Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Dropping the Bomber

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  • Rich of Observationz,

    Guests are meant to engage with the programme, not just use it as a megaphone

    I assume the producers consciously chose a format where Bomber rants for a couple of minutes and then the "balanced" panel of Farrar, Mathew Hooton and Michelle Boag tut quietly and discuss just how great John Key really is.

    I do not believe the government’s financing of Mediaworks’ frequency licences was the motivation for the programme

    Of course it isn't as blatant as that. I'd be surprised to find a smoking gun email setting out terms. But there's a general consideration that in return for Mediaworks running radio stations that promote a right-wing agenda, they'll get favourable treatment on things like license fees. Same with RNZ - management know which side their bread's buttered.

    (Labour could have done the same in their day, but didn't. Too polite. Class war, but only one side is fighting).

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4437 posts Report Reply

  • merc,

    Wow, just wow, what next fireside chats from Mr Key, oh yeah he's done one already on yutub.

    Since Dec 2006 • 2471 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Of course it isn't as blatant as that. I'd be surprised to find a smoking gun email setting out terms. But there's a general consideration that in return for Mediaworks running radio stations that promote a right-wing agenda, they'll get favourable treatment on things like license fees.

    That'll be why they aired Public Address Radio for five years, then.

    Radio Live is a commercial radio station -- that's all you need to know. The Prime Minister is hugely popular, for reasons that have little to do with politics in a conventional sense. Put him on and people will not only listen, they will talk about it. It was a great score for a station that struggles for a profile.

    Same with RNZ - management know which side their bread's buttered.

    I can only imagine the furore had something similar happened when Helen Clark was Prime Minister.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18800 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston,

    Wow and I thought there was one small oasis on the afternoon wireless that had be forgotten by the politicians. Our own little Hobbiton on wireless, removed from the rough and tumble of political affairs, of no interest to spin doctors and press secs.
    The panel has had plenty of controversial options sprinkled amongst the generally interesting nattering but noone has noticed in the past.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 479 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    what got me at the time was that
    - i had no idea of john key's neck slicing action
    - all jim mora wanted to do was talk about cats
    - if bomber was less ranty and less conspiracy theory i'd pay attention to him more often

    the panel is always a bit of a hotch potch of sometimes great, sometimes ill informed but i always listen. but a ban for life? really? i don't get it

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 472 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    The Prime Minister is hugely popular

    But why? Whyyyyyyyy? Sob. I have never felt so disconnected from my fellow citizens as I do when I ponder this issue.

    ETA It must be said that at the best of times I hate the fucking Panel with a burning passion. So much *wittering*.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3641 posts Report Reply

  • larryq,

    The fact that his pseudonym is a euphemism for bombastic makes it surprising that he was ever on the programme. He'll no doubt regard his non invite as a badge of honour. I prefer my politics to have at least a veneer of rationality, something that Bomber doesn't bother with. I love The Panel and will listen avidly to the likes of Brain Edwards for my dose of left wing urbanity.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 24 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Williams,

    I do think Bomber may have been due a word in his ear. If I were producing or presenting The Panel I would not allow him to simply read out one of his own blog posts in its entirety. Guests are meant to engage with the programme, not just use it as a megaphone.

    He's no worse than Hooton frankly... shrill but hardly warranting a ban. Why must political commentary follow this format with overt partisans? Hooton's transparently a booster for NACT and Williams and Bradford are clearly associated with political parties.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2229 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Quite strange that RNZ appear not to have made an official statement on this issue, other than Cavanagh's (prepared) answers to Mediawatch's enquiries. Of his comments, this one seems not to have been reported widely:

    "RNZ hadn't been advised that he'd be airing such strong personal criticism of the prime minister's character"

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Sue,

    The Prime Minister is hugely popular

    But why? Whyyyyyyyy?

    it's becuase he's so lovely
    That's why he turns up at rugby league matches smiling holding a baby.
    The sad reality is that the vast group of people don't engage much in politics so Key's charisma factor wins every time. Add Phill Goff being so very bland and it's a cakewalk to victory.

    My theory - national learnt well from the bush cheney years. have the smiling dude in charge (key) and the deputy behind the scenes (english) making the big calls.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 472 posts Report Reply

  • Sarah Wedde,

    The Prime Minister is hugely
    popular

    Not in these parts. But word on the street in Naenae probably doesn't have a snowball's chance in hell of becoming part of the mainstream discourse.

    Lower Hutt • Since Nov 2006 • 66 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Key’s charisma factor

    I would understand this reasoning if I thought Key had any charisma. At all. He's not quick-witted, his jokes are awful, and he doesn't seem to know what he's talking about half the time. It's like Dubya, who I always thought was a douchey asshole no matter how many times people pontificated about how great he would be to drink a beer with. I have some sort of mental disconnect, obviously.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3641 posts Report Reply

  • DCBCauchi, in reply to Sue,

    My theory - national learnt well from the bush cheney years. have the smiling dude in charge (key) and the deputy behind the scenes (english) making the big calls.

    My impression is that Key genuinely thinks that the best part of the PM's job is cutting ribbons, awarding prizes, and hosting barbies. It's what he really enjoys. The policy wonks worry about the policy. He just gives it a quick once over before sign-off. Makes sure it's not going to ruin him.

