But that doesn’t mean that I have to like it. Oh for the day when newspapers actually report a new idea or policy rather than immediately leap on an ill judged joke or a gaffe. I can but dream.

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