Monday, 3 June 2019

Emma gets the hump

(h/t MB)

Emma Barnett, in the Radio 5 Live studio

Today's The Emma Barnett Show on BBC Radio 5 Live featured a bust-up between former Trump advisor Sebastian Gorka and the BBC's Emma Barnett. 

She "terminated" the interview after just four minutes.

It got off to a bad start for poor Emma when she asked Mr. Gorka if he was a British citizen, clearly in the belief that he was.

Evidently, she was then going to use that 'fact' to spring her pre-prepared 'gotcha' question on him.

Unfortunately for her, Sebastian isn't a British citizen.

She probably should have done some prior research. She could even just have checked Wikipedia, which records the fact that he became a US citizen in 2012. 

(Not to sound smug, because I only know this because I monitor BBC interviews and have rememberd it, but even I already knew that. And I've never guest-presented Newsnight).

Mr. Gorka then aggressively pushed back on that would-be 'gotcha' question of hers -  which she'd ploughed on with and asked anyway!

He mocked lazy BBC 'groupthink'. 

Instead of answering his criticism or making light of it, she got the hump, started sulking and behaved petulantly, deploying several varieties of passive-aggressive behaviour (including heavy irony, self-pity and 'dead airing' her guest). 

Sebastian Gorka then made some perfectly sensible points contrasting Mr Trump's and Mr Obama's attitude to the UK - complete with a totally fair parting shot at media double standards on the matter. 

Now, Mr. Gorka may or may not have then needed challenging on his claim that Mayor Khan is "a supporter of antisemites" (as they say in exam papers, 'Discuss'), but Emma had her pre-prepared "loser" question and wasn't for dealing with such weighty matters. Instead she persisted with that "loser" question (as she was clearly always going to do).

Sebastian was surely not wrong to react with derision to her claim that she hadn't heard the word "loser" since the playground. That was just plain silly from Our Emma.

By that time Emma had again seriously got the hump with her interviewee (a hump that would have made Quasimodo envious), especially after he called her "churlish". 

Not too long after she abruptly brought the interview again and sulked again, getting Tom Newston Dunn to ride to her aid (like a knight to a damsel in distress). 

I can't help but think that Andrew Neil would have handled this much better.

Anyhow, here's the transcript:

Emma Barnett: I'm joined now by Sebastian Gorka, former Deputy Assistant to President Trump, now host of a radio show America First and commentator in the US. Welcome to the programme.
Sebastian Gorka: Thank you kindly. 
Emma Barnett: You're a British citizen, is that right? 
Sebastian Gorka: I'm an American citizen, naturalised, born in the UK.
Emma Barnett: Ah, OK, fine. But in terms of your take on this, last year thousands took to the streets to protest, a YouGov poll suggests up to a million could march in protest this time (expecting the bulk of those to be tomorrow). Does that make you proud of British democracy and freedom of speech? 
Sebastian Gorka: It's funny. I was asked the last... that same question exactly the last time Trump visited. I don't know if there's a lack of imagination amongst you and your colleagues. Yes, I am happy with the UK...
Emma Barnett(interrupting) Well, we've got off to a lovely start! Thanks for the commentary on my questions. Shall we keep going? What's the answer then? 
Sebastian Gorka: Would you allow me to continue? Do you just want to interrupt me? [Silence]. Would you like an answer or not?
Emma Barnett: Well, I was leaving silence in hope of one. Do go on! It's called 'banter' in this country, but carry on! 
Sebastian Gorka: I thought it was a radio interview, not banter. Banter is what you do down the pub. Look, yes, I'm very happy that the UK is not a dictatorship and that people are allowed to protest things. So, yes, I think that's a good thing. As the mother of democracies I welcome the fact that you're not a totalitarian regime.
Emma Barnett: Thank you. Before even arriving the President waded into...
Sebastian Gorka: (interrupting) You're very welcome.
Emma Barnett(pausing ostentatiously)...British politics. He talked about Boris Johnson being an excellent candidate for Prime Minister. He talked about it being a mistake not to involve Nigel Farage in the negotiations for our deal leaving the European Union. And he also made comment about the fact that we should be prepared to leave without a deal. Is that right for him to be saying those things?
Sebastian Gorka: I think he has a right to do so. I think it's much better that he says positive things like that. President Obama said if you don't vote the right way and remain in the EU you'll have to get to the back of the queue. So I'd love to know what kind of criticisms and questions you had of people associated with President Obama when he weighted into British politics when he was President. But, yes, I mean, he has a right to make these comments, and the UK has a warm spot in a special place in his heart, and he likes Nigel Farage and he's sympathetic to Boris Johnson. So he made these statements because he believes them.
Emma Barnett: But he's also tweeting that the mayor of the city he's just arrived in is "a loser".
Sebastian Gorka: Well, I agree completely with that. Not only that, he's a supporter of antisemites. Sadiq Khan..
Emma Barnett(interrupting) I thought you said banter was for the pub. What about when the President tweets that someone's "a loser"? 
Sebastian Gorka: That's actually a statement of truth. If you look at the crime rates in London; if you look at the condition of housing, public housing; if you look at the condition of public transport, it's not banter but a statement of facts. Sadiq Khan is probably the worst mayor London has ever had. That's not banter, that's a statement of fact.
Emma Barnett: He didn't say was "the worst mayor", he called him "a loser", which is actually a phrase I haven't heard since I was a playground.
Sebastian Gorka: OK, do you want to do a serious interview or do you want to be churlish? 
Emma Barnett: Well, it's serious when you like the point and it's not serious when you dislike the point. So you call me "churlish"...
Sebastian Gorka(interrupting) It's not serious to say you haven't heard the word "loser" since the playground. That's pathetic. That's just not serious journalism.
Emma Barnett: Sebastian Gorka, thank you very much for your time. I don't think we're going to get...
Sebastian Gorka(interrupting) You're welcome.
Emma Barnett: ...any further. I'm going to turn to a proper journalist now, someone who's actually just been with the President. If I may talk to Tom Newton Dunn. I had to terminate that. (Words indecipherable). I don't think we were getting any further. You have just been in the Oval Office...


