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In the latest of Hardtalk's special series of business interviews, Stephen Sackur talked to Adam Bruce - the UK CEO of Airtricity, a key player in the renewables industry. With a bit of creative thinking we can have many more renewable projects AND have the power transmitted without destroying the Scottish landscape, homes, jobs, and the tourist industry etc. The next time someone is interviewed about the pylons I would like to see the discussion widened by a question such as "If you were not permitted to transmit the power overland on these massive pylons or underground,what other options are possible?" The no transmission line at all plays into the hands of those who use the fear factor - "the lights will go out or costs will spiral without it". AMEC have suggestd an undersea route down the west coast. The Crown Estates are exploring an east coast line. I was pleased to hear Mr Bruce being pushed on the issue of how much damage will be done by the Beauly-Denny 400kv industrial pylons that will march through some of the most stunning countryside in the world. However, I felt despondent that once again the choice being put forward is this line with or without some undergrounding or no line. Please help us find a solution that suits the renewables industry and the people against the pylons.
jo cumming, scotland
What an inspirational, rational, compassionate and humane man Bishop Kevin Dowling is. Far from criticising his stance on handing out condoms in AIDS-ridden South Africa, he should be praised by the Catholic Church for making positive efforts to prevent the disease and bring about a change in attitude in the country. He proves that the Church's first priority should be to HELP people, not spread the doctrine of the church. His actions speak volumes for the type of man he is, and I would like to support the work he does in whatever way I can.
Andy Griffiths, Wales
I just watched Stephen Sackur interview Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales, I fount it interesting he asked him how can he profit from advertising on his new business venture when people believe it is a non profit organization. Didn't the BBC recently start to advertise on the BBC website even though people perceive them to be a non profit organization?
On returning home from a late New Years Eve Party (relatively sober.. promise!), we made coffee and switched on the TV. We didnt take much notice at first but then there was silence. It was the interview by Stephen Sackur with Beverley Aspinal of Fortnum and Mason. At the end I said "I enjoyed that".. my partner said exactly the same. We think this was because the interviewer was spot on and didn't goad the interviewee, but allowed her to talk. None of the usual 'trying to pick an argument'. It was a really nice change. Yes a very good interview, and interviewer and interviewee. Thanks
Vee Cooke, UK
What utter piffle Stephen Sackur allowed Adam Bruce to get away with. To claim the wind blows 90% of the time in UK is nonsense. More like 25% at speeds suitable for producing wind energy. Why didn't Sackur take up this vital point? Why wasn't Sackur properly briefed ?
Ron Forrest, UK
Very much enjoy the somwhat blunt candor of Stephens`s style, the topics and people but, would like to see more interviews with specialists in the climate change(GHG, Carbon) sectors, Energy, and infrastructure. Keep up the good work but, Stephen do not let them off the hook so easy- these corporate gurus have pat answers for everything, except the facts and figures. Regards, Ernest
Ernest , Canada
Please keep the Martin Seligman - Stephen Sackur Hardtalk interview on postive psychology and happiness available for about 5 years so that it can be linked to with confidence for the forseeable future. Both Interviewer and Interviewee gave a robust performance not in pursuit of their own individual TV personas but in interrogating the ideas put forth and interrogated. BBC at its best.
What an inspirational, rational, compassionate and humane man Bishop Kevin Dowling is. Far from criticising his stance on handing out condoms in AIDS-ridden South Africa, he should be praised by the Catholic Church for making positive efforts to prevent the disease and bring about a change in attitude in the country. He proves that the Church's first priority should be to HELP people, not spread the doctrine of the church. His actions speak volumes for the type of man he is, and I would like to support the work he does in whatever way I can.
Andy Griffiths, Wales
I've enjoyed every bit of your episodes. I don't have words to describe the positive attributes to humanity as a whole -- what you do with programmes like this. Keep it up! I want Stephen to get either the PM of Malaysia or the Justice minister there for a session. Ill be waiting eagerly. Please do this for all .Best of luck to you BBC in all that you do to the best of the independence of the media you uphold.
Having listened to BBC radio since 1972 and now subscribing to BBC TV I have to say that Stephen Sackur's interview with Richard Perle was one of the more disturbing programs I can remember. I can't imagine why he let this individual, a leading architect of one of modern history's worst disasters,the Iraq war, get away with what he has done. He even allowed Perle to deny the very existence of "neocons"! How pathetic!
Ron Davis, Bolivia
Stephen Sackur interviewing Richard Dawkins was quite the most disappointing interview I have ever seen. Stephen Sackur speaks with the accent of authority but the knowledge of fool. The BBC, through a poorly researched, ill-educated 'devil's advocate' approach shows itself to be out-dated and irrelevant yet again (as in all science programming). Whilst interviewing the foremost evolutionary biologist and most prominent atheist with the most absurd arguments and unfairness I have heard outside of the religious right, the BBC has chosen to promote religion.
Having just watched Hardtalk for the first time -- a round-up of this years guests (the best bits) -- I would like to congratulate you on a job well done. The presenter was informed and well balanced in his approach to every piece. As knowledgable as Paxman is, I always felt that he was looking for a verbal brawl, rather then a conclusion to an issue. Stephen Sackur dealt with difficult issues and actually found answers that I had long felt would be voiced only behind closed doors. I felt educated with each piece and I look forward to catching Hardtalk from here on.
John Neary, Ireland
Stephen Sackur had the ideal programme this morning at 0430hrs. Will Hutton of The Work Foundation would have been a marvellous subject on his own. But with the other two as balance to his opinion, I think Mr. Hutton's opinions spot on. You see, I have sent you feedback and only mentioned Stephen the at the very beginning. He didn't intrude.
Anthony Thomas Flynn, United Kingdom
I've just watched Mr Sackur's interview of Hazel Blears. It was absolutely astonishing to see a representative of the BBC asking the questions it has been afraid to ask for literally years. Mr Sackur was brilliant and exhibited the kind of courage and frankness which has been so sadly lacking at the institution for too long. I think I even saw an item on the news earlier where something positive was said about America! Well done!
