Being polite to Americans

This is as ever not the most topical post, but one that keeps bubbling up every now and again, and finally has reached the stage when I feel it should be committed to online immortality. (What a build up… it’s not really deserving of that!)

Jeremy Paxman interviewed Al Gore the other day, on Newsnight, and as ever when he interviews Americans I was struck by just how persistently he pursues questions which are designed to catch the interviewee out, or embarrass him. This – famously summarised by him as the ‘why is this lying bastard lying to me’ – is par for the course with UK politicians, but it seemed rather discourteous and frankly a little petty to be trying to trip up the former Vice-President and Nobel Prize winner on how eco-friendly his house is, and whether he’s going to give up meat for environmental reasons. (The latter is a valid question, but Paxman was so obviously only asking it because he knew/ strongly suspected the answer was no and would thus give him an opportunity to sneer.) I just thought it was, rather rude? This is one of the reasons why I think people love Evan Davis, which I may well have mentioned on here before. He is genuinely interested in the answers to the questions rather than just trying to land a cheap shot and catch a still sleepy politician out.

Incidentally, Gore used the interview to praise Gordon Brown for his ‘outstanding leadership’ on the international stage, on climate change. Something even Paxman couldn’t sneer at.

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