    I don't think Brownlee's a policy wonk either. He likes parties too. He cheerfully went along to Tame Iti's art opening 'Meet the prick'. That's funny.

    None of them are bad people. No-one is really.

    Since Feb 2011 • 320 posts Report Reply

  • Dovil,

    Fantastic post. It would be interesting if Bomber's comment actually does meet the legal requirements to be considered defamation since that's what their justification is for the ban. I am doubtful that they consulted a lawyer.

    I think Bomber is the left's answer to Limbaugh and Beck - emotive outpourings of an overly simplistic ideological bent that is meant to instill fear in their listeners (substitute immigrants and gay people with authority figures - different lyrics, same tune). But considering NZ media is awash with right wing opinion pieces this decision by RNZ isn't exactly comforting.

    With regards to John Key's popularity - apparently he rates highly as someone people would like to sit down and have a beer with. George Bush rated highly on this as well. Perhaps democracy should be abolished.

    Since Oct 2011 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler, in reply to Danielle,

    I would understand this reasoning if I thought Key had any charisma. At all.

    It's the age-old "What does she see in that dickhead? Can't she just dump him already?" conundrum, writ large.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Danielle,

    Key’s charisma factor

    I would understand this reasoning if I thought Key had any charisma.

    My current theory is that his face is remarkably symmetrical and hence trustworthy. I mean it can't be pheromones. And when he speaks it's hard to find any content (he is a politician after all) so what he says can't the the popular thing. So I'm going for his appearance ... there must be some fundamental feature about his face that speaks to the primate brain and says "trust this man"

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3298 posts Report Reply

  • Rich Lock, in reply to Danielle,

    I have some sort of mental disconnect, obviously.

    I think you've got that turned around 180. But I would say that.

    I'm sane, I tell you! It's all of you out there that should be in here, not me!

    back in the mother countr… • Since Feb 2007 • 2388 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler,

    Also, I personally wouldn't want to have a beer with most people. Call me an out-of-touch elitist, but there it is.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Dovil,

    Fantastic post. It would be interesting if Bomber’s comment actually does meet the legal requirements to be considered defamation since that’s what their justification is for the ban. I am doubtful that they consulted a lawyer.

    It was so clearly hyperbolic and ironic that I cannot see how it could. I really don't think Bomber was seriously alleging that the Prime Minister is a meth addict.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18800 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Aston,

    Key’s charisma factor

    I think not - most of the politicians I have meet have that something - you feel their presence but once while waiting for a meeting with Key I failed to notice he was sitting next to me. He is non threatening, convivial, nice, pleasant even but charisma - no.
    I think he attracts trust more than anything - its a complex world and too few have the time or inclination to try to understand policy in a multi dimensional and heavily interconnected world. Those who can't understand resort to belief - in who - well that John Key looks like he wouldn't hurt a fly , he's nice , probably was a good boy for his nana - he'll do.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 479 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    This comment was posted on The Standard:

    Bring back Bomber 44
    10 October 2011 at 9:45 am

    I just spoke to RNZ CEO’s PA who put me through to John Houson (she said he was responsible for the banning) who told me Bomber was actually banned for making defamatory statements about the prime minister, and that Key might sue Bomber for defamation. He couldn’t tell me what statements were defamatory, told me to look at the script.

    If so what about freedom of speech? How about PM interference?

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • B Jones, in reply to Danielle,

    He's not quick-witted, his jokes are awful, and he doesn't seem to know what he's talking about half the time.

    Not that I'm all that in touch with the popular sentiment on this one, but I suspect that at the moment, this is part of the charm. In a "he doesn't make out like he's any better than the rest of us, despite the tens of millions of dollars" kind of way. You can be a witty scrapper from the streets of Mangere like Lange, or awkward but very very smart like Clark, but I think if you had either of those qualities plus stacks of wealth, you'd start to get up people's noses.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 808 posts Report Reply

  • James W,

    I'm not a fan of Bomber's delivery, but obviously this whole thing reeks of dodgy selective censorship.

    I've more of a problem with Jim Mora, trying so hard to appear neutral he tends to trivialise every topic so as to barely hide his own right-leaning convictions.

    The Panel's good when Finlay McDonald or David Slack are on.

    Since Jul 2008 • 124 posts Report Reply

  • James W,

    I think people tend to overhype Key's popularity. It's less "this is the kind of man Kiwis want to lead them at this time" than "he's not Helen Clark or Phil Goff." Labour were at the end of three terms, voters were desperate to be rid of them, and John Key was a cipher, someone so unoffensive and bland they could vote for without feeling dirty for voting for the old '90s National crew. English and Brash couldn't bring those swing voters over, they had too much baggage.

    Now, people just don't pay enough attention to politics to see Key act like a goofball in Parliament or come out with some stupid off-the-cuff remark in interviews. They see him for thirty seconds at a time on the news, sounding authoritive on some pre-briefed topic, and that's all they need to influence them when the pollsters call. Plus, he's not Phil Fucking Goff.

    Since Jul 2008 • 124 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    aired Public Address Radio

    Sure. If you think fair and balanced involves taking views from the slightly-left-of-centre through to Michael Lhaws.

    Radio Live is a commercial radio station – that’s all you need to know.

    And yes, you can make money airing rightwing propaganda, if it's packaged right. You can also make money airing left-wing views - look at Billie Joe Armstrong, or Michael Moore.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4437 posts Report Reply

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