Paul Stanton, UK
I just saw Mr Sackur interview EU Kosovo negotiator Wolfgang Ischinger and I was very impressed. Mr Sackur asked the hard questions, was concise and to the point, and avoided the usual journalistic softness when it comes to pressing his interviewee. It is very refreshing to see an interviewer not allow his guest to get off the hook with the usual pre formulated answers. Mr Sackur asks the questions we all wish we could ask such people, and makes the points we wish we could make to them, in plain terms without the diplomatic language. He is by no means rude, but asks exactly the right things in exactly the right way, and when his interviewee gets nervous and uncomfortable, you know he's doing his job properly. One doesn't see interviews like this often. Kudos and thank you. Keep it up Stephen!
Gus K, Toronto, Canada
I truly enjoyed the Valerie Plame interview and I believe she gracefully handled Stephen Sackur's 'interruptions' when she was explaining a point. Because she was recounting her version of what was in her opinion factually correct I would have liked to have heard the rest of what she had to say before being interrupted. Nonetheless, I learned a tremendous amount about this chapter. Plans to interview Judith Miller? Great show, thanks.
Loch McJannett, Vancouver, Canada
I want to congratulate to Stephen Sackur, and his staff. Hard Talk is one of the best report programme in the world.The differences makes the world as beauty as it is. Without talking we can not solve, or even understand the problems. Hard Talk gives something more then normal Tv programmes. You do a great job. With respect, Attila Sándor
Attila Sándor, Hungary
Stephen Sacker's Dec. 5 interview with Paddy Ashdown missed the point or maybe he was trying to have Ashdown make the point for him. In any case, as Mr. Ashdown stated, the Kosovo situation has been created in large part through Belgrade's bloody mismanagement, not only in Kosovo but throughout the former Jugoslavia. Let's get real; nobody of sound mind and with experience under good governance would advocate that Belgrade run anything. Mr. Sacker must also be aware that all of the Slavic speaking Jugoslav republics: Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Macedonia and most recently Montenegro; have broken away from Belgrade's rule -- all have old Orthodox monasteries and churches. The aberration is that the one republic technically remaining under Belgrade, Kosovo, is Albanian speaking and the least connected ethnically to Serbia. The early years of UNMIK in Kosovo did not promote a status decision because the UN is not capable of decision-making in difficult situations: the UN has neither a backbone nor ethics. Sincerely, Michael Maturo, Former OHR RRTF Field Officer, Doboj Region, 1999 - 2001, BiH. Former USAID/Kosovo Program Officer, Pristina, 2002 - 2006
Michael Maturo, Canada
Thanks for the Gore/Pachauri interview. It would be great to get a download of it so I can relish it all over again. SS was hard, but maybe not hard enough. Any observant viewer can see that Gore is basically another 'Repent ye sinners for the end of the world in nigh' scaremonger. By diplomatically leaving in the air Gore's astounding statement that the media should suppress any ideas that disagree with the AGW alarmist rhetoric, SS made it even more obvious what an outrageous scam we are dealing with here. To have been even harder, I would like to have seen Gore have to justify the inclusion of the Hockey Stick graph now it has been roundly discredited.Thanks again for a great interview.(Yes, I am probably an AGW disaster scenario blasphemer)
Neil Burnett, Belgium
Today I watched Steven Sackur interview Nobel Peace Prizes winners Al Gore and Dr Rajendra Pachauri. Not only do Mr Gore and Dr Pachauri deserve the immense honor of being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their tireless work regarding climate change (for the well being and survival of all mankind), but perhaps just a shred of respect from Steven Sackur who's often incorrect questioning of Mr Gore left him looking foolish and disrespectful, as Mr Gore swept him aside with eloquence, being scientifically backed up by the marvelous Dr Pachauri.
A. Tumik, Australia
I have watched twice today Stephen Sackur's interview with Mr. Vuk Jeremic, following many "Hard Talks" which I have watched during my 9 years in Kosovo, first with OSCE, then with UNMIK. I was very surprised today, because for the first time ever, I had the strong impression that Stephen had departed from his usual evenhandedness: what I saw was someone desperately trying to convince someone else without taking into account neither the real situation nor the mere fact that any agreement or international treaty that would amount to a "zero to one hundred score" is in itself a bad agreement, potentially dangerous for the future ... The West took the responsability to "re-balkanize" the Balkans, as it had never been done before; what's more is the fact that Kosovo has rather recently found itself on a chessboard where some major Nations are fighting for many other subjects. Is it enough to take side and decide unilaterally that one solution is better than any other, when negotiations are far from being exhausted? That is, if major countries agree to invest more fairness and more interest into the well-being of the local populations. It is the first time ever that I express such strong feelings after an interview and I hope you can take some of it under consideration. Finally, I noticed that, immediately after the talk, there was no shakehand or any smile between the debaters and it seems to me that it is most unusual.
Hubert de Laporte, Fr-un-kosovo
Love the BBC, love your show for you are objective and worldly unlike CNN. Stephen keep it that way! I only ask you to show a couple of times during the show the name of the guest and the interview's theme please since often we the viewers do not have the chance to watch your programme from the very beginning nor the time to log in your webpage to find out who he was. This would be greatly appreciated!
Ms. Rosario Meza, Peru
Just watched Paddy Ashdown being given the easiest ride on the theft of territory from Serbia and the absolute refusal to grant to Serbs in Repulika Srpska the same rights as he freely extends to Albanians in Serbian Kosovo. Also, it might have been a difficult point for your hardtalker to grasp but Albanians have plenty of territory already and it is called Albania. The terrorism of Albanians in other parts of the south Balkan region were ignored as were the atrocities against Serbs by Muslim converts who now occupy Bosnia. The Slavic race slur was allowed to go totally unchallenged and the simple point of a minority from a neighbouring country,forming a local majority who then claim that territory cannot ever be legal just because mighty nations with oil interests say so.
William Law, Serbia/ UK
Well done Lord Hattersley! What a great programme the Lord Hattersley interview was. It was a rare treat to see Mr Sackur on the back foot, even to the point that he was speechless on a few occasions.
Stuart Neillands, Kazakhstan
I don't know who that rude "Peer" was on your EXCELLENT show tonight but you were superb as usual! His wrists were properly slapped!
Kish Hahn, Canada
I was watching your show with Mr Vladimir Bukovsky. He is going to run for the president's office - it made me laugh. What exactly he will do to make life for all Russians better? We all can complain as we all know the best defense is the attact but please let us be constructive! I am a middle class Russian and I need basic things: home, work, holidays etc. I am an educated men. I was listening to his mumbles, accuses, negative attitude, disrespect towards Mr Putin, disrespect towards guys like myself and it made my blood boil on how thick people can be! The time when we (ex USSR people) were not aware of the rest of the world is gone. We know what and how things are done in the west and we know how to tell one thing from the other. And I believe this is what Mr Putin has done over his eight year presidency is that he has shown to his people what is RIGHT and who is WRONG and how to move on for the Russians. People like Mr Bukovsky and the like such as Mr Kasparov stand zero chance to be heard! My recommendation: Change your Brain - like Mr Putin once said!
