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    “I do it because it works”: Annabel Crabb responds to critics of her interview with Peter Dutton on Kitchen Cabinet

    Annabel Crabb has responded to critics of her interview with opposition leader Peter Dutton on ABC’s Kitchen Cabinet, which aired on August 22.

    The interview has drawn the ire of people who disagreed with the style of conversation in contrast to their expectations of an interview with a politician.

    Recently, journalist Jan Fran took to Instagram to comment about the “curious” juxtaposition between recounts of Dutton’s “rather jovial” nature, as seen in the Kitchen Cabinet episode, compared to his “hard line in policy and rhetoric.”

    Fran wrote: “The duality is interesting, I suppose. But then I think, who cares?”

    Read more: “Who Cares?”: Jan Fran comments on Peter Dutton Kitchen Cabinet episode

    Tim Dunlop also shared his views on his blog in an article titled Laundering Peter Dutton in the Kitchen Cabinet in which he examined the show’s purpose and what it does for the PR side of politics. He noted that the show is “soft-soaping powerful people” and “dumbs down debate”

    Dunlop suggested: “If Crabb is doing journalism, and not light entertainment, no politician should feel entirely comfortable receiving an invitation to participate. By the end of the encounter, they should feel tested, not relaxed.”

    Dunlop’s piece was brought to the attention of Crabb who offered her a 2500-word response, which he published on his blog. She highlighted factual errors and important elements of Kitchen Cabinet including successful examples of previous episodes, why the style works, the amount of work that goes into setting up the interviews and her own techniques.

    Crabb wrote: “I’m all for the democratisation of journalism. But being chipped for my journalistic practice by someone who has done (as far as I can see) no basic research or made any effort at all to interrogate the subject of his article… It’s a lot, Tim. Not gonna lie,” she wrote.

    “Your solution in the article is that I really should be answering those questions for you in the form of a pre-broadcast announcement. Are you for real? Let’s be clear about what our jobs are. I ask politicians questions in interviews. You write articles about the process of journalism. So investigate it! Ask the questions! Preferably before you sail into print! Don’t make me do your job as well as mine, Tim. For crying in a bucket. I’m a busy lady,” she wrote.

    Crabb also said: “I’m not sure if you’ve ever interviewed someone for broadcast, Tim. Particularly someone who’s been interviewed a million times before. It’s actually quite difficult. You have to keep a bunch of things in your brain at once. And be able to respond to changes in mood, or opportunities as they arise. You only get one shot.

    “The challenge is to construct circumstances in which it’s impossible for them to avoid a question. In this programme, I happen to do it by making it tonally awkward for a hardened political interviewee to deflect a question they otherwise wouldn’t answer. I bring them a dessert. I don’t carry a notebook.

    “I give them something to do with their hands to distract them. I bring four cameras so we don’t have to stop and start. And I use every ounce of my skill to draw them in and make them feel like this is a real conversation, not an interview. That’s why people tell me things. I don’t do it this way because I love flouncing around with a basket; I do it because it works.”

    Dunlop noted the corrections in his piece and published his reply, in which he said: “I don’t feel there is a lot I can say, only that the piece was meant as a genuine attempt to respond to the show and its place in our politics.

    “But I can see how they can come across that way, so I take your point. I absolutely know how difficult that role is and would never diminish it. You were brilliant. Simple as.”

    Top image: Annabel Crabb

    The post “I do it because it works”: Annabel Crabb responds to critics of her interview with Peter Dutton on Kitchen Cabinet appeared first on Mediaweek.

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