I do think the two programmes share similar audiences, which is underlined by the fact that they don't like having the same guests on. On Thursday I got a call from Today, after I had agreed to do Newsnight. As I have said before, if I have already accepted one programme I'll never withdraw to do another. The Today producer was very keen to persuade me to do just that but I explained my policy. In the end Fraser Nelson appeared on Today, leaving me to do 5 Live at the same time.
But do Today and Newsnight reach "normal" people? I reckon the Jeremy Vine Programme on Radio 2 is the best at reaching people who aren't particularly obsessed by politics. I have only been on it once, so you can imagine my anguish today when they asked me to go on but I couldn't because of my speed awareness course. That's life.
What this all illustrates though is the rather small gene pool of potential guests which all these programmes draw their guests from. In the right wing pundit role it is draw any one from the following: Matthew D'Ancona, Matthew Parris, Tim Montgomerie, Iain Dale, Michael Brown, Jonathan Isaby, Fraser Nelson or Shane Greer (apologies to anyone I have overlooked!) -all, as you will have noticed, male. I'm talking against my own interests here, but it would be good for this group to be expanded a little. If you compare that with the number of left of centre pundits who are used, it's a very small group.
So, who do you think the media should use? I'd suggest Jonathan Sheppard, Jo-Anne Nadler and Donal Blaney to start with.
What is quite clear, is that if a right of centre female started a blog which got any traction, she would be manna from heaven for the media and get quite a high profile in a very short time. So, who's going to rise to the challenge?
UPDATE: Janet Daley responds HERE. Here's a part of what she writes...
Like most political columnists, I receive an average of two to three requests a week for broadcast interviews or discussions, about three quarters of which I turn down (or, I’m sorry to say, ignore, as they generally come in the form of voicemail messages).
Sometimes this is because they are on subjects in which I have little interest or specialised knowledge (the current week’s crop included a request from NewsnightPM wanting me to talk about Hillary Clinton’s outburst). But very often it is simply that I am not prepared to push aside professional or domestic responsibilities at short notice for a six-minute spot on the air, which will involve roughly two hours of travelling and waiting-around-in-a-green-room time.
And I know that I am not alone among female journalists for taking this attitude. Whereas many (if not most) of our male equivalents will abandon absolutely anything – including their hapless colleagues at the office who must cope in their absence, or their own dinner guests – in order to appear on any television or radio programme that chances to invite them, women will not.Those ubiquitous male pundits may have earned a reputation among the desperate programme researchers who spend their entire lives on the phone running down the list of possible participants, as being always available at a moment’s notice. Good luck to them. But remember that the person you are seeing on the screen was not necessarily the first one who was asked.
She makes some fair points. I certainly don't do everything I am offered - I suspect it's a 50-50 ratio in my case. On average I probably get between 10 and 15 interview offers in a week but it's unusual for me to accept all of them. Unlike Janet, I do not ignore voicemails. Even if I can't, or don't want to take part in a programme, I like to think I'd always phone back, even if it is to say no. The lesson is that if you constantly say no, you then fall off their lists. If I don't know anything about a subject I'll turn it down - as I did this week on three occasions. If I have a prior engagement (work or private) I'll usually, like Janet, turn it down unless it is something really important. Her rather sexist attitude in her penultimate attitude is bordering on the pitiful. Is that the best she can come up with? And, as Dame Edna would say, I say in a caring way!