This must be the most cringe-inducing interview by a senior journalist I’ve ever seen.
It’s conducted by Kirsty Wark, one of the BBC’s top presenters, and takes places on Newsnight, the BBC’s flagship nightly current affairs programme.
It truly makes me more ashamed of the “profession” of journalism than I already was – and I didn’t think that was possible.
Throughout the interview, Wark abandons even the pretence of doing what journalism is supposed to be about: interrogating the centres of power and holding them to account.
Instead Wark mimics adversarial journalism by interrogating the US journalist Glenn Greenwald about his role in the NSA leaks, as though she’s a novice MI5 recruit. To do this she has to parrot British government misinformation and fire at him questions so childish even she seems to realise half way through them how embarrassing they are.
This is actually how most Newsnight interviews run: creating the theatre of conflict between journalist and interviewee that conceals the real issues rather than revealing them. If one wanted to produce news that looked honest while actually being deeply dishonest this is exactly how one would do it.
The reason that the charade is exposed in this case is because the interviewee, Greenwald, is another journalist, and a far better one than Wark. So every time she relays an MI5 talking point, he can point out that she’s not doing the work of a journalist, even by the official definition she is supposed to believe in.
Anyway, watch it and weep…