The Pivot

I would support the total end of the daily ministerial interview round. It’s open to so much abuse. Agenda pushing and insincere. Also, the cold-shouldering of programmes is a form of censorship. The press conference is at least fair, provided there are no restrictions on individuals from the press pack. Then let’s return to the invited ministers when they have something to announce or say. The current system is a circus, it may be the minister of works and pensions turn, but the talking point is immigration; I want to hear from the Home Secretary.

Journalists tend to argue that any appearance is “holding the government to account” Susanna Reid advocates this point of view. I disagree; it just seems to feel like a PR exercise. The 24-hour news cycle has turned all news into an opinion-based talking point. We have Presenters interviewing correspondents; it is a time filler; I want a report. James Pilger has earned the right to an opinion; I am afraid not all correspondents have. I want a report, not to hear what they think. I want analysis, not personal interpretation. Yes, I want truth spoken to power, but not every day and not when it’s like phoning a helpline for technical support and talking to sales; it’s a waste of time.

Then we have “the pivot”, the name given to the well-known and much-talked-about technique of turning the answer back to the government’s agenda. At its most obvious, it is a simple “look, I am here to talk about….” and simply changing the subject. The less obvious and more patronising way is to subtly use the question to pivot the interview to the point of view required of the directives of the day. Eveny morning all ministers and political,activists get an email from central office. It set the agenda and talking pints for the day. That is why nearly all of these ministerial appointments are so false, its the governments opinion and not the opinion on the human being giving the interview. It is yet another way of controlling the narrative and in my opinion we would get better news if the daily round of miniterial interviews was stopped.