Monday, September 12, 2016

Has Dermot Murnaghan forgotten what his job is?

It's a personal rule of thumb that, if a television or radio show includes the name of the presenter, it's intended to be entertaining rather than informative. So, the Morecambe and Wise Show was funny, Weekend World was serious news.

And so, the Dermot Murnaghan/Emily Thornberry exchange over the weekend merely serves to reinforce my theory. Giving the Shadow Foreign Secretary a pop quiz may have seemed vaguely humorous, but it was hardly news. Was it sexist? Possibly, you'd have to ask young Murnaghan that (and actually, why shouldn't he be held accountable for his actions?), but it is an unproven charge.

I suspect that if the tables had been turned, he might not have done at all well either, but it's all a distraction from the things that matter.

For in allowing Emily Thornberry to look vaguely sympathetic, the opportunity to quiz her on such issues as Syria, the next Secretary General of the United Nations, nuclear proliferation, has been overshadowed. And, funnily enough, that's what I assumed Dermot Murnaghan was for.

Her job is to hold the Government to account, and it's rather harder to know whether or not she'd be any better than Boris Johnson if we only get to hear whether or not she can identify the Foreign Minister of Japan. And, even if she can, it isn't that important, as they do change, even as the policies of the nations they represent remain constant(ish).

So, poor form, Mr Murnaghan, try harder and remember what it was that got your name 'in lights' in the first place...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No platforming seems to be a popular action taken in Universities these days and this may be the news broadcaster version of it: invite a political voice onto your programme, then remove their chance to speak about important issues, and instead ask questions that will be forgotten in 30 seconds if she gets it right with the public no wiser over what the voice wanted to say. Perhaps it's even worse as if the voice refuses to play ball or cannot answer correctly and suddenly they appear argumentative or incompetent. While not obviously sexist (and probably not subconsciously sexist either) it would be interesting to see if it's a question method all political voices face or whether just on a certain side of the political spectrum.