Eugene , Kazakhstan
.. The BBC owes it to America (and by unfortunate extension, the world) to beam this program into the home and workplace of every so-called two-bit 'journalist' in the US so they can see how interviews are meant to be conducted. I'm 38 and can just barely remember when journalists in the US actually asked tough questions. But it seems so long ago and I have wasted too much time wondering whether US journalists nowadays are: 1) too complacent with politicians or 2) bought-off by the 'establishment' or 3) both. In short, I miss tough questions in the US. Show them how it's done, please.
Spiros Diolitsis, Greece
Your 'Hardtalk' with Mr. Slaven Bilic was super!
Bob Mostarac, Canada
Stephen Sackur is brilliant. Whilst in Iran on business last week the only English channel was BBC News 24. He's quality, he'd gun me down in proper fashion in an interview. He's a superb representative of the British people (too good actually). Word up SS, you're the biz.
Simon Ryder, UAE (British Expat)
I just watched Hardtalk for the first time. Congratulations to Stephen Sackur. It was unusual but very refreshing to watch Richard Perle actually squirm. If only someone from the American media had had the intelligence and courage to question those neocon pinheads before the Iraq invasion we might have avoided the resulting calamity.
Bob Blaquera, Canada
Just to commend BBC World on broadcasting a very informative interview with the exiled Hamas leader this week. I learnt more from this interview about the difficulties with the peace process and the mindsets of the various factions than any news report would normally give to me. This is in my view news at its best. Please keep these coming!
Sackur's interview of Khaled Meshal recently was so biased that I can only conclude that Sackur is being paid in US dollars and shekels. Why is it that the attack is always against the Palestinians when it is the Israelis that occupy and brutally supress millions of Palestinians while continuing to consolidate their hold on the West Bank where, incidently main the artesian water reserves exist. Why do you not critique Israel for a start? They are the people who are leading us into deeper problems in the Middle East.
Patrick Hill, Canada
What an excellent interview with, for my money, the cleverest man on the planet. Jeremy Rifkin is the sort of visionary that we absolutely need to move us from the era of high polluting societies to hydrogen based, less waste sustainable economies.
Roger Huw Jones, Japan
Today was the first time I have ever watched Hardtalk and I was absolutely taken aback at the lact of interviewing skills of the BBC representative. If you were to time the amount of minutes that your BBC interviewer spoke versus the guest speaker (who by the way we tuned into to listen to) guess who won hands down? I suggest either firing him or sending him to journalism school. Did your interviewer take lessons from Jerry Springer?
Rashne Macgregor Taleyarkhan, United Kingdom
I am pleasantly surprised that Stephen Sackur took a fairly tough line with Prof. Walt. He almost made Walt agree with him that the "Israel Lobby" is no more of a threat to America than the NRA or the Farmers lobby. The fact is that America follows policies that are good for America, which is as it should be. However I would have liked Sackur to ask Walt if it would not have been better for him and his co-author to study the negative affects of the America-Saudi relationship. The failure of America to put pressure on the Saudis to stop preaching radical Wahabism and stop supporting terror including the PLO. Why did America never put pressure on their Arab "allies" to make peace with Israel when Israel offered peace after the 1967 war
Henry Tobias, Israel
When watching the interview with Jelena Jankovic I was shocked to hear her country dubbed country of racism and ethnic cleansing in a tone of disbelief of how can she be proud of a country like that. Imagine Beckham being asked what about racism in his own country and history of colonialisation and exploitation. That is the same thing and what has it got to do with sports. You have offended Jelena and it was a good thing she is so good natured and didn`t react to this provocation.
I watch Hardtalk regularly and think Stephen Sackur does an outstanding job. It's rare to find journalists as incisive and as unrelenting with their questions, yet retaining a respect for their interviewees and a calm and intelligent demeanour. Stephen manages this, and he never falters. I admire his style and his gumption. His researchers, if he indeed has any, should also be highly commended - he is always ready to counter any claims of unfairness or untruths with hard facts to hand. Long may he continue!
John Coan, Czech Republic
I watched in YouTube how Sarah interviewed the Malaysian Foreign Minister Dato Seri Syed Hamid Albar. I have to say that the facts that were brought up were not only true but also painfully accurate. The Malaysian government (as represented by the Foreign Minister) has become quite adept at denying all forms of discrimination namely because they control the media. The so-called elite Malays have been championing the Malay Agenda where all non-Malays (or non-Bumiputra) will be sidelined for any economic prospect, government benefits, career prospect and etc. A classic example is that the government is encouraging the Malay's involvment in business such that the wealth may be distributed amongst the Malays. Sadly, the wealth does not goes to the MAJORITY of the Malays but only to a handful of the elite Malays. Sometimes I wonder if it is true where the political arena is used by most politicians as a platform to generate wealth and not championing the welfare of ALL MALAYSIANS. Lastly, the government proclaimed that many nations around the world wonder in awe and wish to emulate our formula for a successful racial integration. There is no racial integration, only racial separation. The only reasons why the non-Malays do not voice up is because the government blatantly ignores you and/or you end up imprisoned.
Thank you so much for the interview with Alan Johnston. And please, tell him how great it is to see him on tv again. Thousands of other people surely feel the same. While he was there, people talked about his courage and integrity.
Hi there, usually not a BBC viewer I have watched the Hardtalk interview with Alan Johnston while on a business trip in Mexico and was really touched and moved by the story...and the way Alan Johnston was dealing with the whole situation... Congratulations to this informative talk,
Andreas Peuckert, Germany
Stephen, For the life of me, when the State Dept. U.S.A. cheerleader was rattling off all the policies that the U.S. supposedly (ostensibly) puts out there which everyone agrees with, when she ticked off the establishment of a Palestinian state, I have no idea why you didn't challenge her on that. Irrespective of whatever the White House says, or has said in the past, Israel does not want a Palestinian state, it wants to gradually usurp more and more Palestinian land. And whatever Israel wants, the White House facilitates. The White House is NOT pursuing a bona fide peace for Palestine and Israel. There is voluminous argument against that ever happening. By allowing the woman to get away with it, it is just one more example of media facilitating the theft of Palestinian land.
