Comments for http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html en-gb 30 Fri 31 Jul 2015 13:36:36 GMT+1 A feed of user comments from the page found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html dennisjunior1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=97#comment43 I think that Obama, had a decent job interview; but, as with all presidents, questions will need to be answer on the job... Fri 26 Dec 2008 02:55:56 GMT+1 jim_of_oz http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=95#comment42 I don't understand why a gallon of milk or loaf of bread is such a benchmark for relating to the "common man." I do my own grocery shopping and cooking and do it with a no-kid family income around the median. The best I can do is to say the little carton of milk I buy is around US$1.69 - I think it's a quart, but wouldn't bet money on it. And the last loaf of bread I bought is around US$2.I don't know - does that make me elitist, stupid or just resigned to the fact that I have to buy a carton of milk no matter the cost within reason? Wed 14 May 2008 13:43:38 GMT+1 robinhoodmykinofguy http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=93#comment41 I am a average american with insight. Our country has beencompromised by leaders who would rather feather their neststhan do right for America.Unfortunatley the deeds have been done and we have to live bythe results.What America does affects the world. Need I say more!!!!!! Wed 14 May 2008 03:02:40 GMT+1 joshkin2001 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=90#comment40 I'll answer the challenge that PBS and NPR are not advertiser-supported before it's offered.Watch them, listen to them, count how many 'corporate sponsors' get their logos in front of your eyes. Count how many fifteen and thirty second spots are given over to an oil company telling you about it's 'plans for the environment'.Then think about how "Public" the Public Broadcasting Service really is. Tue 13 May 2008 19:31:21 GMT+1 joshkin2001 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=88#comment39 The media in America is a business, nothing more. As a business, the media's job is not to report the truth, or to be fair and balanced, or to inform the American people. The media's job is to gather an audience, and to keep that audience in place while that audience is exposed to commercial advertising.So the next time PBS or Fox News has whipped you into a lather with outrage at their 'slant', whatever you perceive that to be, ask yourself this:Am I being manipulated into sitting through a commercial for the newest eyeshadow...?If you're still on the couch, and haven't changed the channel, then the answer is Yes, and the media has done it's job and will continue to get paid. And that's all the media cares about. Tue 13 May 2008 19:25:16 GMT+1 dennisjunior1 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=86#comment38 Barack Obama:needs to be under some scrunity.....not a fullgrilling..... Tue 13 May 2008 17:57:54 GMT+1 Ed Iglehart http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=84#comment37 It's OK Waterman, I don't mind.Follow this link; One of my favouritesSalaam, etc.edP.S. "dumb" in Arabic is "Ajam", and simply means a non-speaker of Arabic - just in case anyone is interested. Tue 13 May 2008 12:14:10 GMT+1 watermanaquarius http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=81#comment36 Board StupidDon't get depressed.America will prevail. Look at these."A low voter turnout is an indication of fewer people going to the polls""Border relations between Canada and Mexico have never been better""Terrorists never stop thinking about new ways to harm America and its people, and neither do we"All Dubyas quotes.Donkey or Elephant. Anybody, but anybody must be beter than him. Tue 13 May 2008 12:03:01 GMT+1 watermanaquarius http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=79#comment35 NoRashDecisionsAlthough I abhor agression, I am not a pacifist and possibly had the same feelings as MAII in my youth. His, and my thinking process qua patriotism and the defence necessary to protect one's country, family etc, are probably very similar. Perhaps my greatest hang up is a search for truth.War is hell, but as leader you are required to make life and death decisions concerning your own men and at that moment the opponent's casualties do not come into the equation. So I supported Thatcher's decision. But my thought process refused to stop there and Justin's torpedo word did not help.So I went off at a tangent.The Falklands are a little piece of Britain in the middle of nowhere. Was their importance based upon Britain holding it so they may claim a slice of Antarctica and it's future mineral wealth? Moratorium until 2048! With the world energy problem I dont see that target being reached. So was the sinking a patriotic battle decision made for the day, or political / business decision for the future? That led me to remembering all the wrong books I had read in the past suggesting that the sinking of the Lusitania and later the SS.Arabic with their many