Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Questionable Time

I managed to watch some of the infamous recent episode of Question Time today at lunch, and I'll hopefully watch the rest tomorrow. While reserving my judgement of Nick Griffin until I've seen the whole thing, I think I can safely make the following points about the programme itself:

  • It seems skewed absurdly towards soundbites - each person gets to say what they want, with the moderator not keeping them to the question at all.
  • The format is confused, with much of the input from the audience being dismissed with "we'll get to that in a minute" or "I want to focus on this point for now".
  • Points come and go with no in depth analysis because there is no time for it, and therefore there is no requirement to back up arguments with justification or evidence. When Nick Griffin said "My grandfather was in the RAF, I am not a Nazi", no one stopped him and asked whether there was actually any kind of logical connection between those two statements, and whether in fact his actions and deeds might have more influence on our view of him as a fascist than the actions and deeds of someone who happened to be related to him.
  • With six panellists and several questions, each panellist only gets a minute on average per topic (and often not even that). They barely have time to get to the crux of their argument (assuming they have one) before someone else butts in, or they are cut off by the moderator.
  • Because the questions are unseen, panellists can come off as very knowledgeable through having the right information to hand by chance, and can seem very unconvincing if they don't. Hence the appearance of the panellists in response to the questions can have little to do with the validity of the positions they hold, and much to do with how well they've judged the possible questions.
That'll do for now - it frustrates me when watching it that so many possible arguments go unsaid, and so many loose ends are left without analysis. I accept that there must be some sacrifices made for the sake of entertainment, but I think too many have been made for this format to have much use for formulating opinion.

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