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To be fair Ian, I am not at all keen on the way you often fill the questions you ask with opinions that tempt the person interviewed to take a position he may later regret.

I gave an example in this forum the other day. In October 2008 Investigate, you asked John Key to confirm an analogy YOU had drawn between Sarah Palin and Bill English.

(Having said that, there are undoubtedly some that can see similarities between Palin and English, but not for the reason you suggested!)

I seem to recall a similar situation in your article on the Exclusive Brethren. Your questions seemed to be overly helping them with their answers!

Is this the kind of thing you are really objecting to?

We need more open questions.


There's a big difference between asking a leading question...which most interviewers do to draw their subjects out of their shells...and simply requesting a quote that says "X".

The English Palin comparison was a moment of levity in the interview...and not relevant to your point. Getting the Brethren to answer questions was like pulling teeth...

I would add however there is a huge difference between an extended verbatim I/v that is totally transparent...and putting words in someone's mouth for occasional supporting quotes. The latter is not transparent and can be highly manipulative.

A bit like faking hockey stick data in a science paper.
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In reality there is very little difference between asking a leading question and requesting a quote that says X. There is manipulation in both approaches.

I'm sorry but I have to tell you that my Bill English / Sarah Palin comparison was very apt.

To deal with that question, John Key needed to go to all the trouble of demonstrating how Sarah Palin and Bill English differed. By saying nothing, he was confirming YOUR comparison, and endorsing your Editorial line at that time,

And I have never ever read a journalist that can pose a leading question the way you do!

I am not surprised to hear that interviewing Exclusive Brethren was a frustrating exercise. But perhaps that was what you needed to report! But as I see it, you were wanting to justify what they did for them weren't you? Telling people what to say and saying things they agree to are tantamount to the same thing to me as a reader. And if you say one is unethical then I would conclude both are.


By the way Ian, had you considered an item on the commencement of attempted takeover of Anglican Church by the octagenarian pope and cronies.

Here is quite an interesting interview to whet your appetite:

I've seen a communication that suggests the Anglicans should similarly make an offer to disaffected Roman Catholic parishes! Would you support it?

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