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Paper Monitor

11:55 UK time, Wednesday, 11 April 2012

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

It can't always be Frost/Nixon or Dennis Potter's final interview. Sometimes journalists' encounters with the great and the good go badly.

Credit, then, to John Crace of the Guardian, who makes no attempt to conceal the disasterousness of an attempt to grill former boxer Mike Tyson.

The headline says it all: "Why are you asking me about pigeons?"

First the crackling transatlantic phone line makes it impossible for the writer to hear what Tyson is saying - and when Crace tries to clarify a half-deciphered story about his subject getting a prison counsellor pregnant, the one-time Undisputed Heavyweight Champion accuses the journalist of trying to misquote him.

"I can sense the interview is going pear-shaped and that most of my prepared questions are almost certainly off-limits," Crace tells the reader.

The remaining annotations tell the readers more than Tyson's actual answers:

I can feel the conversation closing in as Tyson's replies are getting shorter...

Tyson's PR interrupts the interview and suggests I keep my questions to current events and relevant topics. I try to oblige...

By now, I'm scrabbling to think of any question that might not annoy Tyson


Inevitably, Tyson tersely ends the call. Paper Monitor applauds Crace for not attempting to downplay the interview's failure - indeed, by doing so, he reveals rather more about Tyson than would otherwise be the case.

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