  1. Seem to be having problems getting a post up here...

    1. I'm not seeing anything odd behind the scenes, and I'm checking everything I can see. That said, I did lose one of my own comments earlier today - for no apparent reason (particularly annoying as it was rather long).

    2. Thanks for giving us the transcript.

      The blithe arrogance of BBC trusties like Emma Barnett always amazes. Then when they come up against someone who can dish it out, they crumble and complain before resorting to the emergency off button. I think Barnett realised she'd been caught out in a lie (that the last time she heard the word "loser" was when she was in the playground) - a trivial one of course but a lie nonetheless she used for political effect - to belittle President Trump...

      And that leads on to the obvious question: why do nearly all BBC presenters want to belittle President Trump. We saw it with the tweets from Sopel and Bryant suggesting that Trump lied when he said he had not called Meghan Markle nasty. Even Faiza Shaheen (!) on the Sky press preview last night accepted that Trump was referring to Markle's comments (which were put to him) and not her as a person.

      The BBC just make themselves look petty and pathetic...and of course the bias is so obvious it becomes counter-productive.

    3. I've been preparing a post tonight on Jon Sopel's tweets and the distorted reporting of Donald Trump's Meghan Markle comments. So Nick Bryant's been at it too?

      That Faiza citation is very intriguing because even on Jon Sopel's own Twitter threads, a truly surprising number of people were saying that, despite being anti-Trump themselves, what Donald Trump said about Meghan was being misreported by the likes of the BBC's Jon Sopel.

    4. Looking forward to the Sopel post, Craig.

      He had been sneering at Trump for two days on the TV News too.

      The whole tone of the reporting across the BBC network has been disrespectful and lacking proper balance.

      No more than I expected.

      It’s been open season with no restraint shown whatsoever. They have all been happy to stick the boot in on Trump and his policies - Kuenssberg, Clive Myrie, Sopel, Lucy Manning, Derbyshire, Barnett. Many more I’m sure.

  2. And here's what I think Gorka was trying to reference - he was interrupted of course...Sadiq Khan's defence of notorious anti-semite and racist Louis Farrakhan:

    1. Wow. I'll add that to the post. "Minister Farrakhan"!!

    2. Why do the BBC never go "back in time" to ask Khan questions about his dodgy activities. They are always keen to raise old quotes and actions when interviewing people Farage, Batten, Johnson, Rees-Mogg and others they don't like...

  3. A shame that it wasn't pointed out to Emma that it is very likely Trump was stirred in to attacking Khan by Khan's virulent anti-Trump piece in the Observer, which kicked off with the 'very fine people on both sides'lie.

  4. She wasn't * getting anywhere * with the interview meaning he wouldn't allow this idiotic woman to humiliate him.

  5. Quite impressive for Emma to study Cathy Newman and... learn nothing.

    1. So what you're saying is that they're both getting it about right?

  6. 'Orange-man bad' ... he said some raw off mike sexual comments in 2005
    So obviously he should be dehumanised as "sexist" "racist"
    FFS that is not right, you don't judge people on minor old sins
    and Trump does care about blacks
    and has African American supporters who celebrate him increasing black employment.

    'BBC-presenter Emma good woman'
    Really ‘Police found emails between Mr Barnett and his daughter Emma, talking about his `whores’.
    Manchester Evening News in 2010 talking about the jailing of her mother and accountant father about their jailing
    and making £5m out of prostitution money laundering

    It seem a PR person has been busy sanitising Emma's Wiki page says former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan

    Cos of her privileged background and tough interview she gave Corbyn, Labour supporters call her a BBC-righty.

  7. Fans of Emma Barnett state that her parents criminal activities are nothing to do with her. Well her expensive private education was funded on the backs (or the knees, or the faces) of young Eastern European girls brought here to work in her parents various brothels in Manchester. To claim she knew nothing about this must be a lie. Some of the photos advertising Mr Barnett's "whores" were taken in "the Piano Room" at their lovely family home.
    I disliked Emma Barnett anyway I find her biased, chippy and unprofessional. Old Blokes in the media seem to give her a free pass because they fancy her rather brassy bleach blonde glamour.
    NB I have heard her claim to be a Tory. She is not as many assume on the liberal Left.