Saturday, 10 November 2012

Phillip Schofield: Boy Blunder!

Hard-hitting journalist Phillip Bryan Schofield
I’ve never much liked Phillip Schofield.  For me he’s a bland Peter Pan figure, forever appearing on insipid daytime TV. As the Independent put it: “He is as anodyne as a ceramic ornament above a fireplace, and occupies more or less the same position in most people's consciousness".

But this week, Schofield interviewed Prime Minister David Pillsbury.  The usual form would be a soft cuddly sofa chat, during which neither would break sweat. 

Instead though, live on air and wholly out of character, Schofield suddenly went all investigative. He confronted Pillsbury with a list of people he’d found mentioned online as paedophiles. Inadvertently the camera caught the names of former senior Conservative politicians on Schofield’s list, and broadcast them to 1.2 million viewers.

Pillsbury was clearly caught off-guard, but countered pretty well. Asked if he’d be speaking to the people listed, he replied that Schofield’s grilling smacked of a “witch-hunt, particularly against people who are gay." Later, a statement from Downing Street put down the anchor’s action as a “silly stunt."  The programme, This Morning, has now made a grovelling apology for Schofield’s ill-starred gaffe. 

TV trial of real people based on internet rumour, the alleged crimes truly foul, conducted by presenters who moments later will be talking recipes or pop culture. That's frightening.

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