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I cannot pretend to know the two people featured in this post on a personal level, but I do enjoy what I have seen on their respective television shows; humour and hard work being two values I am assuming are part of Seth Macfarlane and Gordon Ramsay's lives.  Honestly though, The Guardian has frankly irritated me beyond belief over two articles during the past two months, and in many ways I am glad I am now reading it less frequently.

Firstly, an interview with Seth Macfarlane and Mila Kunis, both stars of Family Guy, about TED:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2012/jul/28/ted-seth-macfarlane-mila-kunis

Secondly, an interview with Gordon Ramsay, celebrity chef, about Gordon Behind Bars:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/jun/08/gordon-ramsay-behind-bars

Note the following in both articles:
  • the journalist begins with some ridiculous warning statement over how the interview turned out.  Oooh! Shock horror! Not good! The interviewee walks out after questioning. Controversy! Why would someone walk away from the friendly Guardian? Observe the pathetic, narrative-based opening lines in the next two bullet points:
  • Ramsay interview: "Gordon Ramsay and I eyeball one another, turn away, and stare into space. In the long, sour silence that follows, I hear my nails drum the notepad on my knee. "Well," I say, "maybe we should call it a day.""
  • Macfarlane interview: "I did not plan to get into a shouting match with Mila Kunis. Showing Seth MacFarlane anything other than respect and admiration was the furthest thing from my mind."
  • there is very little reporting of the actual questions asked by the "journalists," Decca Aitkenhead (Ramsay), and Jonathan Bernstein (Macfarlane).  Instead there are detailed interjections and assumptions made by the journalists about the possible motivations of each interviewee.  This implies that there is no trust in the reader to decipher tone on his or her own.  It also shows that the journalist is not confident enough for their material to stand up to scrutiny on its own, or that, perhaps, they showed up lazily underprepared.
  • each journalist clearly has an axe to grind with each celebrity and deliberately asks provocative questions that are totally off-topic to the actual interview - Gordon Ramsay's family history and Seth Macfarlane's 'problem' of transitioning from animation to film;
  • the interviewers try to defend their opinions and "hard lines of questioning" by pulling out such ridiculous justifications and additions including these setups:
  • [Ramsay/Aitkenhead]: ""Can you get back to prisons?" the woman says. "I think we've got quite a lot that we want to say about prisons, and we've only got half an hour left." In that case, I suggest, why doesn't she take over and conduct the interview herself? "No, I think we'd just like to stick to prisons."" - YES! Great idea! Get bitchy with the PR minder assigned to Ramsay and jealous over the fact she's trying to remind you do DO YOUR JOB PROPERLY!
  • [Macfarlane/Bernstein]: "A pall of gloom settles over MacFarlane, but I know how to lift it. Listen, I tell him, you've outlasted The Flintstones and all the shows you grew up loving. You've had more success than you could ever imagine. You've got your own little mini-network within Fox. Those shows can and probably will go on for ever. Why do you need respect, too? In my mind, I'm saying this in a fraternal, empathetic, supportive way." - SUPER! Compare a modern ADULT-ORIENTED American satirical show to a children's television show! PATRONISE FOR THE WIN!
I could go on and on, but really it annoys me to even re-read each article.  I have honestly never seen such awful reporting from a publication I respect.  Lazy journalism at its absolute worst: copy and paste a load of filler information dressed up as reporting, (gathered from either Wikipedia or other Guardian articles), aim for the obvious button to "push" your interviewee to their limit, then act surprised and hurt when they refuse to continue wasting their time with you, but try to reverse it and dress it up like they're the bad guy! Hooray for The Guardian!

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