Log in left eyes

August 19, 2015

Winston Peters started the criticism of Mike Hosking as a National Party stooge.

Labour leader Andrew Little and Green co-leader James Shaw joined in, followed by several left wing bloggers lamenting bias in the media, especially on state-owned TVNZ.

Hosking has an unlikely defender in Brian Edwards who says rather than being right-wing he’s a social conservative.

. . . While I’d be surprised to discover that Hosking is a closet member of the Parnell, Remuera or Epsom branches of the Labour Party  – total membership five! – I’d also risk my bottom dollar that he isn’t a member of any political party. This is, or should be the default position for any broadcaster working in the field of news or current affairs.

What Hosking betrays on Seven Sharp, on commercial radio and in his writing is not political bias but social conservatism. The two may overlap from time to time, but are inherently different. It’s entirely possible and even commonplace to be left wing and socially conservative. . . 

Whatever his views, isn’t it strange that many of the people who are so upset by Hosking thought it was absolutely marvelous that John Campbell who wears his left wing heart on his sleeve was appointed to state-owned RadioNZ  National.

Perhaps the log in their own eyes blinds them to their hypocrisy and to Hosking’s professionalism.

Both he and Campbell are very good interviewers who are more than capable of putting their own views aside to ask tough questions of people across the political spectrum.



Tweeting panel

August 8, 2015

TV3 asked me to join The Nation’s tweet panel with Generation Zero co-founder Kirk Serpes this morning.

It was an interesting exercise.

Good interviewers listen to what interviewees say and base their next question on what they hear. I tried to do that with my tweets but kept missing the next point as I was tweeting on the last and trying to keep up with other tweets coming in.

Lisa Owen interviewed Fonterra chief executive Theo Spierings talking about the farm gate milk price announcement today. This was followed by  reporter Torben Akel discussing governments appointing ex-MPs to government boards and an interview with American journalist Ben Taub who’s been writing about why teenagers’ journeys to jihad. 

The studio panelists were Heather du Plessis-Allan, Jacqueline Rowarth and Bernard Hickey.

Having Heather on the panel was very good marketing for Story which she’ll be co-hosting with Duncan Garner. It starts this Monday.

You can see the tweets here.

Quote of the day

July 28, 2015

Journalists follow certain rules. They are expected to approach issues with an open mind and to report them in a balanced and objective way. (Some people dismiss objectivity as unattainable, but in fact it’s a wise and perfectly workable principle that has underpinned mainstream journalism for decades.)

Ideally, if not always in practice, journalists are expected to maintain a certain detachment. Where there’s another side to a story, they are expected to report it. And when they make allegations against people, they give them an opportunity to respond. Hager doesn’t abide by these rules. Karl du Fresne

Tell tale tit

July 22, 2015

Tell tale tit/your tongue will be slit/ and all the dogs in the town/ will have a little bit.

This schoolyard chant has come to mind often as I watch the mainstream media report breathlessly on something someone has posted on the internet.

The latest is Max Key’s video of his family holiday.

If it wasn’t that his father is the Prime Minister would anyone but his friends know about this? Even when he is the PM’s son, some other than his friends might want to know but does anyone but them need to know?

It’s been viewed more than 116,000 times. But how many times would it have been viewed had it not been broadcast by the MSM?

Other political leaders have, rightly, said that politician’s families should be off-limits.

I only knew about it because I read a post on Facebook referring to Barry Soper’s soapbox saying the PM’s son’s lifestyle was a liability to him.

. . . Key’s always been seen as a regular bloke, and regardless of his super wealth, he is. But perhaps he should have a word to his son Max who’s been with the family at their Hawaiian hideaway over the past couple of weeks, along with his model girlfriend who’s soon to become a Miss Auckland contestant, we’re told. . .

Now that isn’t the privilege of the vast majority 20 year old’s who’re struggling to make ends meet in this country.

