Reeta Chakrabarti disagrees with Jeremy Paxman's claim 'any fool' can read news

Reeta Chakrabarti attends the press night performance of the English National Opera's
Reeta Chakrabarti attends the press night performance of the English National Opera's "Carmen" at The London Coliseum on January 29, 2020 in London, England. (Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Reeta Chakrabarti has rejected Jeremy Paxman's assertion that "any fool" can read news, as she says it's a "skilled job".

The former Newsnight host made his claims earlier this year on Richard Herring's Leicester Square Theatre Podcast, where he stated it was an occupation for an "articulated suit".

BBC News journalist and presenter Chakrabarti has responded to Paxman's comments and expressed a different point of view.

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She told the Radio Times: "It’s his opinion, but I wonder why he says it when he spent quite a few years himself reading an Autocue.

Jeremy Paxman during Advertising Week Europe, Piccadilly, on March 23, 2015 in London, England.  (Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images for Advertising Week)
Jeremy Paxman during Advertising Week Europe, Piccadilly, on March 23, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images for Advertising Week)

“And if I’m presenting the One O’Clock News, I’ve written a lot of what I’m reading out. Those aren’t someone else’s words.”

Chakrabarti added: “I’m a journalist, I know what the stories are, I discuss them with the editor and the correspondent, and I pride myself on being able to write with simplicity and clarity. Maybe ‘any fool’ can do this, but I think it’s a skill.”

Paxman left Newsnight in 2014 after 25 years as the programme's presenter. Prior to taking up that position in the 1980s, he also spent two years presenting the BBC News at Six.

Jeremy Paxman said 'any fool' could read the news. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images for Debrett's and Audi)
Jeremy Paxman said 'any fool' could read the news. (Photo by David M. Benett/Getty Images for Debrett's and Audi)

In his appearance on the podcast, he said: "I can't see any point in reading the news at all. Do you remember reading aloud at school? That's what it is."

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He also criticised the BBC and its employees, stating that it's "full of boring people doing dull jobs and pretending they're important".

Although he described the BBC as an "immensely frustrating organisation" Paxman said he believed the world wouldn't be a better place without it.

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