Saturday 6 October 2018

When Emily Met Stormy

Emily Maitlis (l); Stormy Daniels (r)

On Twitter at least, last night's Newsnight went down like a lead balloon strapped to the back of an overweight rhinoceros that's just leaped out of an aeroplane with a concrete parachute.

Hundreds upon hundreds of tweets chirruped forth slamming the programme for "tabloid gossip", "disgusting journalism", "salacious gutter press nonsense" "drivel", "trash", etc. 

The most commonly-asked question was, "How low can the BBC go?". 

Why? Because the programme interviewed 'adult film star' Stormy Daniels (who has a book out) about Mr Trump and his penis. 

The programme began:
Evan Davis: Is it just salacious or far more serious? It's the case of the adult film star versus a President. He denies her allegation they had an affair but admits paying money to her. Tonight, we hear why she felt she needed to reveal some very intimate details about President Trump.
Stormy: It was that he attacked me first. I was called a liar, that it never happened. And unless he's had a penis transplant then I'm pretty sure that's a checkmate. 
The President inadvertently lost some dignity today, boarding Air Force One seemingly with toilet paper on his shoe. The ripple effects of the payment to Stormy Daniels may be far more serious.
And, yes, the programme really did chose to include a clip of President Trump 'losing some dignity' by boarding Air Force One' "seemingly with toilet paper on his shoe" during its introductory sequence, alongside that 'penis' comment from Stormy.

The next feature - also on US politics - was an interview with a journalist from the left-wing Vox website about the Brett Kavanaugh nomination leading others to wonder if Newsnight is being targeted at an American market, aiming to become a second MSNBC, or whether the programme is simply manifesting the symptoms of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Vox pop Laura McGann

What struck me thoughout was the framing of the issues by Newsnight. Take this from Evan Davis, for example:
Over the last two weeks, sex and politics have been in a spectacular collision in the US. Respect for the testimony of women versus the presumption of innocence for a man
That already overloads things in a feminist direction. He could just have said:
Over the last two weeks, sex and politics have been in a spectacular collision in the US. Respect for the testimony of women versus the presumption of innocence.
And note the use of 'henchman' here from Emily Maitlis (to Stormy Daniels):
So it was a decade or so later - 2015, 2016 - his [ie. Mr Trump's] lawyers, his henchmen, arrived to ask you to sign a nondisclosure agreement. Did you understand what that was about then? 

(At least she didn't call them 'hired goons'.)

Or this loaded question from Emily (also to Miss Daniels):
If you look at the Brett Kavanaugh scenario that is being played out as we speak, there's this whole saga where a woman has come forward to offer her testimony of sexual abuse and the President has chosen to mock her. Do you think it has emboldened more women to come forward or do you think it has made men feel that they will be protected? 
And what do you make of Evan's 'theory' here about the Kavanaugh nomination, essentially blaming the President for the nomination controversy?
Here is a theory. You get a glimpse of how Trump works. He escalates the issue and makes it about the culture war, the bigger culture war, and that encourages everybody to behave around which tribal allegiance they have in that war, rather than to look at the merits of the judge and the way he behaved.  
I felt like King Tut last night watching this, I was tutting so much. (As you might be at that play on words).


  1. From the Bill Clinton joke book:

    Seven inch heels, thick gaudy make-up, thigh skimming mini dress, pouting to camera, feigned indignation...are we really supposed to believe this, from the BBC?

    1. Got a chuckle from me - which is more than can be said of anything on last night's HIGNFY!

  2. Hope Katty is on some kind of watch list.


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