US passengers were not from german submarine attacks. In any case they had the desired result in bringing America into WW1. The Belgrano affair boasted the long forgotten capabilities of our Navy, stimulating positive public opinion. Similar propaganda now being used by US politicians to promote support for USA's battles against yellow, red, grey perils they see.In happenings in the world that do not show a clear cause, we are forced to sort through many more questions than answers.We rely on "accurate" information from intelligence services, to seperate truth from lie, claim from counter-claim and propaganda. For example -a plane, building or vehicle destroyed. The terrorist wants his 15 minutes of fame so 2 or 3 unheard of groups claim responsability. Maybe a government needs a scapegoat so they make an accusation. Was it an accident? Ignoring the fact now that in times of war we are confronted with friendly fire situations. Modern weapons allows one to fire without seeing an enemy. We "scientists 'make these weapons so it's only fair we test them in a war scenario? So, quote 1- if you have the power, it's neat-use it -- Hiroshima?, Lehman's thoughts? Thatcher's actions? Quote 2- I / one must distrust all politicians. Every politician and terrorist makes a decision based upon their own agenda, in play on that day.Hope this explains my disjointed posting."A fool [ like me], can ask more dumb questions in a minute than 10 wise men can answer in an hour" "{ My} True wisdom, is knowing I know nothing".I even spell Ed Iglehart's name wrong. Sorry Ed- I'm going back to planting and talking to the trees. Tue 13 May 2008 11:47:36 GMT+1 Ed Iglehart http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=77#comment34 Marcus,I just wish your verbiage were compostable.Salaam/Shalom/Shanthi/Dorood/Peace Namaste -ed Tue 13 May 2008 11:06:55 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=75#comment33 Board Stupid #33PBS and NPR are not advertising driven and offer some of the best news coverage in the world IMO. Neither is C-span. But most people get their news from the commercial channels because they prefer it. It caters to their short attention span. The problem with Europe is that it has disdain for profits such as that from advertising and those who make profits. It taxes profits so hard it hardly pays to invest or work hard there. It is the land of Robin Hood, rob from the productive to re-engineer society. And with the EU it's rob from productive countries to give to unproductive societies. That is why British taxpayers are forced by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels to pay to build roads and bridges in Hungary. Yet in reality, Europe is run by a group of oligarchs, elites. They are the aristocricy who inherited their wealth and they and their children will live with gold spoons in their mouths for their entire lives. That is what Switzerland is for, to protect their money. The disdain for the furits of individuals keeping the fruits of their own ingenuity and industriousness has resulted in a civilization which is is terminal decline. That is one reason it was not only surpassed by the US a long time ago but will be surpassed by China and India. There are many others. Tony Blair said when he was EU president that he wanted to make Europe the best place to do business in the world. It is much closer to the worst place. Tue 13 May 2008 10:45:31 GMT+1 Board Stupid http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=72#comment32 The main problem with the US media is that it is advertising driven. The agenda has always been to create controversy or keep it going - because that's what viewers switch on for. Without controversy their viewing figures would fall and advertisers would take their business elsewhere.It explains why the media acted as cheerleaders for Obama when he was trailing Clinton and why they then switched roles when she began to trail. They will do the same with Obama vs McCain - just watch them focus on the drivel instead of the substance - I'm getting depressed at the thought of 5 more months of this torture!! Tue 13 May 2008 08:15:48 GMT+1 sdhipp http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=70#comment31 Ah... So the recent episode of Dr Who in which the Prime Minster Harriet Jones is brought down by four words from the Doctor for shooting down a retreating alien vessel is based on the sinking of the Belgrano. Interesting... Tue 13 May 2008 06:28:23 GMT+1 wristband621 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=68#comment30 #1 American media is on the whole liberal. Just look at the posts, I see many that tout Fox News and Rush Limbaugh (talk radio) as indicative of the American media. The fact is they are mere islands. Their popularity is due to the fact that they are the one of the very few conservative voices in America. There is a reason they have huge viewer/listernership. It's because there are a lot of people who think that way and have been failed by partisan traditional mass media for years. #2 The primary debates/news infighting are for the party activists. The presidential debates will be very different. The substance of the questions will increase and a lot more of the American public will watch/listen/consume/decide versus primary activities. This is where both McCain and Obama will have to be very specific as to what their plans are...no more "Change" or "Hope" platitudes. What are their specifics?