It’s not an image that should be flaunted when the number of homeless here is growing and when the economy’s beginning to waiver, and it’s not the image that Key’s so carefully cultivated.

To those who like and admire him the PM comes across as who he is, someone who has the rare ability to engage with a wide spectrum of people and who hides neither his humble background nor the wealth he earned through hard work and careful investment.

This story won’t influence them. It might provide some fuel for those who don’t like him or his politics but probably won’t even register with the vast majority.

If there was any flaunting, it wasn’t the original posting of the video, it was the reporting of it which brought it wider attention.

That brings me back to the schoolyard chant.

Social media is part of life now and some matters broadcast on it do have legitimate news value.

However, some which get reported on by the MSM forget the difference between what some of the pubic might be interested in and what’s in the public interest, and they’re just telling tales.

Stories about politicians families should, with very rare exceptions, be in the latter category.

What about privacy?

July 17, 2015

Reporters from 3 News visited some of the people with Chinese-sounding names used by Labour to attack offshore buyers :

Of the 10 homes visited:

  • Three were owned by NZ citizens
  • One by a couple applying for permanent residency
  • One was a renter who didn’t know her landlord
  • One woman didn’t speak English
  • The rest – no one answered.

My grasp of stats isn’t great but I don’t think any reliable conclusions on Labour’s assertions can be garnered from this small sample.

Regardless of that, what about the privacy of the data and the people identified from it?

If I was one of the people on the list I’d be laying a complaint with the privacy commissioner.

I might also be talking to whichever is the appropriate body for dealing with complaints about the media behaviour.


Current affairs sails on

June 25, 2015

In the beginning was the good ship Campbell Live and the captain was John.

And John steered his ship through troubled waters and calm and braved many storms and was admired by many for his skill although sometimes his ship listed somewhat dangerously to port.

But his crew was not troubled nor were the people of  the left who praised him mightily for sailing into the right whence he created tempests.

But  every night Captain John was called to sail his ship in a race for the coveted trophy Ratings for the winner of this race was graced with advertising dollars.

But night after night Captain John failed to win the trophy though he navigated through diverse waters, from the shallows of celebrity to the depths of despond.

And so the admirals of the TV3 fleet spoke for they were unimpressed and they beseeched Captain John to change course.

And John said no for verily he stood on the poop deck of his own importance and did not want to chart another course.

So the admirals and Captain John parted ways and the good ship Campbell Live sank amidst the tears of its crew and passengers.

There was much wailing and gnashing of teeth among the people of the left who were sore afraid that all the socialist treasure was lost with the ship and that current affairs would not sail again.

But lo, two experienced captains,  Heather du Plessis-Allan And Duncan Garner were enticed from other craft to command a new ship and the admirals said its name would be Story.

And the admirals said that Story would be a smart, fun and thought-provoking ship that would lead the way in daily current affairs.

And the people went about their business, eating their dinners, playing with their smart phones, accessing the internet and watching television or not as it wasn’t in the beginning but is now and may or may not evermore be.





Conservatives all steamed up

June 19, 2015

If the title for TV3’s Newsworthy is supposed to be ironic, it succeeds.

The 10:30pm slot that used to be for news is now not. However, its interview with Conservative leader Colin Craig in the sauna has made news because its got his party all steamed up.

Colin Craig’s leadership of the Conservative Party is under serious threat.

The party’s board is meeting today to discuss his future but it is understood plans are in motion to oust him as leader.

Craig’s recent appearance on TV3’s Newsworthy programme where he was interviewed in a sauna is said to have been the final straw. . .

Colin Craig told Paul Henry this morning that if the board sack him as leader he’d still continue to fund the party.

That worked well for the Internet Party didn’t it?

The media went to its funder Kim Dotcom because he made better copy for what is deemed to be newsworthy these days.

The same would happen with the Conservatives.

Heads Craig stays on as leader and is in the news for all the wrong reasons, tails he’s not leader but still funder and the go-to guy for the media for all the wrong reasons.

Either way they lose.





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