Dear Stephen, I'm a retired American actor living in Ecuador. I watch Hard Talk religiously because it is simply the best program of its kind on the air. Today I watched you confront the State Dept. woman in charge of refurbishing the image of the U.S. Thank you for putting it to her. I almost (but didn't) felt sorry for her trying to defend the Bush administration before the worldwide condemnation of its policies (or lack thereof). I've thought of writing many times to thank you for your hard hitting, vital show and have herewith finally fulfilled my obligation to say it, "Thank you."
Jon Cypher, Ecuador
I just saw the Assistant Secretary of State of the U.S. being interviewed by Stephen Sackur. Why did BBC have such impolite host who has a preconceived idea about the U.S. policy to do interview program with Americans? If the U.S. policy is wrong as Mr Sackur suggested time and time again, his logics are worst, not compared by Canadians. He does not even courteous enough to let his guest speak. I have never seen this kind of low grade journalism in BBC. It almost looks like it is from some backward country.
Luke Chan, Canada
I find HardTalk with Stephen engrossing. His questions are ours and sometimes a surprise because I wonder how he can come with crucial ones which require so much depth of knowledge. Hats off to your research team ..
Dilip Kumar Ghosh, Canada
Hi, Thanks for the Hard Talk programme, we love to listen to Steve as he does his job in an excellent way. Keep it up Steve. He's a talent in the field. I watched him talk to Alan Johnston, BBC journalist and i only listened to the last 2 minutes or so. The little I heard was touching, educative and brings freedom to our sight. As Alan said from the bottom his heart, being free to walk even a supermarket or river side shows some kind of freedom.
Charles Chuma, Zimbabwe
I just watched the interview with Max Mosley. I can't believe what a total waste of time the questions were. Mr Mosley should have been grilled on the FIA's handling of this year's championship not of what he thought of Mclaren. Further his expressing of personal views regarding the Mclaren appeal should have been questioned much more deeply .. I thought Hardtalk asked hard questions not feed one-liners for a response.
David Hatcher, England
I watch Hardtalk every mornings as I like the style of interview, and the language of the presenter. Stephen Sackur's style of questioning is interesting. Thanks for that.
That interview with Cecilia Ibru was fantastic and fast paced. It left me breathless, I really admire the Nigerian bankers today and I know they would be grateful for the consolidation exercise carried out some years ago. Nigeria would change and I have always said the banking sector would drive that change. Pessimists should see that there is a renewed "I can do it" attitude in Nigeria and should join the band wagon. If our judiciary would continue to clean up their acts we would not having a problem with sustained economic growth. Thank you Mrs Ibru we truly love what you have done with Oceanic and our dear country's psyche.
May I give one suggestion to Mr Sackur? Please refrain from interrupting your guests so much. Interrupting someone is rude, impolite, and does not contribute to an intelligent interview. If you don't listen, the whole point of the interview goes down the drain. Thanks!
Roberto Kirschbaum, Brazil
I enjoy the program and commend Stephen Sackur for insightful questions with obvious careful preparation of the subject matter. Why do I only find this program on the dead of night? Is it on earlier and where could I find a schedule? It would make a change from endless repeats of e.g. the possible badger cull? Thanks
Charles McGrory, Scotland
I was upset to learn I missed Denis Healey on HardTalk. Will it ever be shown again on BBC World or can I order it? I hope you have more such interviews with British leaders from the 70s as the world has changed so much since then and they were at the helm at a time of tremendous change. examples - Foot, Hurd, Shirley Williams, Heseltine, Howe, David Owen. Thank you
Paul Brown, Australia
Highly appreciated the interview with Abdul Wahid Al-Nur. Congratulations to Stephen for his effort and style of presentation.
Veekash Sookun, Mauritius
I watched your interview with Cecelia Ibru today and this further demonstrates the unrepentant nature of the Nigerian oligarchy - she was defending the undefendable.
Olorunyomi Olowosegun, Australia
I enjoyed watching the Hard Talk with Wole Soyinka the other night. I thought Soyinka's responses to the state of democracy in Nigeria were very insightful. They reminded me of the situation in Tanzania. His analysis could be applied to Tanzania - a country that has always received praise from the West for its peacefulness and stability, though these both came at a price. In fact the peacefulness was held together by the strong arm of one of the most repressive and brutal regimes in Africa under Nyerere. Remember 10 million villagers were forcibly removed from their homes to be settled elsewhere in a brutal exercise carried out by the army. These and other inhumane measures resembled the policy carried out by the Apartheid South African regime regarding the setting up of Bantustans and African townships.
That is why I was so shocked when I heard Soyinka, during the same interview, later praising Nyerere for "sharing his poverty'. I think his exact words were that Nyerere died a poor man and that's why Tanzanians were not reproachful about his regime. This is not true at all. I can tell you as a Tanzanian that most Tanzanians were not happy to be so poor and suffer famine, disease and be the victims of such a brute force in a country that is so well endowed in natural resources .. No we were not happy to share poverty and I suggest that the Nigerians would not have been happy to have shared Nyerere's brand of unequal poverty either.
Neema Kambona, Tanzania
I just watched Stephen Sackur's interview of Bebo President Joanna Shields. I understand that the concept of the program is to ask the questions that other shows gloss over. However it seemed that Sackur was trying to blame Bebo for the entire collection of problems with the Internet.
Three of the problems he brought up were the large number sexual predators on social networks, online bullying and the excessive amount of time that children are spending in front of the screen. These are symptoms of the entire internet movement, and surely cannot be blamed on one social networking site. He even tried to make Bebo look bad for making money off a successful medium. I don't know if he's been introduced to the concept of capitalism? And consequently, how this helps technologies, societies and solutions to develop.
I'm no fan of Bebo's and in fact have never visited the site. But as a heavy Internet user, I think that Sackur was seriously under researched and very much out of line. If he wanted to put someone in the hot seat, he should have interviewed the president of MySpace instead.
I recently watched Stephen Sackur's interview with the Head of Bebo and though I agree that Internet security is an important issue, Sackur makes a fool of himself trying to goad the level headed interviewee by essentially stating that it is the Internet, and specifically Bebo, that kids are overweight due to sedentary habits. Is his view so myopic that he fails to see that television, his very medium and the way in which he makes his living did, and does the exact same thing to children and adults alike. Hypocrite or ignoramus? You be the judge.
