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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Stupid White Men

"If any middle class white male I come across says he wants to enter television, I say 'give up all hope'. They've no chance."

So says Jeremy Paxman, internationally famous political journalist and television presenter, who hosts the anchor, prime-time current affairs show Newsnight on the BBC. His salary in this role is over £800,000 per annum.

In his spare time, Mr Paxman hosts the long-running, much-syndicated programme University Challenge, which goes out weekly in a prime-time spot, also on the BBC. For this, he receives in the region of £240,000 per annum, the equivalent of £7,741 per show.

Jeremy Paxman is a white middle-class male.

'Jeremy Paxman, the veteran presenter of BBC's flagship current affairs programme Newsnight, has rounded on the corporation's apparent prejudice against white, middle-class males. The grand inquisitor made his remarks at the Edinburgh Television Festival when he disputed claims that it is an industry dominated by men - and pointed to a string of powerful female executives.

"Do I think it's a man's world in television? That is the most ridiculous question I have been asked all week," he said. "The worst thing you can be in this industry is a middle-class white male. If any middle-class white male I come across says he wants to enter television I say 'Give up all hope'. They've no chance."

Paxman named Jana Bennett, the director of BBC television, and Jay Hunt, the controller of BBC One, as examples. However, his apparent contradiction of former BBC Director General Greg Dyke's remark that the BBC was "hideously white", has not impressed fellow broadcaster Mariella Frostrup, who was once told by a producer on Stephen Fry's show QI that there were so few women on the programme because "there just aren't any intelligent women out there".

"He lists women because he couldn't possibly name all the men in positions of power in TV because he would be there all bloody day," she says. "He talks about middle-class white men being a beleaguered species on television. Well, excuse me, but... look at the Today programme, Have I Got News for You, Newsnight. It seems to me that TV is a fantastic place for middle-class white males."'

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