View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. News
June 24, 2022updated 30 Sep 2022 11:28am

Mick Lynch media interviews: Confrontational approach criticised

By Andrew Kersley

A series of broadcast interviews with RMT union leader Mick Lynch have led many to question the effectiveness of more combative interview styles.

Broadcasters like Robin Day and then Jeremy Paxman pioneered a less deferential, more forthright interviewing style than had previously been the norm, as a way of countering stone-walling from media-trained politicians.

But many believe Lynch came out on top when a confrontational approach was adopted by broadcaster interviewers.

The Spectator said Lynch made “mincemeat out of politicians and broadcast interviewers alike”, the New Statesman said he was “calmly exposing the absurdities of TV interviewers”, while one Independent columnist said that “Mick Lynch has done more for workers in two days than Starmer has in two years”.

The Mick Lynch interviews: who fared best?

Kay Burley: ‘What will picketing involve?’

The attention started after a Sky News interview went viral on Tuesday. In an interview with anchor Kay Burley, Lynch calmly accused the anchor of asking questions “verging on nonsense”.

Burley had repeatedly asked what the RMT would do if agency workers were hired to replace striking staff and what “picketing” workplaces would involve, despite Lynch being interviewed in front of a picket line at the time.

On one occasion, exasperated with the questioning and repeating the same answer, Lynch turned to the group of picketing workers behind him and said: “You can see what picketing involves. I can’t believe this line of questioning.”

Content from our partners
Mather Economics and InsurAds combine to help publishers boost revenue
Press Gazette publishes ultimate guide to reader conversion and monetisation
Slow online ads cost UK publishers £50m a year: Here's how to fix them

Richard Madeley: ‘Are you a Marxist?’

On Good Morning Britain on Tuesday, Richard Madeley opened his interview by asking Lynch “are you or are you, not a Marxist?” as “if you are a Marxist, then you’re into revolution and into bringing down capitalism”.

The union leader’s response was to say “Richard, you do come up with the most remarkable twaddle sometimes”, before reiterating he was a mainstream socialist, not a Marxist, and that the strike was an industrial dispute over pay and working conditions.

Piers Morgan: ‘It makes me laugh that you have The Hood as your profile pic’

While appearing on Piers Morgan’s TalkTV show last week, Morgan repeatedly asked why Lynch’s profile picture on Facebook was Thunderbirds antagonist The Hood, who Lynch bears a physical resemblance to.

The union leader’s response was to simply reiterate it was “a joke among me and my friends” about their physical likeness before later asking: “Don’t you want to talk about the issues, rather than a little vinyl puppet from the 1960s?”

The clip of Lynch’s bemused responses to Morgan’s two and a half minutes of constant questioning on the subject of Thunderbirds villains has now received nearly four million views.

Dan Walker: ‘Are you a Marxist who is trying to bring down the government?’

5 News presenter Dan Walker adopted a more measured tone in his interview but also asked Lynch: “Are you a Marxist, are you trying to bring down the government?”

Posting on Twitter, Walker criticised the approach of other interviewers, saying: “We live in the age of the jabby, confrontational interview and the RMT’s Mick Lynch has had a few of them.

“If you treat people with respect, you can still ask tough questions & get decent answers allowing your audience to make their own minds up.”

Read more: Trust and interest in news falls in UK with Sun, Mail and Mirror bottom of table

Topics in this article : ,

Email pged@pressgazette.co.uk to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network