/ My new hero.

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.
Rog Wilko on 12 Jan 2017
I expect I’m way behind here, but I have just discovered my new hero! After reading an article in last Sunday’s Observer Review I’ve been hooked on You Tube videos showing interviews conducted by James O’Brien who runs a daily phone-in on LBC. For the enlightenment of any people out there who haven’t come across him, he is a genius at dismantling the bogus arguments of politicians and “ornery people” who ring in. I probably like him because he is bit of a leftie, but what I really admire is the amazing speed that he displays in picking up weaknesses in the interviewees’ arguments. I was most impressed when he pointed out the misleading fallacy of quoting employment numbers, which always raises my blood pressure. Of course there are more people working than ever before in the UK – there are more people in the UK than ever before, and more part-timers than ever before. Percentages don’t lie, raw numbers can deceive.
Here are a couple I’ve enjoyed:
http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=james+o%27brien+interviews+electrician+from+Pinner+you+tube&...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z4Rq7avG234
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWZ9nKyfU7A
2
JayPee630 - on 12 Jan 2017
In reply to Rog Wilko:

The Farage one is fantastic isn't it? I *almost* felt sorry for him.
Hugh Janus - on 12 Jan 2017
In reply to Rog Wilko:

He's clearly a very clever chap who obviously does his research.

However, I think he's a bit of a bully who is not really interested in debate for any altruistic purposes but rather to belittle his opponent, (something that happens on here quite regularly). Using these tactics, he will not actually change the opinions of the people he is debating, they will just think "What a w@nker" and more than likely have their beliefs reinforced. I would much rather listen to someone who fully listens to someone's comments and answers them with enlightened arguments in an attempt to correct their misconceptions rather than bombard them with a pre-prepared list of facts and figures he has in front of him just pick holes in their arguments. He constantly interupts in an attempt to fluster people, possibly because he is hoping that it will lead to them making more mistakes. These are not discussions, but merely a pure form of debate in order to aggrandise himself and in truth, he's someone I find a bit annoying.

BTW, I am politically more centre-left than anything else and think that UKIP & Farage are a "basket of deplorables".
6
Rog Wilko on 12 Jan 2017
In reply to Hugh J:
Well, I can't really agree. What he does which no other interviewer seems capable of doing is he refuses to allow his "victims" (if that suits your viewpoint!) to get away with slippery diversionary tactics. As soon as they try to answer the question THEY want to answer rather than the one they've been asked he interjects. On Today I am often disappointed by the way interviewers don't prevent this happening. Your pre-prepared list of facts and figures is for me the man doing his homework, and his constant interruptions are just keeping his interviewees on the straight and narrow.
BTW, though we disagree I didn't "dislike" your post. :oD
Post edited at 19:55
3
JEF on 12 Jan 2017
In reply to Hugh J:

John Humphries on the Today programme on radio 4 also does that. I spit toast around the kitchen shouting at him, but he takes no notice.
Hugh Janus - on 12 Jan 2017
In reply to Rog Wilko:
> BTW, though we disagree I didn't "dislike" your post. :oD

Nor I yours. I may well have got the dislike for the UKIP comment, but it doesn't bother me.

I have no objection to his pointing out the inconsistencies in other's arguments, it's just his tactics that are not to my taste, but that's a personal thing. I just don't think his approach will lead to people changing their opinions. He's obviously very talented, but I prefer reasoned and enlightening debate to just rubbishing a view point with facts and figures without offering a counter-argument. But maybe that's not the job of an interviewer?

Have you ever thought that you could be in an echo chamber listening to this guy?

I listen to a lot of Sam Harris podcasts, but I now prefer his more science based ones than his political ones, which represent my own views, which is nice but not necessarily enlightening. I have recently tried to find stuff that is not really from my standpoint and have listened to likes of Douglas Murray and Rezza Aslan to try to get a fuller picture of a wider society.

Edit: I really should turn the light on so I can see the keyboard!
Post edited at 20:41
jkarran - on 13 Jan 2017
In reply to Hugh J:

> However, I think he's a bit of a bully who is not really interested in debate for any altruistic purposes but rather to belittle his opponent, (something that happens on here quite regularly). Using these tactics, he will not actually change the opinions of the people he is debating, they will just think "What a w@nker" and more than likely have their beliefs reinforced. I would much rather listen to someone who fully listens to someone's comments and answers them with enlightened arguments in an attempt to correct their misconceptions rather than bombard them with a pre-prepared list of facts and figures he has in front of him just pick holes in their arguments.

He often does simply discuss and probe and reason and that discussion does occasionally result in callers softening or reconsidering their position. Some don't and and their ideas in the cold light of day come across as rather half baked in which case it's easy to feel a bit sorry for them but it's their choice to call a radio station to air their ideas, surely nobody calls him under any illusion they'll just be given a free platform to fulminate from unchallenged, they presumable all feel their position is defensible and they're intellectually up to the task of defending it. I know I'm not knowledgeable enough on any single subject nor sharp enough intellectually to engage in that kind of live debate so I don't.