#3 I just saw my first post-Obama as the presumptive nominee attack ad on McCain on TV tonight. So much for the high road. I don't care if it was a proxy either...it's negative campaigning. More of the same. Tue 13 May 2008 03:47:33 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=65#comment29 David_CunardOnce again Europeans show their lack of knowledge about the United States. Do you have access to C-Span or C-Span II? Watch a debate in Congress or a subcommittee hearing, any of them. One peep out of anyone while someone has the floor and the gavel comes down with a warning. Another and the offender may be removed from the chamber by the sargeant at arms if necessary on orders of whomever is hosting the meeting. The lack of respect and dignity MPs in the House of Commons have for each other and themselves is hardly more in evidence than in PMQT where they behave like braying jackasses. The questions put to the PM during PMQT are hardly any more than political theater. Those from the PM's own party are asked to puff up their party, those from "the party opposite" asked to tear it down. No information of value ever came from one I ever saw. And every week, the same inane nonsense:"Awda! Awda! We'd all like to hear what the Prime Minister has to say. The minister from Lilliput." "Question 7 Madam Speaker""I refer my right honorable friend to the reply I gave some moments ago."I'm surprised some enterprising rock band hasn't put those lyrics to some equally inane tune."Does the Prime Minister acknowledge that since his party has been in power, the income of the average British citizen after paying taxes, rent, utility bills, car loans, bar tabs, food, entertainment, and assorted miscellaneous other bills has dropped to zero?""The honorable representative of the party opposite forgets that when his party was in power it was even worse.""...she would have the power to moderate debates, but little else."That is because the term Speaker of the House has two entirely different meanings in the two separate languages. The Speaker of the House in Great Britain is not an elected member of the legislature the way the Speaker of the House in the United States is. And the Speaker of the House of Representatives in the United States is second in line of succession to become President of the United States if the President and Vice President are both assassinated or incapable of performing their jobs. That means that Nancy Pelosi is just two heartbeats away from being President this very minute. What a frightful thought. Tue 13 May 2008 03:18:56 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=63#comment28 Yanqui #14The US media is not liberal and biased? Then how do you explain that just about two weeks before the last election, Dan Rather broadcast his story about the letter supposedly proving that George Bush evaded military service without any verification? The forgery was so blatent that it was exposed on the internet less than fifteen minutes after his broadcast. So do you ascribe Rather's anti Bush story to partisanship or incompetence and stupidity? Interesting that Bill Moyers was forced out of PBS when the Republicans were in power in Congress and refused to continue government sponsorship of PBS and NPR unless they took a more neutral position in politics. A study proved them right. Now the Democrats are back in power and Moyers is back spewing his garbage on PBS again.The best interviewer in the media right now as far as I am concerned is Charlie Rose. He makes Owen Bennet-Jones look like a beginner. Bennet Jones antagonizes every interviewee he doesn't agree with right off the bat putting them on their guard and debating them. He gets nothing of value, rarely more than the least you would expect. Rose on the other hand has remarkable skill getting his guests to open up and tell all. Another very competent interviewer is Leon Charney. There is nobody on BBC that I have seen that can even begin to compare with his knowledge and skill. His commanding knowledge of international and national affairs comes from direct first hand experience as a former negotiator for the US government and many other direct roles in government. He knows many world leaders including prime ministers, other government ministers, top military personnel including generals in many countries on a first name basis and on a private telephone line access basis. These are among the best the media has to offer. PBS's nightly news is excellent as is PBS's Washington Week. Tue 13 May 2008 01:29:57 GMT+1 David Cunard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=61#comment27 # 25 gunsandreligion - the "legislative body" you refer to is the House of Commons, the lower house of the