David Speers: "I don’t think anyone benefits from hiding away a candidate’s idiocy"
As the federal election inches ever closer, we throw the Sky News political editor some tough questions
In the lead-up to the Sat., May 18 federal election, Sky News political editor David Speers, 44, considers some tricky situations.
A friend whose politics you disagree with is running for office. They ask if you’ll vote for them. What do you say? My job gives me an easy out. As an impartial political journalist, I couldn’t possibly tell even my closest friends which way I vote.
At a family function, a relative makes questionable remarks about immigration. Do you take them on? Yes. I’m one of those annoying family members who challenges what everyone says. I like to politely quiz everyone’s thinking. I really don’t get how people can be so certain about some things. It doesn’t always end well around the dinner table, though!
You’re offered an interview with a controversial and, to you, idiotic candidate. What do you do? I do it. If they’re an idiot, viewers deserve to see that. I don’t think anyone benefits from hiding away a candidate’s idiocy.
At an election, none of the candidates appeals to you. Would you do a donkey vote? Have never done a donkey vote and never would. That would actually favour the unappealing candidate at the top of the ballot paper. Sorry, that’s a nerdy non-answer.
Years ago, a candidate made ill-advised social-media posts. Should they be held accountable? Racist, sexist, homophobic comments are hard to live down if you’re running for office. If it’s something less than offensive, it should be possible to forgive. This is something we’ll be grappling more with in the years ahead.
You discover information about the personal life of a candidate. Do you sit on it or report on it? Personal lives are private, in my view. Unless a candidate has misused taxpayers’ money, lied or acted in a blatantly hypocritical fashion, I would leave their personal lives alone. Not all journalists share that view, but so be it.
Gavin ScottA pop culture enthusiast from a young age, Gavin is equally passionate about great pop music (’80s synthpop, ’10s dream pop), gripping TV series (Friday Night Lights, The Handmaid’s Tale) and trips to the cinema (I love a blockbuster as much as anyone, but I’m done with the superhero thing).