Lee Anderson MP Car Crash BBC Radio Interview

The Lee Anderson MP radio interview yesterday was a car crash. Here’s what we can all learn from it.

If you are a spokesperson, an aspiring TV expert or you get your clients on air, it’s worth listening to this car crash interview which you can listen to in full on this BBC radio interview and make sure you listen right to the end.

Lee did the interview as a pre-record to discuss his promotion to deputy chairman of the Conservative Party.

Here are some of the mistakes he made:

❌  He started to interview the interviewer in a way to avoid the question. It’s not the job of a guest to have a “balanced discussion”, as Lee called it, it’s the job of the interviewer to ask questions and not to answer any questions about themselves from the interviewee. Especially when Anderson got all Paxman like on the interviewer, Verity Cowley.

❌ The interview was ongoing until he put the phone down, but Anderson was naive to think that everything he was saying was not the actual interview. When I am media training people I tell them to be careful.  When they think the interview is over, as let’s say, they are putting their coat on or saying goodbye; that is the time to not let their guard down as that can often be the tactic used by the journalist to get the truth out or more information. Indeed it doesn’t have to be devious or strategic on the journalist’s part, it can just be the natural curiosity of anyone to appear informal in probing for more information casually after processing information given to them a few minutes earlier that they want more depth on, but they don’t want to look stupid for not getting it the first time.

❌  The interview is still going until you’re well out of ear shot. If you’ve just done a TV or radio interview don’t think driving off means you’re clear, as the famous Gordon Brown interview showed us many years ago. Check you took your microphone off your person first.

❌ Anderson allowed himself to be taken off track talking about a nefarious incident he created on camera interview in 2019. Then later on in this BBC interview he didn’t want to discuss that. So why did you allow yourself, Lee Anderson, to get drawn in? You’re responsible for what comes out of your own mouth. Yet again he was caught out by a journalist, this time it was by Micheal Crick and his incredible camera crew.

❌  Anderson was naive to think that journalists wouldn’t ask other questions not related to his promotion.

❌  Anderson was demanding and entitled saying the station had to play the entire unedited 10 minute interview, which is unrealistic.

In this case I’m glad Anderson was naive and hasn’t had proper media training(and if he has he should have had more sessions) because he showed voters his character and they can work out if they want to vote Conservative or not. Then additional stories have come out the last few hours on Anderson wanting the death penalty brought back.

I heard the interview, not because I am radio Nottingham listener as that’s not my local radio station, I heard it:

????  Because the interview made it onto the national BBC news

????  Because people like me can then end up writing posts about a story

???? Because the national print and online press picked up the story

????  Because people started discussing it on social media 

????  Because when you mess up again on air, people bring out the old mess ups too in the same article, post or report, thus further damaging your credibility.

Had Anderson done TV media training with me first this wouldn’t have happened for him. Most politicians don’t get a media training budget like people in business. However if I was an MP, I’d pay for it out my own wages if I had to! None of the people I’ve media trained have ever messed up so bad like this or even anywhere near as bad. But like I say, in a way it’s good as we, the voters, have got to see and hear the truth for ourselves.

Don’t delay, you can’t take mistakes you make on air back, so just get trained so that you can prepare properly and not become a negative news story or email mailer like this one.

by Kerry Hopkins