British Parliament and the questions to the Prime Minister are a weekly feature in which he (or she) answers direct questions from other Members of Parliament (MPs). For more information go to: http://www.number-10.gov.uk/output/Page5180.aspThe rough and tumble of British parliamentary debate does not exist in the United States and with a few exceptions, anything goes, which can make debates entertaining. To maintain some sense of decorum, members are referred to as the honourable member from such-and-such and, for example, the use of the word "liar" is not permitted: in 1906, Winston Churchill famously spoke of making "a terminological inexactitude." The Speaker is elected by the Commons but does not have the influence as a Speaker in the Congress - if Nancy Pelosi were Speaker of the House of Commons, not the House of Representatives, she would have the power to moderate debates, but little else. Tue 13 May 2008 01:19:22 GMT+1 NoRashDecisions http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=59#comment26 watermanaquarius (#6): I'm so sorry!! You must think I'm the stupidest person on earth for asking you so many questions, but alas, here are two more. First, I am assuming from your post that through explaining the sinking of the ship by Thatcher as the sinking of ships being "a part of war" as you did, that you supported her actions. Is that right? And second, I'd like to know what those quotes you refferenced have to do with the rest of your post. To me tey don't really fit in. That one by the head of the US Navy about absolute power being "pretty neat"-if true-is very frightening indeed to me!!! And the other by James Maddison is I think a very wise and true statement which should be heeded by all!!! But again I don't really see how it in particular fits in with the rest of your post. I promise I won't carey this on into an endless debate!! I'm just curious as to the answers to those questions-stupid, ignorant, and curious. Thank you so much!!Bert_Yardbrush (#12): I think Marcous Aurelious means that the US media in general has more of a liberal slant to it-though I may be rong (I don't intend to speek for him!). Obviously everyone knows that Fox news is incredibly right-wing!! But every other major news channel, MSNBC, CNN etc, are more centrist-with the occasional host's show depending on the political affiliations of the host, being more liberal. I personally dont think the media has a "liberal" slant". I don't know why so many people seem to think so!! I just think that they are trying to report on events the best they can. If reporters have a political affiliation-barring Fox news of course!!-I think they do a pretty god job of hideing it from people when reporting. I'm not sure what you mean when you say that our radio stations "rubbish" our Democratic candidates, and I'm not sure what you are looking for with respect of a liberal slant to radio stations, so if you could elaborate on that it would be appreciated. I don't really listen to the radio except for NPR (National Public Radio), and again, I think they do a pretty good job of covering all sides of a story. You wanted to know what news sources Americans get their news information from. I, personally, largely get my news from the BBC (wonderfully staffed with extremely knoledgable reporters about the issues and happenings around the world of which they are asigned and are covering), and CNN-the same, but more for domestic news within the US. I hope this helps answer some of your questions. Mon 12 May 2008 23:12:48 GMT+1 Ed Iglehart http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=56#comment25 Here's some perspective on McCainThe last couple of minutes are a bit telling.Salaam, etc.ed Mon 12 May 2008 23:01:18 GMT+1 gunsandreligion http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=54#comment24 Boy, Justin sure gets picked on here... I wouldhate to have his job. BTW, I see on c-span fromtime to time a question and answer sessionbetween the British PM and some legislativebody. I don't know what it is, or understand halfof it, but it looks like something we shouldhave. Could a Brit please explain what this ordealis that you put your PM through? Mon 12 May 2008 22:53:11 GMT+1 chf-cooper http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=52#comment23 Yes, I think that both candidates need a good talking too... does everyone (not just anyone) know what Obama's idea's are? And does he even know what they are? He seems to me to be a bit defensive... I've never seen him speak live, apart from pre-written winning speeches. He, and Clinton, need to go onto television together and need to be spoken to by someone who knows what they're talking about. I would suggest a British politician, but they've all gone a bit doolally recently... Clinton, I feel, would know what she's talking about. Obama, however, seems to be a shaky fellow. America need a Democratic government again, yes. They've failed miserably under the Republican party for the last eight years... and they know that. But if Obama wins the candidacy (which seems more and more