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Last Updated: Friday, 21 January 2005, 15:05 GMT
US presidential election 2004

Peter Barron: Editor 2004 -

Jeremy Paxman in San Diego
Jeremy Paxman reporting on the eve of the US presidential election
Nomination: Peter nominated Jeremy Paxman's film ahead of the US presidential election which looked at the American people and the way they view their military.

He also mentioned Mark E Smith's appearance on the show.

Jeremy's film was first broadcast on 1 November 2004.

Click on the video link on the right-hand side of this page to watch

He said: "My most memorable moment was on probably the biggest story of 2004: the US elections. On the eve of the election we ran a long film by Jeremy Paxman and Liz Gibbons which attempted to explain the psyche of the American people.

"It was all about God, war and conservative values and felt oddly out of step with the mood of the moment, which was that John Kerry was going to win. If you go back and look at it now it's a textbook explanation of why George W Bush won.

Mark E Smith
Mark E Smith during the interview with Gavin Esler
"On election night itself we had the exit polls which appeared to show that Kerry was well ahead, we had revered pollsters like Frank Luntz in the studio calling it for Kerry and at one moment some of our guests starting talking about President Kerry.

"To his eternal credit and my eternal relief Jeremy said: hold on a minute, we don't know anything yet, except that a few exit polls have Kerry ahead and they have been proven wrong in the past.

"Ok, we didn't call it for Bush, but not calling it for Kerry was a memorable example of keeping our head when all around were losing theirs.

"My favourite moment must be the night we invited Mark E Smith on to the programme to pay tribute to John Peel, who had died.

Mark's band The Fall were Peel's favourite and although we were well aware he was, to say the least, an unpredictable character we knew we had to put him on.

"It's hard to explain exactly what he did, but you can watch it from our website - just click on the link below. For most programmes that would have been an abject disaster.

"For Newsnight it was a badge of honour. I think John Peel would have liked it too."


Peter Barron
Peter Barron was made editor of Newsnight in May 2004

Joined the BBC in 1989 as a News Trainee Peter worked on Newsnight as a trainee, producer and programme editor 1990 - 1998. He was then deputy editor, Channel 4 News, 1998 - 2002.

From 2002 to 2003 he was deputy editor on Tonight with Trevor McDonald.

He then returned to the BBC to launch the current affairs drama documentary series IF... in 2003. He became editor of Newsnight in May 2004.

Newsnight is broadcast every weekday at 10:30pm on BBC Two in the UK.

Watch Jeremy Paxman's report on the US election


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