Saturday, 24 March 2012

Richard Bacon and ten standard left-wing interviewer "gambits"

Standard BBC lefty
If you would enjoy hearing a smug, ignorant BBC lefty interviewer getting his nuts mangled by a right-wing roister-doister who has clearly decided that he's madder'n hell and isn't minded to take it any more, then I can highly recommend James Delingpole’s demolition (or should that be grilling?) of that  semi-educated blister Richard Bacon on  Radio 5 Live  last Thursday afternoon. You can find the whole programme here - Delingpole's bit starts at 1:16:00, and it's a hoot. 

Delingpole’s aim was to promote his new book, Watermelons: How the Environmentalists are Killing the Planet, Destroying the Economy and Stealing Your Children's Future: Bacon’s was to belittle his guest – Delingpole left Bacon curled into a foetal ball, covered in egg, weeping softly in the corner of the studio.

Delingpole isn’t always an effective media performer – like a lot of writers, you can almost hear him mentally editing his words as he goes along - but his evident loathing for Bacon, and his refusal to fall into the standard traps many right-wing interviewees fall into made this a bit of a triumph. Speaking of which, here's a list of ten of the standard left-liberal interviewing "gambits" - and the ways in which conservative interviewees usually manage to fall for them. (Bacon employed all of them against Delingpole - to no effect whatsoever).

The "All Right-Wingers Are Bastards" Gambit
The interviewee overcompensates for being unfairly portrayed as a mad/evil/lying/baby-eating/granny-bashing/worker-exploiting/planet-destroying/war-mongering scumbag, by being incredibly nice and reasonable to the point of fawning wetness. (Of course, right-wingers should always do exactly what Delingpole does to Bacon, and verbally bitch-slap the impertinent creep.)

The "Misleading Quotation" Gambit
You, the guest, allow the interviewer to use selective, uncontextualised quotations, and then let him cut you off before you can point out that you’re being misquoted, or that you were quoting someone with whom you don’t agree. This usually goes something like this:

BBC: In your book/article/talk, you called for the Royal Family to be executed…
RIGHT-WINGER: No, what I was saying…
BBC: But you used those words?
RIGHT-WINGER: Yes, but I was quoting…
BBC: But that’s an appalling thing to say, isn’t it?
RIGHT-WINGER: Of course it’s an appalling thing to say, but I didn’t actually…
BBC: I'm glad you agree that it was unforgiveable. Well, let’s move on…

The "Pretending They've Answered the Question" Gambit
Allowing the interviewer to switch tack as soon as they realise they’re in trouble. The interviewer usually achieves this by pretending you’ve either already answered their last question (unsatisfactorily) or that you’ve refused to answer it altogether. Right-wing guests have a tendency to allow themselves to be dragged from subject to subject as easily as if they'd been doped with ketamine.

The "What Evidence Have You Got!" Gambit
Wilting in the face of demands to provide evidence for your beliefs, usually barked out when you’re in the middle of explaining something unrelated and rather complex. This is also known as the “Perry Mason Technique” and is designed to confuse and intimidate the guest, while also implying that they’ve previously refused to answer the point.

The "Voice of the People"" Gambit
Not pointing out that the BBC has made up its mind on a subject and that the interviewer is simply following the party line. When the interviewer pretends not to have an opinion - i.e. employs that hoary old standby, “I’m only asking the questions the public wants answered” – the guest should make it clear that the lefty is a lying, hypocritical toad.

The "Meaningless Research" Gambit 
Allowing the interviewer to introduce snippets of utterly meaningless, biased “research” as if they’re Holy Writ, without calling them to account (this is a favourite left-wing ruse).

The "Fake CV" Gambit
Allowing the interviewer to imply that you don’t know anything about the subject – or that you’ve misrepresented your credentials – and not pointing out that the interviewer is a cosmically ignorant retard who hasn’t even bothered to read your book or article.

The "Johnny No-Mates" Gambit
Allowing the interviewer to paint you as a deranged, obsessive and possibly dangerous loner, when millions of people and many experts agree with you.

The "Goodbye Liar!" Gambit
Allowing the interviewer to get in an unjustified and irrelevant ad hominem “zinger” at the end of the interview just when he’d given you the impression it was all over and you’re starting to relax. (Delingpole handles this one masterfully, but Bacon gets in the last word by - I suspect - having Delingpole's microphone shut off.)

The "J.K. Rowling" Gambit
Allowing the interviewer to imply that criticising some of the people you disagree with is actually an attack on everyone who disagrees with you. This is known as the J.K. Rowling Gambit (I wrote about it here), so called because, – i.e. if you attack single mothers on benefits in general, you’re specifically attacking J.K. Rowling, because she was once a single mother on benefits, and now she's jolly rich and gives millions of pounds to the Labour Party, so there!

The "Fundamentalist Loony" Gambit
You fail to handle that tired old “So there are no circumstances would make you change your mind on this issue” question – i.e. you’re so irrational, no amount of proof would shake your faith, ergo you’re a religious nutter.

The "Politically Motivated" Gambit
When the interviewer implies that you're more interested in spreading political propaganda that getting at the truth - i.e. you're lying - you fail to point out that a news corporation which deliberately suppresses a whole range of opinion on Climate Change, Europe, Foreign Aid, Immigration, the Benefits System etc. long ago gave up any interest in the truth.


  1. Just listened to the R5L interview. The great phrase that stuck in my mind was Delingpole's "the great Global Warning Ponzi Scheme." According to the Sundat Telegraph magazine Richard Bacon [Who he? Never heard of him] is being stalked by a series of rather nasty "internet trolls" so fingers crossed...Delingpole was splendid [being the splendid military history enthusiast that he is].

    Struck my own blow the other day. Having just had a new roof installed I was stopped by one of the village busy-bodies [I was in a very bad mood]:

    "Ah, I hear you've just had solar panels put in your roof," he said.

    "Do you think I'm a complete wanker or what?" I snarled at him.

    "Oh," he said "it's just that I've had solar panels put in myself...."

    I stalked off giving him the Richard III round-the-hump stare.

    The great characteristic of AGW [expletive deleted] is their ability to mind everybody's business except their own.

  2. The point of Global Warming nonsense which may or may not be true is that the oil is running out. "We need rationing becaue the pumps are running dry" is not as good a rallying cry as "everybody will boil to death". Ask Professor Colin Campbell of Peak Oil....

    Anyway ...Richard Bacon ...biased ...?