March 27, 2013
Boris Johnson
London Mayor Boris Johnson (Joel Ryan / Associated Press)

In an interview with the BBC, London Mayor Boris Johnson offers a word or two of advice for journalists. Interviewer Eddie Mair asked him why he cooperated with a big BBC documentary that probes Johnson’s past. The response:

It’s like when the News of the World ring up and they say, “Listen: You’re going to be in this story. You can either cooperate or not cooperate.” And Michael Cockerell, the producer, the presenter. … What he said was, “Look, the BBC have commissioned this. It is going to appear.” And so we faced a choice, either to try to help or, rather prissily, to just stand at one side and let them do whatever they wanted. I thought on the whole that it was probably wiser, given that it was going to happen anyway, to try to say something rather than to leave the field clear to, you know (those) who would try to put the boot in.

Lesson: Always say your story is “commissioned.”

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.