I began reading this fascinating book on the morning after Donald Trump was accused of inciting those Americans who believe Hillary Clinton will take away their guns to take matters into their own hands. The episode caused one passage to leap right out at me. Mainstream politicians, Mark Thompson notes, draw on all sorts of tired expressions to come across as what my kids would call ‘relatable’, but
Real authenticity is a sweaty shambles. Neither you nor your audience know what’s going to happen next. Nobody’s emotions are fully under control. The cameras have to follow it not like some deadbeat corporate marketing event, but like live sport. It’s often an embarrassment. Once in a while it changes the course of history.
Thompson not only writes beautifully. He also knows what he’s talking about. Currently in charge of the New York Times Company and formerly director-general of the BBC and chief executive of Channel 4, he’s been at the sharp end of the media for pretty much all of his working