People like Farage on the other hand deserve to have their feet held to the fire (metaphorically of course before someone accuses me of violent fascism) and if that means being better prepared than the interviewee, willing and able to keep the interview on track and to counter bluster with logic and facts then so be it. It's a rough and tumble game Farage plays, he deserves a dose of it from time to time.
jk
2
JayPee630 - on 13 Jan 2017
In reply to Hugh J:

Have you read much Kenan Malik, he's excellent on those topics too.

I do kind of agree with you about his interview tactics, but I think it's fair enough and a refreshing change given the easy time that politicians and others get on nearly all talk shows/interviews/etc.
2
stevieb - on 13 Jan 2017
In reply to Hugh J:

I agree with you.
James O'Brien pretty much represents my world view on most of these issues, but frequently his style of arguing forces those with an opposing view onto the defensive.
Also, I get frustrated that professionals like him, often don't bring more information to the table. e.g. Everyone seems to think that Canada and China have the same level of access to the single market that the UK has.
Robert Durran - on 13 Jan 2017
In reply to jkarran:

> It's a rough and tumble game Farage plays, he deserves a dose of it from time to time.

Much as I loathe the man and despise what Farage stands for, I felt that the interview was a bit below the belt at times.

However I thought the demolition of the Brexit voting caller was brilliant, exposing his views fair and square as utterly vacuous. No sympathy for him at all.
3
ScottTalbot on 13 Jan 2017
In reply to Hugh J:

> He's clearly a very clever chap who obviously does his research.

> However, I think he's a bit of a bully who is not really interested in debate for any altruistic purposes but rather to belittle his opponent, (something that happens on here quite regularly). Using these tactics, he will not actually change the opinions of the people he is debating, they will just think "What a w@nker" and more than likely have their beliefs reinforced. I would much rather listen to someone who fully listens to someone's comments and answers them with enlightened arguments in an attempt to correct their misconceptions rather than bombard them with a pre-prepared list of facts and figures he has in front of him just pick holes in their arguments. He constantly interupts in an attempt to fluster people, possibly because he is hoping that it will lead to them making more mistakes. These are not discussions, but merely a pure form of debate in order to aggrandise himself and in truth, he's someone I find a bit annoying.

> BTW, I am politically more centre-left than anything else and think that UKIP & Farage are a "basket of deplorables".

It's easy to sound clever when you've had time to thoroughly research a topic, unlike your run of the mill caller...

I find O'B a bit hit and miss. Sometimes I agree with him, sometimes I don't.

What I really dislike about him is that if he's losing a debate, he cuts the caller off and then has the last word! Imo that shouldn't be allowed.
SenzuBean - on 13 Jan 2017
In reply to Hugh J:

> I just don't think his approach will lead to people changing their opinions

If you read the comments (don't read too many - youtube comments are carcinogenic in large quantities) - you seem to be right.
jkarran - on 13 Jan 2017
In reply to ScottTalbot:
> It's easy to sound clever when you've had time to thoroughly research a topic, unlike your run of the mill caller...

Shouldn't that be the other way around? The caller (unless it's the lonely old lady who calls their local station every day with a view on anything, everything or nothing. It can't only be my local radio that had one of these) is calling in on their pet subject, the thing they are passionate about. A talk show presenter is by necessity a generalist who at best has done some reading in preparation for the day's calls when there is a known theme.

Are we seriously criticising someone for doing their homework and talking from a position of knowledge?
jk
Post edited at 12:40
The Ivanator - on 13 Jan 2017
In reply to Rog Wilko:

Shouldn't everyone's new hero be the doughty Zimpara?
ScottTalbot on 13 Jan 2017
In reply to jkarran:
> Shouldn't that be the other way around? The caller (unless it's the lonely old lady who calls their local station every day with a view on anything, everything or nothing. It can't only be my local radio that had one of these) is calling in on their pet subject, the thing they are passionate about. A talk show presenter is by necessity a generalist who at best has done some reading in preparation for the day's calls when there is a known theme.

> Are we seriously criticising someone for doing their homework and talking from a position of knowledge?

> jk

I listen to LBC a lot, so believe me, most callers aren't calling about their pet subjects at all. Most callers are just listening to the radio whilst working and call in purely as a reaction to something provocative the presenter has said. They usually don't have an argument past that one point, which is why they get tied on knots.

The callers who do have their pet subject are very quickly cut off.
Post edited at 12:58
nufkin - on 13 Jan 2017
In reply to The Ivanator:

> Shouldn't everyone's new hero be the doughty Zimpara?

Looks like that won you a 'like' from Zimpara's mum
aln - on 13 Jan 2017
In reply to nufkin:

I'm not his mum.
The Ivanator - on 15 Jan 2017
In reply to aln:

I'm not his trolley.

This topic has been archived, and won't accept reply postings.