Friday, December 09, 2005

# Posted 11:23 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

PODCASTING PRIME MINISTER'S QUESTIONS: Courtesy of the Guardian, here is the URL: <http://www.guardian.co.uk/podcast/0,,5341906,00.xml>. You can also find full transcripts of PMQ, along with video and sound files, on the website for 10 Downing St.

One can only wish that America had something like PMQ. The President's news conferences are a rough equivalent, in the sense that the White House press corps can ask the President anything it wants, but a news conference is essentially one-sided. The President is permanently on the defensive. The press corps takes no positions of its own, so it is invulnerable to questions.

In contrast, PMQ represents all that is best about political combat. It is fast and furious and quite unpredictable. And it is humorous. It often seems that American politicians never assume the risk of being funny, except when telling jokes prepared by their speech writers.

So, go listen PMQ. This week's session marked the debut of new Tory leader David Cameron. I think he did a good job. And, of course, Tony Blair was his usual self. Enjoy!
(5) opinions -- Add your opinion

Some of the pre election podcasts were put up by PodcastDirectory.com

How often does Bush field a real set of pointed questions? Most of his events are scripted and people who would oppose him are actively prevented from attending.

The Council on Foreign Relations is giving up its requirement on a speaker fielding questions to have him speak there.

Bush, like it or not, is afraid of answering questions on the fly. You can explain this as being a bad public speaker or by saying he's a moron. That will depend on your political beliefs most likely.

PMQ has nothing even resembling an equivalent in the US. The election debates are even poor shadows.

(*) Politicals call them news conferences to avoid giving the press an ego trip.
I generally dislike interviews where both questioner and answerer are playing to an audience. Of course, any interview that will be televised or written about is mindful of the audience, but that's an entirely different thing if you're trying to get applause or avoid boos.
Yes, RC...But PMQs are an infinitely better institution than, say, dueling Sunday talk shows.
It is indeed a shame nothing like the PMQs exist in the States. Indeed, I'm afraid it's part of the larger trend where politicians have to do less grunt work and can rest on canned statements all of the time. Just take the filibuster, for example; anyone's who's watched Mr Smith Goes to Washington knows that previously in the last century, the use of the traditional filibuster was much more in place - one had to speak and stand non stop to stop a particular piece of legislation from being passed.

A little more sporting on the part of our Congress and Chief Executive would not only make CSPAN much more enjoyable, but enhance the vivacity of our democracy.
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