Thursday, January 15, 2009

Green Shoots Vadera Hysteria

The furore about Baroness (=Lady) Vadera's "gaffe" is an object lesson in the superficiality of political discourse, and the innate tendency for interviewers to try to sex up language in order to put unwisdom into the mouths of interviewees.

It is hard to find the exact transcript, but the BBC reports:

"On ITV News, she was asked when the UK could expect to see some "green shoots" amid the economic downturn and replied: "It's a very uncertain world right now globally... I wouldn't want to be the one predicting it."

Note that the BBC have cut her actual "green shoots" words out of their report.

The Tory economics speaker (for the moment) George Osborne went ape over it, but Norman Lamont was much more measured in his response.

Basically, the ITV interviewer managed to stick his foot out at the right time, and made her stumble. Well done. Give that man a bonus and a party bag.

He could equally have said "You're talking the economy down all the time, aren't you? What about these positive signs?

So much of journalism is diversion from dealing with the real substance of politics and economics, whether they are ramming a copious froth of celebrity gossip down our gagging throats, or rushing off on false political non-issues like this one. Get real.

The lesson here for Green interviewees is : Never let journalists put words in your mouth. When they say "So would you say that..." reply with "Those are your words, but what I am saying is..."

"Don't let them fool you every day
Make April Fool a No News day"

Which is the slogan of the Campaign to Boycott Newspapers on April 1st.

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