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22 November 2014
by Mike.B

Clive Palmer storms out of interview after questions over legal battle

Whilst I agree that public figures, particularly politicians, should be held to account in their business dealings outside of politics, there should also be a sense of diplomacy in regards to how the questions are asked.

When a journalist fires questions in rapid succession without giving an interviewee oportunities for response, one can understand the interviewee's frustration, and in Clive Palmer's case, why he chose to terminate his interview with Emma Alberici on Lateline.

Clive Palmer has a track record of terminating interviews on TV, and hanging up on telephone interviews when, in Palmer's opinion, the journalist has crossed the line. I have seen two of Palmer's walk outs on TV, and in both cases the interviewer had been interviewing Palmer on matters either before a court, or having being presented for litigation before a court.

In many cases, a public figure will answer curtly that "I cannot answer that because it is before the courts". In Palmer's defence, in both cases I have seen, he did try to answer the questions, but the interviewer was firing questions in such rapid sequence that he couldn't get an answer in sideways.

In the short video below, you will see what I mean. One can observe the frustration growing in Palmer as Alberici browbeats him.

Clive Palmer Storms Out

This is a tactic used by journalists to keep their interview focused on one single point, regardless of whether the interviewee wants to digress or not. Palmer is a seasoned public figure, and has made his point to journalists that if they choose this tactic, he will terminate the interview if they continue without listening to his attempts at answers.

In less seasoned figures, as in the case of Pauline Hanson, when she surfaced from nowhere as leader of 'One Nation', she was pilloried by experienced attack journalists, and eventually capitulated to their whims.

The strange thing is, in all cases where the tactic has failed, the journalists feel hard done by.