7. Case Study: Hostile Interviews

a. Below are two interviews from British TV: the first is about the rights of men, and the second is about gun laws in the USA. Watch one of the videos, while your study partner watches the other video, then describe the interviews to each other.

While you’re watching, think about these points:

  • What type of questions are being asked?
  • How well does the interviewee answer the questions?
From “This Morning” on ITV. The interviewee is Peter Lloyd, an advocate for men’s rights. The interviewers are Amanda Holden and Philip Schofield.
From Channel 4 News. The interviewee is Neil McCabe, a pro-gun campaigner. The interviewer is Jon Snow.

b. Discuss:

  • (i) How fair or unfair were these interviews?
  • (ii) Did you feel that the interviewers were playing devil’s advocate or arguing from their own point of view?
  • (iii) Do you think the interviewers would have asked a different type of question if the interviewee had been a different person? For example:
    • a woman saying the same things that Peter Lloyd was saying about the treatment of men.
    • a male politician saying the same things that Peter Lloyd was saying.
    • a feminist talking about discrimination against women.
    • an anti-gun campaigner.
    • a professor of criminology arguing in favour of gun ownership.
  • (iv) In which situations is it appropriate for a journalist to ask hard-hitting questions, and in which situations is it inappropriate?

c. In pairs, think of a loaded question which the interviewer could ask in the following situations:

  • a TV interviewer quizzing a politician in your country about a recent change in the law.
  • an interview with a rock star who used to be top the charts but whose recent albums have been unsuccessful.
  • an up-and-coming young footballer.
  • a job interview.