The Today programme's John Humphrys has rejected the views of senior BBC colleagues who think broadcast political interviews have become too aggressive, claiming that politicians are "fighters" who "relish" confrontation.
The host of Radio 4’s Today programme refuted the idea recently put forward by Ian Katz, the editor of Newsnight, that audiences would benefit if politicians were given “more space” by interviewers. Mr Humphrys said he thought politicians enjoyed being “pushed quite hard” in interviews.
The message I get from [the listeners] is that they are distinctly unenthusiastic about that idea that we engage conversationally. If anything I suspect that people want rather more persistence.
Politicians are fighters, without exception, that’s what they do. You don’t get to be an MP, let alone a cabinet minister, unless you are tough and willing to fight your corner. There isn’t a single politician out there who isn’t capable of engaging in this sort of combat and relishing it otherwise you wouldn’t stay in the job.
- John Humphrys, Radio 4 Today presenter