Paxman, as close as you can get to the gold standard in tv journalism, slips up. Rather badly, as it happens..
Famous for repeating the same question to Michael Howard (then leader of the opposition, although he had “something of the night” about him by fellow shadow cabinet minister Ann Widdecombe) 27 times (or something like that, we gave up counting after 16..)
[Click the link for the film]
Newsnight anchor gets into a pickle over the group UK Uncut and the word ‘cuts’, repeating slip made by BBC colleague
Introducing an item on tax and spending, the veteran journalist added an unexpected consonant to the word ‘cuts’, suppressed a faint, astonished grin – and soldiered on with his script.
“Supposing, though, some of the people who ought to be paying taxes so the
cunts, cuts aren’t so bad aren’t actually doing so,” Paxman said.
Paxman’s error was the third such mistake on the corporation’s output within the past two months. In December, James Naughtie committed an identical mistake when he accidentally introduced the culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, as Jeremy Cunt live on BBC Radio 4 – an error repeated later that day by Andrew Marr.
Naughtie came back on air before the Today programme ended, apologised, and said he had “got into an awful tangle just before the 8am news, courtesy of Dr Spooner.” Spooner was an Oxford don who became famous for muddling his words and gave rise to the term Spoonerism.
Paxman’s uncharacteristic confusion may have been triggered by the fact that the news item related to tongue-twisting UK Uncut, the direct action group that lobbies to ensure corporations pay their taxes.
On Twitter, the Freudian slip generated guffaws: @shaun_hurst tweeted: “There is DEFINITELY a sweepstake going on at the BBC or something’. @Ariafrost suggested: “It’s the new way to publicise their programmes now”, and @dhymers said: “Pity he didn’t say it on University Challenge: students probably would have died laughing.”