James Youn, Canada
Hi, I'd like to comment about the interview with Mr Thaung Htun on HardTalk. I believe that he is somewhat 'weak' and cannot express his intentions clearly on HARDtalk! He has got to stop beating around the bush and get direct to the point of what he wants to say and what the suffering Burmese people want to say! I am totally against junta and their current horrible actions in Burma, and thus I strongly feel that that having a person like Thaung Htun in UN Council would not achieve much. With all due respect to the UN Council, we need a stronger personality Burmese representative to present the current situation in Burma. We need someone who's well outspoken and willing to stand up for the suffering Burmese people. Please, please save Burma while there's still one...
Anonymous Patriot, Burma aka Myanmar
Seriously, the woman who interviewed Mayor Greg Nickels from the US, Seattle needs to go back to journalism 101 class to better understand the word 'objective'. Her dismissive scepticism and complete lack of listening skills was annoying throughout the interview .. The mayor was extremely gracious given the circumstances. Your Hard Talk interviewer thrust her personal opinions and negative judgements against the guest and his nation which was shown through in an offensive and obnoxious way. Perhaps you can rise above and find better talent to drive this show and make it a bit more cerebral and worth your viewers' time.
I'm so happy with your interview with Ojo Maduekwe today. I'm happy you held him to account for the corruption they've perpetuated in that country even when he was the secretary of PDP party under Obasanjo. I wouldn't be living in Canada had my country, Nigeria, been well managed.
With great interest I followed Stephen Sackur's interview with former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso on the question why Brazil's growth rate lagged behind those of Russia, India and China.
I had high expectations for this conversation, but I remained rather unsatisfied. Mr. Cardoso adroitly got round Sackur's questions and cautiously admitting that the Brazilian system suffered from a certain amount of corruption was the nearest he got to his explanation why Brazil did not perform better than Russia, India or China. He even went as far as telling Sackur that Brazil was doing very well from an economic point of view.
I am retired and have lived in Brazil for nearly 3 years. I don't know much about this country yet, but enough to raise an economic oddity in the monetary policy of the Lula government which could explain in a more convincing way why Brazil hasn't been doing so well. During the last two years the exchange rate of the Real against the major foreign currencies has continuously been increased and overvalued. At the same time there is this strange phenomenon of incredibly high interest rates which in the opinion of Lula's financial advisors should attract foreign investors and thus (I believe) compensate for the problems caused by the ridiculous exchange rates of the Real.
I haven't got any acceptable explanation for this very strange policy, but I think it would be very interesting if your Economic Experts would dedicate a programme to this problem. It reminds me of what happened in Argentina several years ago when their currency had a parity with the US$ and when in the end the whole economy collapsed.
Hans van Zwieten, Brazil
I loved seeing Jeffrey Sachs. He was great and is very thoughtful. Fortunately he was able to talk over the interviewer who did her best, but failed, to not let him answer. I worry that other persons would not be as able to present their position as Prof. Sachs was. Okay, ask the "hard" questions, that's the gimmick for the show and I like it. But then, let the interviewee answer. It really is about common courtesy.
Brian R. Phillips, Thailand
I enjoyed the Hardtalk slot with the Bishop last night. What he fails (or chooses not) to understand is that for Christians there are some primary issues which are non-negotiable and secondary ones where a range of opinions may be held. For those who believe God's word is inerrant it only has to describe something as a sin once for that to settle the matter. Something does not become more sinful or less open to other interpretation the more it is repeated. There is a bridge too far and I fear the Anglican Community is perilously close to it.
Raymond D Pooley, UK
I watched the interview with Hon Sam Kutesa the Foreign Affairs minister of Uganda yesterday. On a number of questions I thought Honourable minister should have acknowledged the depth of Mr. Little's research. Not rubbish, absolutely rubbish as the Minister was wont to respond. That language unfortunately dominates the diction of our leaders and with it a perceived aura of impunity and immunity. It is true climatic change is caused mostly by the Developed world whose emission of Greenhouse gases is collapsing the ozone layer leading to changing weather patterns and presenting a severe test on Uganda's preparedness for consequences including poverty eradication programs. So then should we sit on fence and remonstrate as Mabira and other carbon absorbers are eaten away? No. The minister should not have sidestepped the question, but acknowledge that even if we have a National Forestry Authority and a National Environmental Management Authority, the mandates of these institutions have not been vigorously enforced.
Hard Talk is British-style journalism, incendiary language and worst-case scenarios presented as "unbiased and tough" questioning.
Aamir Ali, Pakistan
I am a firm admirer of Stephen Sackur's Hardtalk programmes. Sadly he fell from grace in my book in the interview with Sir John Holmes in demonstrating the default position so common on the BBC and elsewhere when it comes to apportioning blame on issues of Israel and the Palestinians. Holmes had to correct Sackur who seemed unaware that the problems with the Gaza crossings are largely due to Hamas. The humanitarian disaster that is Gaza is largely self-inflicted by the Palestinians with the trashing of the agricultural resources left after the Israeli withdrawal, the misuse of vast amounts of donated funds and the continuing rocketing. It serves the purpose of Arab rejectionists knowing that the BBC and so many other commentators will criticize Israel come what may. Balance in reporting not bias will serve the interests of the Palestinian people. I assume Sackur's error here was due to, exceptional for him, incorrect briefing - but default attitudes show! Barry Hoffbrand
Dr Barry Hoffbrand, UK
I find Hardtalk insightful and highly informative. I applaud you for putting together such a show of note. I however have some concerns: your interjections before interviewee finishes answering sometimes make the interviewee end up saying / misrepresenting himself or his organization which i think is unfair and perhaps unethical. I understand (or at least think i do)the thrust of the show, but at the same time, I think accuracy may be comprised when the interviewee is not afforded a fair chance to respond to questions. At the end it seems your objectives in the interview are to get the interviewee to say what YOU want him / her to say i.e. manipulate the interview into saying what you would have them say. What would interviewer lose by allowing his subject to finish, the same way they listen to your questions?
Blessing Mpofu, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
Regarding Sarah's interview with Malaysian Foreign Minister Dato Seri Syed Hamid Albar. I would like to applaud Sarah and BBC's excellent work on this interview. Sarah had highlighted numerous issues that has been troubling fellow Malaysians. The foreign minister's response to a lot of the questions has been highly fabricated.
