Richard Madeley 4 Gavin Williamson 0

  • Microphone

It really didn’t look good did it.

A tv presenter asks a reasonable question and a seasoned and senior politician simply ignores it and carries on with his own agenda. So the question is repeated and repeated. Four times, it’s asked.

And it’s ignored again, and again, and again..

If you haven’t seen the now-infamous interview on Good Morning Britain between Richard Madeley and Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson then , watch now and wince later….

The man who publicly told Russia to “go away” and “shut up” should either have apologised for the original lapse of judgement or defended it with vigour but to ignore the question showed arrogance and contempt for the interviewer and by extension the tv audience. Even if the question wasn’t relevant to the topic in hand an MP of his standing – the UK’s Defence Secretary -should have been able to think on his feet and come up with something credible however irritated he might have been by an issue he probably thought had been put to grass weeks ago.

On a daily basis, politicians appear on the media and try to avoid the difficult questions but this was different; an interviewer having the balls to terminate the interview after a trying on FOUR occasions to get some sort of answer.

What is so infuriating (whatever your political leaniings) is that all the MP had to do was offer an defence/apology and then move on but he made it much,much worse by not answering the question and therefore handed the moral – and editorial- high ground to the interviewer.

Wot no media training?

Someone of Mr Williamson’s experience will presumably have had media training which hopefully will have included mock-news intensive workshops where you are encouraged to think on your feet when a verbal sling or arrow is thrown your way.

It’s an essential part of crisis communications training. What he couldn’t have expected was Madeley to cut him off.

Maybe if that kind of thing was to happen more often we might get more straightforward honesty from our politicians and subsequently a bit more respect, but don’t put your money on it,yet.

When I’m training senior managers from the corporate or sporting world or indeed public sector I  advise them NOT to ape their favourite politicians when being interviewed on tv or radio … a different set of rules and expectations apply.

At least the much-maligned Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius had the grace,dignity and bravery to apologise publicly to supporters after his major errors in the Champions League Final against Real Madrid – he didn’t just pretend that nothing had happened.

I await Gavin Williamson’s next high-profile political interview, with interest (and,incidentally, Richard Madeley’s).

I’d put a fiver on the MP’s next interviewer ‘doing a Madeley’ by attempting to get him to answer that question.

Let’s hope by that time he’ll have learned his lesson.

Or had some media training.

By |2018-05-31T12:26:03+00:00May 31st, 2018|Categories: crisis communications, crisis management, Media training, Uncategorized|Tags: , |