Monday, 28 September 2009

Andrew Marr's descent into the gutter

It is quite extraordinary to hear the justifications being made for Andrew Marr's decision to ask Gordon Brown whether he took pills for depression yesterday, even after the rumours spread on some blogs had been categorically denied by Downing Street. I am astonished that my old friend Barney Jones, who edits the programme, thought this fair game. This was the sort of gutter journalism from which the programme is usually immune, and its absence is one reason I watch the programme fairly religiously.

The sole purpose of the question was to embarrass the Prime Minister and ensure that any headlines in today's newspapers focused on this issue rather than what was otherwise a strong interview by the PM with a good policy announcement on the banks attached to it. As Alastair Campbell put it on his blog:
I know it will give him the passing satisfaction of pats on the back from journos whose backs he pats when they come on to do their 'excellent, as ever' reviews of the papers. But it was low stuff. I'm sure Andrew would agree that everyone has certain areas of their life that they'd prefer not to be asked about live on TV.

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