As a non-Malay myself, I have been passed over chances of scholarship and getting into a local university. Hence, I had to continue my education at one of the local colleges. The number of Malay students with scholarships abroad are 99% contrary to what was mentioned in the interview.
Also, our media are perhaps one of the most bias one, with the government holding majority of ownership and thus, controlling the contents of the news we get. I wonder sometimes the reliability of the media. External sources of information have become one of our sources for news.
Race and religion have always been a highly sensitive issue. It is that sensitive to the extend we have never dare to say nor joke anything about it. Sadly to say, all these years as I was growing up, I was never invited to another race's wedding. Yes, we are that segregated.
.... Honestly, I love my country. Despite all the problems, the issue is not with the Malays as most people thought it is. I have met some Malays who have extended their hands and welcome me into their home. The issue with this country is the lack of strong leaders, strong leaders who aren't too busy taking care of their own self-interest. Our education system is not helping the situation either. If given a chance, I would rather not bring up my children in Malaysia.
Your interview with Shimon Peres was a waste of time and while you tried to get some obvious points across, he used you and the BBC just to put out Israel's propaganda of being such "just and good guys" out there to your worldwide audience. Damn the Palestinian democracy and may they starve or die already. Did not hear him go much for your Blair bait either, not that I think Blair is doing anything than polish his everlasting ego... These people should not get airtime.
timiconyc, United States
This morning's Hard Talk guest was Mr. Peres, President of Israel. I have a great respect for Mr. Peres as a politician and for his fairness. However he repeated several times about negotiatiation with Palestinians, but your presenter never once pointed out how you negotiate for stolen land. If you ask a thief to negotiate he will, he has all the cards with him.
Mustafa Jaffari, UK
Mr Sackur, I am appalled at your interview with Jenni Williams. Why do you keep antagonizing her and childishly trying to put her in the spot? What point are you trying to get across? Bad journalism, unpleasant to watch. Does "Hard Talk" necessarily mean gratuitously exasperating your guests just for the sake of it?
Patricia Rodriguez, UK and Spain
Very pleased to see your interview on Zimbabwe today. Grew up in Zimbabwe and parents were very active for Mugabe but we all left for various reasons in 1970. have just got back from holiday in Malawi. Jenni Williams says that people in Africa don't understand democracy. I think it is more that people in power seem to forget that the government is there for the benefit of the people and the country. Particularly in Africa, if one member of the family gets a job or position, all family and friends crowd round to get their share. People in power need to realise fast that the country's money is not their private purse. Next. The big question is HOW do you get rid of a dictator or bad government? Obviously foreign powers going in doesn't work. In Eastern Europe, people have crowded into the main square and things have changed. in Zimbabwe, so many people have left and those remaining are frightened, poor and hungry. Nonetheless, the diaspora is sending in money to their relatives and perhaps this is lengthening the lifespan of the regime... What a tragedy. If only one knew the answers.
Sally Roschnik, Switzerland
What an amazing woman. Full of truth and action. How can our government take advice from her, when our government is untruthful and inactive. Children are suffering and we as adults seek vengeance against them. There is real pain in this youth underclass which we have bred. This will not stop till the adults grow up. Poverty is a crime. Their crimes reflect our culture and beliefs.
Steven Holt, United Kingdom
I am so saddened to listen to this particular Hard Talk. The only references made are about maternal love. The importance of the mother in a child's life and so forth. As a young man, well 26, even though my dad was not around as much as my mum he is the role model I look up to and he is a fantastic role model. Broken families which often end in the removal of one parent from the child's life is a problem. No matter which parent!
Stephen Sackur's discussion with football referee Graham Poll was very disturbing. In my opinion, allowing football players, who are held up as role models to millions of youngsters, to act like total hooligans is a root cause of the breakdown of the old values of respect and decency. The Football Association should learn a lesson from the Rugby Football Union, where such behaviour is simply not tolerated.
Lancelot Stilwell, South Africa
I would like to see other PKK supporter Kurds like Taner Akçam being aired on BBC. Don't forget to present them as "Turkish writers" as well, as if they have any significance in Turkey (doesn't even live in Turkey, he's a Canadian Kurd) and have written anything else that wasn't paid for by the Armenian lobby. You have proven that BBC is an imperialists' tool... Hard talk? Ha. All you did was flattering and sucking up to that hitman of Armenians. You'll see how he distorted everything in his book "A Shameful Act" soon. Your credibility is creeping on the floor, so is Akçam's.
My wife and I listened to Hard Talk with Tamer Akcam, Stephen Sackur was very positive with his questions, but tended to let him off the hook by not following through with Akcam's comments.. I agreed with Stephen's comments that Akcam seems to still lives some 30 years behind the times... One thing that people don't seem to mention is that the Kurdish MPs want to be able to speak with Kurdish language on the Turkish government floor. Can you imagine if George Brown started to address the parliament in Gaelic?
Tony Bodle, Turkey
I chanced upon the lovely Razia Iqbal talking to Charles Correa last week, being somewhat of an insomniac. I occasionally tune in to Hard Talk, but what struck me about this particular interview was the sheer amount of architectural wisdom on offer, freely available to all insomniacs. Correa's absolute good sense and intelligence was clearly enhanced by the simple application of forensic questioning and the arrival of a considered response. The whole programme was a delight. The range and sweep of Correa's erudition was breathtaking and reflected well upon a growing India What a shame that we couldn't access the programme during the early evening. It should be required viewing for all architects and would-be architects.
Peter Colledge, Scotland
I'm here in Toronto, Canada and just finished watching some woman interview Willie Corduff on Hardtalk. The interviewer almost made the entire show impossible to watch. Sure it's a great story and would hold almost any one's attention but at what cost. I kept trying to rationalise the questions, was she trying to play naive and condescending or was this new journalism at its infancy. If you truly reach 60 million viewers do we have to be subjected to such juvenile tactics. First rule: The interviewer should rise to the subject not subject the interviewee.
Siobhan Angley, Canada
I know Hardtalk is supposed to be telling the story the way it is... uncompromising reporting without bias. But it was so obvious that Shell where guiding you today, or you had a bias, you should be ashamed! Bad bad BBC !!!!! You really tried hard to stomp all over that Irish farmer who was put into jail for standing up to a large multinational corp. Using the same tricks laywers use in court to lead someone to answer in a certain way. That is so below the belt. I think I just lost any respect for your supposedly informative programme.