likely) then they will not get this. Also, referring to an earlier comment, McCain would just remind the people of American that they failed again in Vietnam. Do they need to be reminded of all this failure. Many global politicians favour Clinton. No wonder, she's got the experience and the know how. Obama is just a yes man, and will not know how to deal with problematic areas... unlike Clinton.Clinton for president. She is like Thatcher in some ways; in the good ways... Thatcher almost held resolute in that interview. I think that Clinton would do so even better. She has got some charisma... Obama is the new kid on the block. Maybe wait another decade or two... then let him be president... but not yet. Let America recover first. Now if that wasn't a tad off the subject! Mon 12 May 2008 21:25:36 GMT+1 NoRashDecisions http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=50#comment22 Justin, I don't understand. You say-and I completely agree with you-that American politics severely lacks, and is in desprit need of, "forensic questioning". But I don't understand just what exactly your deffinition of the term is. Back in January (the 18th Ibbelieve it was) you wrote a very thought provokeing entry on how it was wrong and immature in your opinion for Mitt Romney to get so upset at a harsh question asked of him by a voter, refering us to a Paxman interview with Blair, in which Paxman absolutely mersylously raked Blair over the coals-most times not even letting him chance finish a responce because he thought it wasn't answering his questions. This, done to effectively say that that style of intarigation is what real forensic questioning is, and that Romney should in effect thank his lucky stars that he wasn't running for office in the UK, because if he were, well assuming he actually survived it first, he would in the very least be in for a missive case of culture shock!!! So that-I had asumed-was your deffinition of tough grilling of a candidate. But then when the ABC debate happened, you in effect praised the moderators, saying that you thought they did a good job with their forensic questioning of the potencial Democratic nominees. So which is it? I personally think that '"titanic confrontation" between Thatcher and that "ordinary person" was a good example of being harsh and firm, and not letting the leader or potencial leader in question off the hook, but at the same time being polite and showing some semblance of respect toward them. The way many of our voters, and debate moderators ask questions, are generally far too nice with the mindset of "O we mustn't hurt the possible future president's feelings!", where as interviews such as the Paxman one are the complete opposite, with the mindset of '"I'm not really looking for answers and clarifications of my questions-I just want to vent my frustrations at this person.". And just so you know, I don't think that confrintation, as it were, was that "titanic". I think it is just the sort of thing all nations need, both from their voters and debate moderators, when ensuring their potencial leaders's abilities to lead!! Mon 12 May 2008 20:39:22 GMT+1 newyorkPR http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=47#comment21 Titanic?Torpedo?Tut tut Justin...a tad tasteless perhaps? Mon 12 May 2008 20:26:02 GMT+1 DougTexan http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=45#comment20 I have read no other comments due to lack of time but I must say for England and the United States, "God bless Margret Thatcher". In a world wher those against you are wellspoken and wrong, the bottom line is 'your brother, father or mother' on that enemy ship. Sorry if I'm wrong and sorry for those thousands wrongly killed in WWII and other wars, but war is not a game of being second guessed. My brothers life depends on my leader acting on 'my' behalf first and fast, let the dead be those of the enemy. No apology needed!This added to United States politics, is the reason being a 'Patriot', is so important, and why Obama does not fit the bill. Mon 12 May 2008 20:08:40 GMT+1 proles http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=43#comment19 Yes, by all means, bring on the proles. Capital idea but let's wait and see how or if - it plays out, first. McCain is fairly practiced at speaking before general audiences as he has held numerous public forums in-between election years, and he may feel it plays to one of his stengths. Last time I asked McCain a question at a speaking engagement on a book tour he was making, he gave a polite but noncommittal reply to q question about torture in Israel and America's practice of extraordinary rendition. McCain deserves some credit for taking on Bush on the issue of tortue and America's role in it, directly and indirectly. There are still many unanswered questions that need to be asked - or re-asked - on that ghastly subject. Public forums provide for an opportunity to ask such questions but you seldom get a chance to follow up on the question with the pertinacity that Mrs. Gould did (and did so cogently) in the video. Just as the refractory Mrs. Thatcher did, politicians when faced with an unwelcome question will often give a stock response that restates their position but that talks right past the question. Still, its important to at least raise frank, often uncomfortable questions, so they at least don't go unnoticed, even if tha answers aren't always very satisfying. 