Anyone who watched Newsnight on Wednesday night won’t have forgotten the moment that Jeremy Paxman was rebuked on air for comparing Greece to a sub-standard late-night takeaway, but his employers have backed him in the face of complaints, insisting that it’s all part of the presenter’s “provocotive style”.
In the introduction to a segment, Paxman explained that âlike a bad kebabâ?, Greece faced the prospect of being âvomited out of the single currencyâ?.
The host was quickly shut down by one of his guests, Giorgos Papakonstantinou, a Greek minister, who was appearing live from Athens, who reacted angrily to the comments. âCan I take issue with your ‘bad kebabâ analogy, which I find offensive,” he said. “The Greek economy is in a crisis and the Greek people are going through a lot, and deserve some respect, and I really did not find that very appropriate.â?
Nobel Prize-winning economist, Paul Krugman shared the Greek politicianâs dismay: âI think that was, actually, quite inappropriate, to say that the Greeks have done something terribly wrong,â? he said.
The Beeb confirmed that there have been a few complaints about Paxman’s unpleasant analogy, yet a spokesman explained that Paxman was a pretty big deal and could do what he wanted.
âRegular Newsnight viewers will be aware of Jeremyâs provocative style and use of humour,” came the statement. “The comment was firmly in that tradition. The guests responded to the comment within the debate, which quickly moved on to a wider analysis of the situation.â?