Answer the god damn question! by underground

If you ask a question enough times, does that guarantee the desired answer?

Watching the 7o’clock current affairs shows you would think this is the method taught in journalism school. Sometimes the interviewer is tactful, quite cunning even, and twists the question around in order to illicit the required reply. But more often than not, the interviewer just continues with the same line, and either the interviewee keeps evading it, the interviewee answers it (yet the answer is not suffice for reasons I’ll discuss) or for legal reasons they cannot actually answer the question.

In my mind the worst is Paul Henry. Having just witnessed one of the poorest interviews ever recorded, I don’t think TVNZ should let the man work in front of a camera again. It was the Maryan Street interview on the disgusting housing situation in South Auckland. Basically people who are on the waiting list for state housing are living in despicable conditions, so Close up decided to get the Housing Minister onto the show to answer some questions. Fair enough. However, Henry very quickly made it evident that she was going to get a chance to answer the questions.

Henry’s bias in the interview was evident early; she was dismissively introduced as going to try to explain what was happening, the emphasis on try. Early on Street went about answering a question, but Henry stopped her, claiming they were short of time. He then proceeded to waste the precious time they did have by asking the same sorts of questions over and over, although he was clearly not interested in the answer. I’m not all too sure what Henry was trying to achieve, he wasn’t attempting to get any information, or even an admission of guilt. He was only interested in making the government look incompetent. Maryan alluded to a lack of support from opposition parties in parliament for some bill or something, we didn’t get to find out what because she was interrupted by Henry still persisting in trying to make Street cry! She mentioned that the problem had been there before her government took office, to which Henry snapped “You’re not going to talk about National!” or something to that affect. Every time Street sought to explain the situation, Henry would interrupt with some passionate plea for her to help these people. Street was brilliant. She did not take the bait and her professionalism made Henry look like an absolute dick. His interview was disgraceful, because it makes journalists look bad. He completely lacked professionalism and would be better suited to a soap opera. When you read that journalists are as respected as used car salesmen and lawyers, blame dickheads like Paul Henry.

The other one I’ve recently seen is the interviewer persist with a question the interviewee cannot legally answer. There will be a court case taking place or an investigation pending and the question will be for suppressed details or something, and the stupid journalist will persist. THEY CANNOT TELL YOU! And if they were to, I wonder where that would leave the channel legally. Contempt of court or something?

Yet your trusty journalist perseveres. For better, and for worse!

A song from the punk band ‘No Use for a Name’ comes to mind. The Answer is still No!


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