Sunday, 3 July 2011

The beginning of the end for the soundbite...?

As the BBC increases access to unedited interview material on-line, is it time for politicians tae think again about their use of soundbites?

The peasants are revolting, and our political classes are having none of it.  According to the BBC news, Labour leader Ed Miliband feels that "these strikes are wrong at a time when negotiations are going on".  So they put up an extended section of the interview that gave them this particular soundbite on the BBC News website.

As you can hear, he is asked 5 or 6 questions, and every answer contains a refactoring of the same words - Miliband has one soundbite he wants to give, and nothing else.  Perhaps that's fine for the BBC under most circumstances, but I strongly suspect that in this case they really wanted to interview him, and that this video was put up as a bit of quiet revenge against Miliband for not playing ball.

As a tactic, it's got potential.  Politicians don't really want to talk to us - they want to give us professionally pre-spun platitudes, and keep everything tightly controlled.  But this video clip shows that they're not in complete control, and hopefully will convince them to actually communicate with us, albeit through the intermediary of the interviewer.

So I hope that the BBC keep this up and that other press organisations pick up on it.

If politicians refuse to do a proper interview, let them look like fools.  Maybe by the time the next election comes around, they'll be over their addiction to spin and start talking freely again, like Real Human Beings.

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