'Turn off the Mainstream Media and Think'..? Well that's a novel notion, albeit a welcome one, coming from the BBC (via YouTube/Fruitcellar). Mon 12 May 2008 19:03:43 GMT+1 mary gravitt http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=40#comment18 Yes we need a real rumble between Obama and McCain. Clinton is holding on beating a dead horse, while there is politiking to be done. I want to hear and see the Old Guard duke it out with the Young Turk.Of course there will posturing and Reverend Jeremiah Wright will be brought up, but when contrasted to McCain's Right-wing preachers, Wright will come out looking like Micheal himself.There will be "straight talk" straight of the John Wayne playbook, as well as come by here coming from Obama. But we will be off the Clinton Dime and on the road to who knows where.Sometimes I think we need a McCain so that we can wallow some more in past victories like in the Pacific in WWII. Vietnam was a fiasco. Obama wasn't there so he can't remind US that we lost that one.We have been loosing so long until to win a victory in 2008 seems impossible. Let's get it on!!!! Mon 12 May 2008 18:51:14 GMT+1 David Cunard http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=38#comment17 A one-to-one town hall meeting, with attendees asking the questions, was suggested by Mrs Clinton to Mr Obama; he declined. Perhaps his team considers Mr McCain a less able debater which is one reason they accept the proposal - and from the McCain perspective, to ask the weaker of the two Democratic candidates since debating directly with Mrs Clinton would not be to his advantage. If nothing else she has a complete grasp of the facts and remains cool under fire.It seems to me that British interviewers are less deferential to persons "in authority" than their American counterparts. As one of those "ordinary folks" Diana Gould was able to remain calm in the face of Mrs Thatcher's affected accent, controlled irritation and specious account of the Belgrano affair; "you must believe me" is an inadequate response. Perhaps if she had shown some regret at causing the deaths of over 300 sailors that might have softened the response, but it remained patronising and, to my mind, dismissive of the questioner. Perhaps if the young Miss Roberts had not met the wealthy (from oil) Mr Thatcher she might have been in the same position as her interrogator. Whether history will look kindly on the grocer's daughter is another matter - to some extent the tide has turned against the woman who famously said "there is no such thing as society". PS Justin - Although you are becoming more American than the Americans, the word "colleague" continues to be spelt that way in the United States, not "colleage". Can't the BBC afford a sub-editor? Mon 12 May 2008 18:37:44 GMT+1 Insterburg http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=36#comment16 The essential problem with the US media and US politics is that both are concerned with telling Americans what they want to hear and not what they need to hear.Americans want to hear that they are the best at everything - and woebetide the media source or poltician that tells them otherwise.It's impossible to ask the obvoius questions on a personal level as much as it is the Presidential level.'Hey you're paying twice as much as most folks in the developed world for the worst health care system in the developed world'Americans, whether the be Presidents or Truck Drivers do't want to face the implication of that question.. . . . .that Americans are being suckered by a political system that has no interest in them as individuals. Mon 12 May 2008 16:23:59 GMT+1 Insterburg http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=34#comment15 The essential problem with the US media and US politics is that both are concerned with telling Americans what to hear and not what they need to hear.Americans want to hear that they are the best at everything - and woebetide the media source or poltician that tells them otherwise.It's impossible to ask the obvoius questions on a personal level as much as it is the Presidential level.'Hey you're paying twice as much as most folks in the developed world for the worst health care system in the developed world'Americans, whether the be Presidents or Truck Drivers do't want to face the implication of that question.. . . . .that Americans are being suckered by a political system that has no interest in them as individuals. Mon 12 May 2008 16:21:17 GMT+1 Candace9839 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=31#comment14 What the gallon of milk question could help to highlight is the concern over rising food prices due to transportation costs and US competition with China and India for oil. Increasing debt has