Leading article: Video nasty

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The Independent Online

There are certain jobs that require superhuman patience: gold prospector, living statue, Buckingham Palace guardsman. And to that list we must surely add: roving TV correspondent. Consider the torments of the latter. There they are, attempting to speak in coherent sentences though a live link to the studio and then a local extrovert starts dancing around behind them, perhaps waving a banner, generally putting them off in those crucial moments.

Well their patience, it seems, is not infinite. On Wednesday, after the cameras had stopped rolling, the BBC's political editor, Nick Robinson, committed an act of violence on an anti-war protester's placard that had been placed directly behind his head during a live link.

Did he do the right thing? Some argue that Mr Robinson, as a professional, should have maintained his composure no matter the provocation. Others have congratulated the BBC man.

This disagreement raises some thoughts. This is the age of reality TV. The buzz word is interactivity. Mr Robinson has given producers a glimpse of the future: "If you think our reporter should give the imbecile dancing around in the background a clip around the ear please press your red button now."