Glenn Greenwald vs. hopelessly unprepared BBC interviewer



Everyone is the US needs to hear this interview. Instead of being unimpressed with the interviewer, I am now even more impressed with Greenwald. Keep it going Glenn.


Kirsty Wark is not just “unprepared” in this interview. She is a bullying and adversarial advocate for evidence-free assertions by un-elected officials of the security-state establishment.

She is perfectly “prepared” - it is simply that the anti-freedom, and anti-privacy message for which she is carrying water, is innuendo, lies and libel. These are exposed by calm and truthful rebuttals.

Ms. Warks actual anger at her journalistic subject is remarkably unprofessional. it is the indication of how completely owned she is - and by implication, how completely untrustworthy is the BBC, as a conduit of state propaganda.


I’m always amazed at the poor quality of these clips (e.g., the abrupt ending). Do they have interns putting this stuff up?

I have to say I am actually impressed with that interviewer. If someone had spent 15 minutes making myself look that stupid on national TV, I think I would have run off crying. Then again, I personally would refrain acting like an ass on TV like that.


Thanks for sharing this interview. I agree that it was pretty poor journalism from Newsnight and Kirsty Wark. I didn’t feel that her questions showed an understanding of the underlying issues or helped illuminate those issues. That said, I think the BBC is under immense pressure to prove that it does not have a liberal bias - I think these heavy handed, almost angry interviews (this is by no means an anomaly) are their attempt to show impartiality (I sympathise with the pressure they are under - I don’t think this tone is a solution).
I thought Mr Greenwald did a good job of explaining his position, showing his contempt for some of the questions but then stepping past his obvious irritation to still provide his clear and obviously reasoned view.

What are the questions he should have been asked? What are the “good questions to attack him with”?


have you considered the possibility that Ms. Wark is actually setting up a context in which Greenwald and his position looks even better than it already does? I heard someone reading unenthusiastically from a script of stupid questions, almost in disbelief her self at the stupid lines she had to read, but going along with it anyway so that Greenwald could stand up even more clearly for journalism, freedom and common sense.

But then again, perhaps not.


Normally I like the BBC, but here they got owned. It would have been better if a member or spokesperson for GCHQ was present too, to present the other side of the argument, so that the BBC presenter wasn’t forced to take the government side.

Compare it with yesterday’s post featuring the snivelling under-editor at the daily mail being cowed by Aliastair Campbell - again the underling is standing in for the cowardly boss, except here the BBC is the stooge for the government. There was no criticism of the use of terrorism laws, and the stripping of civil liberties (requirement for probable cause, right to silence, right to legal representation, eg have a solicitor present while questioned) pursued by the government against Greenwald’s partner for what is clearly not a terrorism case.


Please read the posts before commenting on the headlines – the post is all about the bullying and the adversarial!

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Does anyone know if there’s a transcript anywhere? I can’t play video, alas. I didn’t find anything googling around.

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“Do you think that people would be shocked that spies spy?”

“Are you concerned that you’ve helped terrorists by telling them that they’re being spied on?”

Good work there. Still better than most other media in the UK, worryingly.


You shouldn’t have to be a lawyer to defend righteous action in a television interview, but in this case it probably doesn’t hurt that he is one.


I wouldn’t say she was “unprepared.” I would say she was dys-prepared. Her questions were only about Greenwald and not about the actual story. It is just sad that she would think that asking questions about the reporter of a story instead of the story itself is just depressing.


I haven’t seen this yet but I’m going to take your word for it. That’s mainly because Greenwald, or Glennzilla as he’s known, destroys everyone who takes him on. And he’s mean about it. Look at him dismantle Bill Maher’s reactionary atheist hate Islam arguments…Also hi from a fellow Pittsburgher…you need any comic or book reviews?

Three Rivers Online


Wow, Wark really grasps at any straw she can. Here’s a paraphrase of one part of the conversation:

Wark: Maybe these disclosures have made terrorists aware for the first time that they were being spied on.
Greenwald: Ridiculous, terrorists have always know that.
Wark: Well, then, um, isn’t it obvious that spies spy?

Dear God: if you give me the chance to slap her silly face into shutting up, I promise to stop burning things that don’t belong to me.


That was … beautiful.

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I watched this a few days ago. Your characterization of ms. Wark’s style as affected is exactly how I felt while watching it. It was almost as if Ted Baxter was giving the interview.

To me, it was patently obvious that she didn’t understand the issues nor the technology, didn’t read the background info (or if she did, only the backgrounder giving to her/them by the government), and relied, with great conviction, on her misinformation and on her tone of voice. Yes, she got her ass handed to her on a platter.

It would be fair to expect that she had watched other interviews Greenwald had given about this subject, no? Why was/is she so ill-informed? Ric Romero would have done a better job.

That ‘reporting’ was so gawd awful that I couldn’t watch it a second time.


Paxman’s weather reports:


It’s a BBC interview; they’re going to take whatever side the interviewee is against. They’re not going to make any criticisms about those things while talking to Greenwald, they’re going to make them while talking to government officials.

I’m reminded of some BBC election coverage I once watched where the presenter had representatives from the three parties, and asked each, in turn, how they felt about their particular party losing the election and being failures.

It’s a very different style of interviewing, but I do think it can often work. In this case, it did give Greenwald a good platform to give very good answers to questions that might seem unprepared and combative, but in many cases are likely questions that many people watching might be wondering about. It’s important to remember that BB readers have a somewhat different perspective on these matters, and are considerably more informed; questions that might seem uninteresting to us might be very interesting to people who are far less informed. That the interviewer didn’t come out of it looking good is less important than that the interviewee was able to clearly make his points.