only exacerbated the situation many are facing with record high prices at the pump. Mon 12 May 2008 14:28:26 GMT+1 Yanqui http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=29#comment13 MarcusAureliusII: I would argue that the American media is not "by and large liberal' as much as it is by and large capitalist. I worked in American media for 10 years and the sad truth is that media doesn't ask difficult questions because it fears angering its "customers." Newsrooms all across the United States are ruled by angry letter-writing whackos who pester advertisers any time and every time they are unhappy with what's being reported. This is why so much American media is focused on stories absent an ideological element, e.g., house fires, car wrecks, homicides and extreme weather. Undercutting this is the fact that pursuit of maintaining a profit margin results in hiring of the "reporter" who will work for the least amount of money. Low-paid people are less likely to try hard; often, they don't know how to try hard. If/when they finally develop the capacity for quality journalism, they also develop the realisation that they could and should be doing something else.Candace9839: I think the "gallon of milk" question is not as much a divining rod as we would like it to be. At the heart of the current American economic situation is a large number of people who don't know how to handle money. I would suspect that many "average Americans" would also struggle to answer the milk question. Mon 12 May 2008 13:59:04 GMT+1 jalvarezv http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=27#comment12 It would be great if they also include Nader, because there's no way the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) will have Nader in the 'oficial' debates that are paid for by ALL taxpayers, not just the democrats/republicans. Mon 12 May 2008 13:51:15 GMT+1 Bert Yardbrush http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=25#comment11 Justin, is it really the case that as MarcusAureliusII puts it "The American media is by and large liberal."? I understood that Fox News (Murdoch) is far from "fair and balanced" and quite right wing. I have picked up many US radio stations rubbishing the Democrats and found very little overtly liberal media.I'd like to know the sort of stuff that middle America really reads, watches and listens to: from wfmu at one end to George Noory on Coast to Coast at the other. Does the USA have an equivalent to The Sun (Murdoch again) that can say the word and we blindly follow? Mon 12 May 2008 13:14:18 GMT+1 Ed Iglehart http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=22#comment10 AndreainNY,"And, as a recent video of reporters on the plane with Obama demonstrated, they're quite taken with his looks."Both Obama and Edwards have smiles which can light up a room.I have searched HRC's Flickr site and elsewhere, and cannot find a single picture of her with an apparently genuine smile. It matters!xxed Mon 12 May 2008 12:57:23 GMT+1 AndreainNY http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=20#comment9 I couldn't agree more. Too often, the questions are deflected. For example, Obama, when pressed about the evidence that lowering taxes actually increased government revenue, said something like "not always". Well, when is that not the case? Why wasn't he asked to explain this?And, of course, the big question: Change to what, specifically? (Don't we need to know what it is before we can believe in it?) [But, then, again, if the voters are placated by the "anything but Bush" platform, they'll get what they earn.]A big problem is the media's loss of objectivity. They think they have it, but they don't, which just compounds the problem.Perhaps too many reporters are lulled into complacency at the sound of Obama's voice? It is quite soothing and impressive. And, as a recent video of reporters on the plane with Obama demonstrated, they're quite taken with his looks. Hopefully, American voters are more mature than many give them credit for. Or as one blogger put it, "Wait until the grown ups start voting." Mon 12 May 2008 12:38:51 GMT+1 Ed Iglehart http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=18#comment8 Spike,"Obama's grasp of the middle east's problems seem as shaky as his memory of what "Pastor" Wright said in those church meetings."I think not! I reckon his understanding is deeper than yours is likely to be.The piece is worth reading through. Although possibly intended to be negative, I found it relatively 'balanced' and fair.Salaam, etc.ed Mon 12 May 2008 11:58:22 GMT+1 Candace9839 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=15#comment7 Looks like Saturday Night Live is no longer on the Clinton A-list after their grilling of the candidatehttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/05/11/saturday-night-lives-mess_n_101177.html Mon 12 May 2008 11:46:36 GMT+1 MagicKirin http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=13#comment6 Obama has avoided going on critical questioning interviews. He had to be shamed into going on to Fox New Sunday.And