Thursday, March 29, 2007

 

Guido's Newsnight Foray Illadvised

The blogging 'community' has to be pleased leading political bloggers are more and more used by the mainstream media; Iain Dale regularly pops up on radio 4 discussion programmes; we had a flurry of blog related stories in the summer of 2006; and last night we had Britain's most popular blogger, Paul Staines, better known as Guido Fawkes, appearing on Newsnight. There he clashed verbal swords with Michael White and the redoubtable Paxo and you can see the interview via here.

If this had been a contest- which to some extent it was- I fear Guido would have lost by a margin familiar to our not so gallant soccer lads. His first mistake was to appear like an IRA terrorist, blacked out for anonymity(see picture). Paxo rightly poured scorn on this and White quickly blew the disguise by mentioning his real name. Then, there's his voice; as a commenter on today's post on Guido mentions, it's not a good broadcasting voice, sounding too lightweight and youthful. Finally, faced with these two experienced broadcasters he seemed ill at ease and his claim that mainstream political journalists got too chummy with politicians for the good of truth and democracy, seemed to make no discernible inroads.

To be fair, some thought his interview a success- eg my fellow blogger Roy who blogs at Mantex, emailed me to this effect from his Newsnight accessible hideout in Malaga and a fair number of the crowd who regularly comment on Guido's blog agreed. But Staines/Guido himself is probably the best judge of his own performance: 'definitely a mistake'. Correct, but on the positive side, it's a definite benchmark of progress and recognition for us toilers in the blogospere; he's stimulated discussion which is his constant aim; so he shouldn't beat himself up too much.

Comments:
I don't know why Guido makes such a fuss about revealing himself - because everybody knows who he is by now. And the blacked out 'appearance' was a mistake.

I also agree that he doesn't come over very well when speaking - in the same way that David Beckham doesn't. It's difficult to take somebody with such a light voice seriously.

But I thought White was a nasty piece of work who clearly thinks Guido is like something stuck to his shoe. And Nick Robinson gets more lightweight every time I see him.
 
"The blogging 'community' has to be pleased leading political bloggers are more and more used by the mainstream media" - is that an order?!
 
I thought that the Fawkes story on Newsnight was, at best, a light diversion. the blogosphere is essentially unregulated commentary; bloggers are writing for themselves, and working off their various passions and interests. In Guido's case, those are political gossip, of an often rather crude variety, and attacks on the Blair/Brown ascendancy.

We understand that political journalists are part of the Westminster village, and read or hear them accordingly; but by being part of the Westminster village they are also able to demonstrate a higher level of insight and knowledge than the average blogger. And I do wonder whether part of Guido's issue is that he is desperate to be a recognised - if maverick - part of the 'village' himself!

Blogs are great, and clearly have their place in the ongoing conversation of the politically interested nation, but it would be a mistake to elevate them out of perspective!

I enjoy your blog, skipper, and refer my A-level students to it, because it is a continuation of the work that you do as a politics lecturer and commentator, but again, I suspect you might agree that it is the printed word - in your books and articles, as checked, proof-read and edited - that carries more lasting authority. There is a role for regulation!
 
Not only do I feel that he should whip himself severely, he should also hang, draw and quarter himself.

Let us not forget that it was he, Paul Staines, who formed links with the BNP in Hull to attack legitimate leftie protesters.

This self proclaimed Libertarian who censors criticisms on his own blog, and informed on his source when questioned well below the third degree.

The real Guy Fawkes was a national hero. This fake one is a national disgrace.
 
It's certainly a sign that the blogosphere is becoming increasingly recognised, but I'm not sure that Guido's appearance on Newsnight is "a benchmark of progress". Rather, it just indicates the continued supremacy of broadcast media.

Oh, and not only is his voice high-pitched, but he also seems to pronounce words far too quickly - missing out lots of important syllables in the process.
 
I though White wiped the floor with Guido. It wasn't just the foolishness of hiding in the shadows when his cover is long blown, nor even his "high-pitched" voice(and lets be honest, we mean "effeminate" don't we?); the thing is he just couldn't hack it in open debate. The paradox is that he had a point: journalists are often far too "cosy" with the politicians; although in fairness White conceded that at the outset.
 
I have to agree with Politaholic on this one, watching Guido v's White was like the boxing equivelant of watching Iron Mike Tyson taking on Eddie the Eagle.

Guido's 'rugby-shirt wearing' voice made me fell totally unsympathetic towards his position. His performance reminded me of the Ricky Gervais character David Brent on the TV show 'The Office', when he started showing off by dancing in the office thinking he was quite cool, when in fact all the while the dancing was a total embarassment, leaving him looking completely out of his depth.
 
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