William Jumeau, England
World Bank, UN, WTO - lots of statistics at his disposal but still a seemingly uninformed Mr Sackur, who has failed miserably in convincing the viewer of India's shortcomings. What foolish and arrogant posturing by a BBC host. Mr Kamal Nath has succeeded in presenting an India that having shaken off colonial occupation has evolved into an independent country that knows which course it wants to follow and doesn't need to be told by globalist exploitative regimes. Congratulations Mr Kamal Nath and a happy future for India!
Josef Hauer, Austria
I've watched with great interest your series of interviews marking the 60th anniversary of Pakistani and Indian independence. It has been most enlightening. As a general comment, I continue to marvel at the preparation, intensity, intelligence and persistence of Steven Sackur. His determination to challenge his guests and to press for responses beyond the expected and perfunctory is remarkable. I only wish his aggressive approach in dealing with guests of all political persuasions would serve as a model and impetus to our own US press, where political correctness, blatant bias and timidity in confronting national figures of all stripes has produced an ill-informed and politically naive electorate.
Dr. Ned Freed, USA
I've watched the recent interviews of Mr. Khurshid Kasuri and Mr. Syed Pirzada on the occasion of Pakistan's 60th Independence Anniversary Week, and one thing has struck me: despite Mr. Sackur's hard line of questioning, the two bureaucratic gentlemen continued with their false reassertion to the world that all is well and under control in Pakistan. The situation in Afghanistan is an opportune excuse to harbour world sympathy; what the Pakistani leadership has failed to acknowledge is that it's a victim of the same terrorism that it once fostered under the name of religion.
Jayesh Shinde, India
Kudos to Mr. Sunil Mittal, for defending his position on the importance of 'pay for performance/merit', the issue of high compensation available to entrepreneurs who are the catalysts in making India arrive at the world's forefront and lead the way. Who has ever heard of 'poor feeding the poor'... Get in the best, pay them and let them compound their knowledge to create wealth, that which will serve as the seedling to proliferate the economic boom.
The recent interview by Stephen Sackur with animal rights activist Keith Mann was appalling. Sackur's interview was the worst I have ever seen. I just happened to switch over to BBC World as the programme was starting and as an animal lover was interested to hear what Keith had to say... Sackur did not listen to anything Keith said, he did not pursue many of the valid arguments Keith put forward and he was hellbent on trying to ridicule him by asking whether Keith felt more at one with animals than humans (and so what if he does!!) What a childish and bigoted debater Sackur was! I had to turn the programme off in the end because I could not bear it.
Nicola Batty, UK, living in Spain
I like Hardtalk and watch it, and its variants, most days. 0430 this morning (09 Aug), HardTalk with UK Ambassador to UN. Largely a waste of time and very irritating to boot because the Presenter (missed his name) simply refused to listen to the Ambassador's answers and interrupted almost incessantly - and even had to be gently told off by the subject! ... Congrats to the Ambassador who remained ever polite and convincing throughout. The Presenter did himself no favours, had not (apparently) established a coherent plan for the interview, and thus spoiled the programme (for me at any rate). Sorry but this one prog really annoyed me.
Tony Cunnane, UK
Hello all, It was my 1st time to watch your program, the interview you had with Ethiopian PM in 2005. I never imagined seeing this kind of journalist in my life time in this unjust media world. Keep up the good work Stephen Sackur.
Premios Zaw, Ethiopia
I've just been watching your interview with Dr Ian Wilmut. Unfortunately, the credit crawl shot past like it was in the Grand National, so I couldn't make out the name of the interviewer (I joined partway); but I wanted to compliment her on a brilliant piece of interviewing. She steered an excellent course between his points of view and the counter-arguments (in the process, getting him to reveal a bit more about his own character than he would have wanted, I'd say), and those counter-arguments were extremely well-researched. My father was a public affairs producer at CBC television for many years, and one of the highest compliments he could pay one of his interviewer was "he/she does his/her homework". This interviewer certainly did. I'm trying not to let my personal views colour my assessment of her interviewing, since I do side with the counter-arguments. But I do feel that she forced him to give some revealing answers to some extremely difficult questions, without giving the impression that she was pushing her own agenda.
Drew Snider, Canada
There is a fine line between challenging the veracity of a guest's argument and badgering them for lack of a credible counter. The recent show about stem cell research made the host look ill-informed and overly-aggressive.
Julian Moro, Hong Kong
Embarrassed to watch Allan Little's interview with Saif al Islam Gaddafi, it was not an interview but an attack. Who does Allan think he is?
The interview with Senator Radoslaw Sikorski was excellent, I really enjoyed it! It had such a light-hearted and sincere tone, so unusual of interviews with politicians, and yet still touched upon very important and sensitive issues. The interviewer was fantastic.
Morten Albring, Lancaster, England
I just watched Stephen Sackur interview Dawkins...
If his intention was to be seen as bumbling and interrupting, without really knowing the subject matter then he was indeed successful!
Sackur, did you bother to read the book, or did you just rip your shallow questions from the headlines or articles of mediocre religious apologists.
You came off as a religious apologist yourself, trying to ram and force points rather than make them. Futile were your continuous seemingly amateur attempts to trip Dawkins...
Ivan Allan, Canada
Stephen Sackur is amazing, covering every aspect that can affect our universe and beyond, not just world politics and business. Every country should have 1 Stephen to ask hard hitting questions and get answers (if answered) from the people who control part of their country.
What I like about Stephen Sackur is that he gives everybody a hard time. Its rare to see politicians, statesmen, diplomats, "world figures". Be truly challenged and debated, the main stream media is all too deferential and in many cases collaborates with the powers that be. Hardtalk is a great programme.
Omar Khalid, UK
Your program tonight featuring Yelena Tregubova seemed to slavishly conform to the title of the program, almost just for the namesake.
Whilst interrogatory questioning can be used with good effect on slippery politicians I failed to see the benefit in the case of a journalist whose life is clearly in danger.
Yelena's answers were dignified and intelligent given the hostile demeanor of Sarah Montague. The icy handshake at the end spoke volumes.