he refuses to go the leading Cable news night time interview show: The O'Rielley Factor,He is going on safe one where the interviews is in the tank for him: Chris Mathews and Keith Obermann;neither of whom credibility with American viewers. Mon 12 May 2008 11:19:19 GMT+1 watermanaquarius http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=11#comment5 Reuben33g,Sinking ships is part of a war situation.There was previous speculation that in wars gone by, ships of future allies may have been sunk to drag a country and its support into a war. Not that we had anything to do with Pearl Harbour ! But similar to witholding information , it is also an act of 'agression' that promotes an outcome needed by persons or countries feeling threatened."Power corrupts. Absolute power is kind of neat " -- John Lehman US secretary of the Navy."All men having power ought to be mistrusted." - James Madison, 4.th P.O.T.U.S Mon 12 May 2008 10:25:00 GMT+1 dazzlingEspike http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=9#comment4 No. 3 - Let's hope your right. Obama's grasp of the middle east's problems seem as shaky as his memory of what "Pastor" Wright said in those church meetings.His election would be a disaster for for us all in the west and in Israel and the Lebannon. Mon 12 May 2008 10:15:49 GMT+1 MarcusAureliusII http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=6#comment3 There has been no debate on the issues so far. There have been no tough interviews. The American media is by and large liberal. It favors the Democrats in general and Obama in particular. Besides, the candidates would not agree to appear on a forum which could expose their obvious weaknesses. Furthermore, each is so vulnerable, they are loathe to expose the shortcomings of the other for fear of retaliation. Even Obama's remarks about Clinton supporting the President in Iraq are rarely mentioned anymore. There has been no discussion of the economy, how national health insurance would be implimented and paid for, how America's crumbling infrastructure will be rebuilt and paid for, how the US will approach the rest of the world when it is pushed to sign a climate change treaty, talk about trade issues, or foreign policy and security at home. In short, the discussion has been focused on the most inconsequential topics, Obama's pastor, Clinton saying she dodged a hail of bullets getting off a helicoptor, Obama's race. What do these things have to do with who would make the better President? Why hasn't the American news media shifted the conversation to the real issues? Because they are incompetent and because they don't want to expose the inadequacy of the candidates they like. By and large, they are also voting for the Democratic nominee. BBC shouldn't be surprised. It covers the news exactly the same way...if you can call what they broadcast news in the first place. Mon 12 May 2008 10:05:39 GMT+1 darrylfrancis http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=4#comment2 Recent news has it that George McGovern is now supporting Barack Obama. McGovern was the Democratoic party's nominee for the 1972 Presidential election, and I believe he only won 1 state against Richard Nixon's 49 states in the 1972 election. (I don't suppose McGovern was helped by the shenanigans that were Watergate, but even so...)I'd be interested in your (Justin's) thoughts about the parallels between the McGovern nomination and a potential Obama nomination - namely, the candidate is the darling of the right-thinking, active parts of the Democratic party. Obama is the white knight, an exciting candidate to those activisits supporting him, but when put up against a Republican candidate in the November election will turn out to have insufficient support to win. Therefore, underlining Senator Clinton's claim to be a stronger opponant against Senator McCain.In retrospect, the McGovern candidacy in 1972 looks to have been obviously doomed. Will we say the same about an Obama candidacy after the 2008 election? Mon 12 May 2008 09:42:44 GMT+1 Reuben33g http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=2#comment1 After 14 years of working for my government, I've heard enough double-speak to know that Thatcher was clearly lying about the Belgrande and her motives for sinking her.Britain was clearly winning at that moment, and a truce then, wouldn't have been to Thatcher's advantage, so she sunk the Belgrande to continue hostilities for another fortnight.Justin's right, journalists tent to play softball with officials when ordinary folk will put the questions to them straight.I don't see the 'acceptance' as being universal or even close to it, there is a large minority behind Hillary that won't give up until the superdelegates have voted.But there's no reason that Obama can't behave as the presumptive nominee. Mon 12 May 2008 09:42:00 GMT+1 Candace9839 http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/justinwebb/2008/05/in_for_a_grilling.html?page=0#comment0 Just asking them what a gallon of milk costs would show who's in touch. Mon 12 May 2008 08:39:18 GMT+1