Political interviewers like to pretend that they are are asking genuine questions to their political guests. But sometimes it is revealed all too clearly that their questions are really designed to try and steer the guest towards a particular answer.

Andrew Marr

This was revealed all too obviously when Andrew Marr raised his finger and said ‘I know the answer to my question’ on his Sunday show when interviewing the Conservative MP, Michael Gove.

Marr (AM) asks his question in lines 01-07 below and Gove (MG) starts to answer (line 08). But then in 09, Marr raises his finger, like a school boy in class, and states ‘see I know the answer, I know the answer to my own question’.

01 AM: if we don’t have what we want
02     at the end of this year
03     nex- this coming year
04     and we leave without a deal
05     what’s the difference between that
06     and leaving without a deal
07     at the time of the withdrawal agreement


►09 AM: ((raises finger)) see I know the answer
10     I know the answer to my own question
11 MG: and he secured a deal
12 AM: I know the answer to my own question
13     the answer  
14     the diff- the diff-
15 MG: well if you if you know the answer Andrew
16 AM: the difference the the well
17 MG: it’s funny that you’re asking me
18 AM: I was hop-
19     I was hoping that you were going to conceded openly
20     that you we we have already agreed the payment
   AM= Andrew Marr, interviewer; MG = Michael Gove, MP

External link to audio clip

His guest seemed to understand the oddity of this position by saying ‘well if you know the answer, Andrew, it’s funny that you’re asking me’.

Fresh Talk

Most of the questions and answers asked and given in political interviews are rarely instances of fresh talk. The questions and answers have been rehearsed many times over, in private and in public, and interviewers usually ask questions that they hope will lead their guests to providing the answers they are looking for. When they don’t, well you can always try raising your finger and answering your own question!


The Andrew Marr Show, BBC 1, 24th November 2019