Dr K More, UK
You are doing your job brilliantly. Thank you for letting people see events, think and analyse different points of view. I work as journalist and public relations analyst and you are the people who help me to learn and to grow in my profession. Today I was watching Hard Talk with the Russian journalist Yelena Tregubova. Her speech really shocked me. The only thing I can say on that issue is that things in Russia are not really as she says. I hope the international audience understands that the political situation in Russia has nothing in common with times of Cold War or Hitler as she mentioned.
Maria Ivanova, Russia
As an avid watcher of Hardtalk dating back to the days of Tim Sebastian I must tell you that I thought Stephen Sackur's interview with Richard Dawkins was one of the best that I have had the pleasure of watching. Mr.Sackur displayed a depth of knowledge and understanding which was a joy to listen to. To hear such two articulate people debating the subject in such an open and direct manner was most impressive. I am myself a scientist but am neither an Atheist nor do I profess any religious affiliations so my remarks are not swayed by any "tribal" loyalty! Congratulations Stephen Sackur.
Dr. Myra Levy, South Africa
I watched the interview with Prof Richard Dawkins and must congratulate Stephen Sackur. I agree with some of Dawkins' points but not all and have seen him interviewed quite a few times including for Newsnight. However without doubt Stephen Sackur interviewed him in the toughest way yet without being rude. A brilliant interview and Stephen is to be congratulated on asking searching questions and not allowing half-answers while at the same time acknowledging when Prof Dawkins did answer questions fairly. Thoroughly enjoyable interview.
Jeff Hunt, UK
I have been a regular viewer of this programme for a while and I have almost always been very impressed. I caught the interview with Dawkins today and never before have I seen Stephen so excited to interview someone. And why shouldn't he be, Dawkins is a legend.
Sarthak Misra, India
I personally feel that Steven Sackur is probably the best of the real interrogator journalists which the West (and other places) seems to be lacking. I am an American who is getting tired of the constant anti-American barrage. I don't see SS as an American advocate but I believe he is balanced and fair and has the intellectual integrity for the job. Keep up the good work
Richard Merchant, USA working in the UAE
Excellent HardTalk. First time I have watched it, very impressed. Keep up the good broadcasting...
Simon Lovat, Switzerland
Wow! I am so impressed by Victor Adebowale. He's so smart, so polite, so well-briefed, so genuine. Why aren't more of our politicians like him? :)
I was quite surprised to see someone ask the right questions and how Mr. Sackur brilliantly displayed Mr. Burns in the "Hard Talk" interview as someone who seems not have answers on some important international issues. I will recommend that interview and try to see some more of Mr. Sackur´s interviews. Thanks for that.
Why does Alastair Campbell remind me of Arthur Scargill? Is it because he is another single issue fanatic, suffering from severe tunnel vision, and quite unable to accept even the mildest alternative points of view? He has also been successful in doing much damage to his country.
Richard White, Thailand
Love the programme, some great debates go on and I like the editorial choice of interviewees. I'd like to register that I found the consistent interruptions by the interviewer today intensely frustrating and in fact self destructive: surely having asked a question it is only right to listen to the answer? Otherwise current affairs programmes can easily degenerate into simple polemic. Incidentally, this tendency served to confirm Campbell's well made point that journalists today are often political under the guise of being impartial. This is something that I really feel the BBC must watch at the moment. I love an impassioned debate, but I will eventually turn off if it is not conducted with a certain level of respect. A quick other point, I'm afraid that the credits are so fast as to render them useless - i couldn't read a single name (and I'm in my early thirties with good eyesight!). Perhaps a static or vertical scroll would be more legible? Keep up the good work! Thanks
Hi, I just want to find out the email address of the lady who lost someone in the London bombing but still had the guts to appear on Hardtalk, she was brilliant! I commiserate for her loss but respect her so much for not laying any blame... Thank you.
Robert Somers, UK
A thank you to both the interviewer and interviewee for the clear and concise dialogue around the issues former child soldiers faced and how these issues can be conquered. The honesty with which Ishmael spoke about how graphic his experiences were was very uplifting.
Clive Asgill, UK
Firstly, I watch Hardtalk every week and find it fascinating; to listen to people that can make a difference, are making a difference is great...it would be great though to have a series of interviews with leaders from the USA, Britain, Africa, China and India and pressing them on their attitudes and plans for global warming...and to press them for their visions of a world without oil!
Giles Hulley, Switzerland
Stephen Sackur's interview with Isaac Herzog was excellent. One of the most forceful and pointed I have seen with an Israeli politician. It is a great pity that time did not permit addressing the questionable legality of new Palestinian administrative govt. Abbas' sacking the PM was permitted within their constitution, but not dismissing the entire bloc of duly elected Hamas representatives. The much mentioned 'coup' was by Abbas, not Hamas. Sadly this is not being examined since malleability is the only Israeli (and possibly US/EU/Canada) goal. This will rebound since Abbas has not yet cleaned out his stables and addressed the very issues that lost Fatah the election in the first place. This truly is a puppet govt. Thanks to Mr. Sackur for job well done.
Diana Gallaway, Canada
I know Sackur is not a certified idiot, but maybe he just hasn't applied to the right people for his certification. On a day when Blair is being appointed to attempt to do some serious work in moving the peace negotiations along between Israel and the Palestinians, he first describes .. Barghouti as "a man of integrity" and then badgers Herzog about not releasing him from his five lifetime sentences so he can bring about peace in our time. Barghouti is going nowhere for the next 50 years at least. What, is Herzog supposed to sneak in one night, overpower the prison guards, and spring him, just to satisfy a mad whim of Sackur? Was that the point of the questioning? The BBC was kicked off cable in Israel for a time in 2002 for engaging in overt anti-Semitism, but this line of questioning was pure idiocy, more appropriate on the Fox News satire program Red Eye than a serious, sic, public affairs program. You really can't get angry at Sackur because you are too busy laughing at him .. And Blair? A hurried question at the end when there was no time to explore this development, which may or may not be of historical importance. Hardtalk? For truth in advertising, change the name to Humbug.
Dov Ivry, Israel
I think that Stephen Sackur is one of the best interviewers on TV. Unlike other reporters on TV, instead of just reading the questions he often responds directly to the comments made, and always seems to have researched the topic he is debating well. I thought his best interviews were with the director of the FBI, as the FBI doesn't usually like giving long interviews, and i was pleased to see Steve giving him some tough questions (although i could've thought of a few more damaging ones to mention) The very recent interview with the woman scientist on the new cervical cance