Congratulations to John Humphrys for his long stint on the BBC Today programme (since 1987) and all his previous tv incarnations and I look forward to seeing him continue with his resenting role on Master Mind. However I have personal experience of being interviewed by him where all he did was to condition his listeners about his own opinion on the issue being ‘discussed’ (sic).
His so-called robustness in cutting through the disinclination of some interviewees to answer questions adequately is to be applauded, but it all too frequently amounted to patronising his interviewee and giving limited opportunity to answer a point without interruption.
This is what a lot of people apparently enjoy, but along with Jeremy Paxman (whom I have also faced), this style of haranguing victims is not really conducive to advancing understanding. It does far more to build the ego of the interviewer and although there are other journalists who come close, these two practitioners in particular became past masters of the art.
We all have our weaknesses and having been in a job for a long time doesn’t always guarantee impartiality and undiluted excellence.
Clive Turner, Paphos