Jeremy Paxman is a journalism god

This week, we’ve been talking a bit about The Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin’s new show calling for a return to decent journalism on US TV. In it, there are well intentioned journalists who are supposed to be good at interrogating people to get the truth out of them.

Let it be stated for the record that although Jeff Daniels and co may seem hard-hitting to Aaron Sorkin, he clearly hasn’t seen the god-like Jeremy Paxman on the BBC’s Newsnight. Last night, he demolished Chloe Smith, one of the Treasury’s ministers, over a recent u-turn in policy over fuel tax duty. If you ever want to see what a proper firebrand journalist can do, this is a must-see:

Of course, Paxo has form. Possibly one of the greatest journalistic interviews in British TV history involved Jeremy Paxman interrogating the then-Home Secretary Michael Howard over certain decisions he’d made regarding prisons. It’s amazing the power of one single question and certainly Michael Howard’s reputation was never the same afterwards:

And if that’s whet your appetite, here’s a collection of great Paxman moments.

  • Julia Williams

    OTOH, the poor cow had clearly been told to stick to a particular line and I did admire her doggedness in doing so. And there was only one bit where she looked totally rattled. Her composure under fire (even if everything she said was nonsense) was impressive, I thought. But if I were her, I'd be KICKING whoever briefed me today!

  • The other David

    Yes, Paxman is a hard-hitting interviewer, and while he did a job on Chloe Smith, I still admire him most for his grilling of George Galloway during the 2005 election returns. Perhaps it's just 'cause I dislike Mr. Galloway, but that to me is Paxman at his best. Go get'em, Paxman!