Mandelson v. Marr: Master class or disaster class – you decide

On Sunday’s Andrew Marr show I think Lord Peter Mandelson totally obliterated Marr. Mandelson was cool, calm and confident while Marr became more flustered as Mandelson continued to pick holes in Marr’s frequently inaccurate and vacuous questions.

At least that was my take on the interview. It was a master class that other politicians would do well to emulate. Mandelson didn’t evade answering questions, but also didn’t fall for any of Marr’s attempts to trip him up.

Lewis PR’s David Brown disagrees and thinks it was ‘an example of all that can go wrong when media training tactics are taken to an extreme.’ In the comments Edelman’s David Brain says: ‘I could not disagree more. I thought he handled Marr brilliantly and Marr was left at the end floundering around trying to back up his own use of rumours and interrupting Mandy when he was answering. I can’t think of any other politician who could have handled that situation with such skill.’

Hotwire/33Digital’s Drew Benvie thinks it was ‘Essential viewing: how to handle an interview under fire. The Mandelson Vs Marr show.’

If you’re in public relations and didn’t see it I’d definitely recommend watching it (YouTube videos below). So what did you think? Vote in the poll below:


About Stuart Bruce

International communications consultant and PR trainer specialising in online public affairs, digital corporate communications, online PR and social media; frequent national media commentator and conference speaker.
  • http://twitter.com/kindleresearch Paul Hutchings

    Mandelson is accomplished but not very human. He's the kind of person you'd want directing a funeral – efficient, smooth, cold.

  • emily

    So horrible to de-robe the country's key political journalist like that. Why?

  • http://www.speedcommunications.com/blogs/wadds/ Stephen Waddington

    It was a poor interview, by any measure, and added nought to the debate. There was no winner, and the only loser was democracy. Politicians need to engage in conversation, not rebuttal.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/stuartbrucepr Stuart Bruce – Wolfstar

    @wadds but surely that was the point? Marr wanted to talk gossip and rumours, and Mandelson wouldn't let him. He wanted a conversation about real issues and facts. You can't not rebut if the journalist is spinning half-truths. Mandelson was the one who tried to engage in conversation and Marr failed. You're right the loser was democracy, but 110% Marr's fault.

  • Simon

    It was a masterclass from start to finish. I hate this government and what they have done but you have to give it to Mandelson – one serious operator both behind the scenes and in front of the camera.

  • http://profile.typepad.com/robskinner robskinner

    Sorry, I came late to this one.
    I'm not a fan of Mandelson's supercilious style, and have criticised his interview evasions on my blog (http://tinyurl.com/m3qyb) but this time I rather admired his gutsy performance. The way he asked Marr what Blears had actually said was a masterstroke. Can't say I was convinced that Brown never wanted to move Darling, but no one could have turned the reshuffle into a PR triumph.