Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Everybody has one

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  • Andre,

    The main prime-time TV current affairs analysis programme showing on the government-owned TV network should report for the people, not the government.
    For years I could change channels between CloseUp and Campbell Live and see them running exactly the same stories. It wasn't until a couple of years ago that this situation changed and Campbell Live focused on stories the government would be less happy with. And we all know how that ended.
    The main unbroken story currently is as follows - and who do you think is actually investigating it? There seems nowhere left on the spectrum beyond Bryan Bruce or internet-only media now Maori TV has also been saddled with government-friendly managers who respond immediately to the Minister when asked to dump stories.
    What is Mike Sabin charged with? Did the PM really know of the allegations in June, yet allowed him to stand in an August election, costing millions in the subsequent by-election when he was charged?
    Why?
    This is the big story that will affect the next election - but you'd never hear it mentioned anywhere for fear of breaking the law. Background should still be given to it.
    T

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 350 posts Report Reply

  • Fiona Mckenzie,

    "Mike Hosking is a New Zealand television and radio journalist and presenter." He must have lied in his job interview - this is how he's described on the 7 Sharp website.

    Christchurch • Since Jun 2015 • 14 posts Report Reply

  • Katharine Moody,

    The Onion take on it;

    Wellington • Since Sep 2014 • 798 posts Report Reply

  • chris, in reply to Jackie Clark,

    Is it all this airy-fairy?

    Yep. End of week one, Duncan gave Heather a hottie, Heather decided instead to give it away, Duncan looked hurt. Target age bracket 7-12.

    Mawkland • Since Jan 2010 • 1302 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    The tedious tit-for-tat columns that Judith Collins and Phil Goff get their staff to write in the Sunday Star Times are, similarly, funded from your tax dollars, rather than the paper's editorial budget.

    Correction: Judith Collins gets paid by the SST, and donates the money to the Totara South Auckland Hospice. Goff hasn't made a similar declaration for the register of pecuniary interest, but it could be a simple oversight - I've asked Jonathan Milne on Twitter.

    I would be similarly interested to know if Bob Jones actually wrote for free or donated his fee.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Mark Graham,

    Happening all over. Tuned into Story for the first time last night only to find a plug for the hideousness that is The Edge (both in terms of music and personality) being given a plug (during radio ratings week, of course), for it’s supremely awful marriage before you meet promotion.

    Yes, the apocalypse has begun.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to giovanni tiso,

    Correction: Judith Collins gets paid by the SST, and donates the money to the Totara South Auckland Hospice. Goff hasn’t made a similar declaration for the register of pecuniary interest, but it could be a simple oversight – I’ve asked Jonathan Milne on Twitter.

    Oops. Thanks.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Tinakori,

    Look, as someone who enjoys well expressed opinion from any part of the left/right continuum, I don’t find any difference whatsoever between Mike Hosking and Dita De Boni. Both appear to express themselves wholly in cliches and are long on unsupported assertion and short on penetrating analysis.

    We will have to differ strongly on that then. De Boni can write. Hosking really can’t, and his endless editorials are inevitably full of mistakes and misapprehensions, especially on any economic matter. There’s simply no way they’d be run by the Herald on merit.

    Media companies are not so well off, including the radio outlets, that they can afford to take strong political stances irrespective of their commercial underpinnings. If they could make money from a left wing version of Mike Hosking they would so. In fact, long ago and not so far away there was a left wing version of Mike Hosking. Her name was Pam Corkery. Her outlet, Radio Pacific, staffed mostly by hosts in or heading towards their haemorrhoid years and aimed at a comparable audience, was a power in the land.

    That’s true, and Radio Live offers some variety of worldview. But I do think subjecting newspapers to the opinion standards of talk radio is dragging them down. Willie Jackson makes me throw things at the radio too.

    Dave Armstrong writes an explicitly left wing column in the Dom Post that is entirely readable. His liberal counterpart, former Dominion Editor Karl Du Fresne is also a much better writer than either Hosking or De Boni. Both spend time on the particular before going to the general which gives their writing texture and lowers the ranting ratio in each column. Maybe there is something in the Wellington and Wairarapa water?

    Du Fresne is a puzzle. His feature writing is generally excellent. His columns, or worse, his blog posts, are often weird and cranky.

    But I did actually very clearly say I didn't think this was some right-wing takeover, but more a reflection of the commercial realities in the current media climate.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Josie McNaught,

    If Hosking is not a journalist (which begs the question - what tribe does he belong to - the 50 year old blowhards club perhaps?) then he isn't entitled to any of the privileges and/or defences that are afforded to those who do happily own up to being part of the profession. Small consolation but he could still come a cropper!

    Auckland • Since Oct 2012 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • Andre,

    When Frank Haden used to edit and write for publications I worked on I'd often quiz him on his Sunday Star Times columns. He was a nice man and could tackle topics like the launch of Kiwibank in a positive style and the Foreshore and Seabed Bill with no obvious bias. As an editor occasionally I was often surprised at how closely he'd followed a brief.
    He explained that his role as an SST columnist was to report with a hard-edged non-PC bias - a brief he more than fulfilled. His KPI seemed to centre around the number of letters to the editor received following publication.
    Hosking isn't a shadow to this great news-man, patron of the Press Club and editor of the Dominion Post among others. Frank would have been uncomfortable airing his views 65-hours-a-week. Thank goodness he never got that opportunity but, if he had, the result would have been much more eloquent and engaging than any prose Hosking ever summoned. Hosking writes multiple published short-length "journals" - doesn't that make him a journalist?

    New Zealand • Since May 2009 • 350 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to chris,

    as a journalist, if he is one, there is a code of ethics he should be expected to uphold.

    And that's the only reason the coward is claiming not to be one.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Hosking wanted to be a broadcaster from the age of 12. Five years later he was at Radio Windy, writing advertising copy and smoking 20 cigars a day. Now, at just 25, his voice is familiar to 200,000 people between Radio Northland in Whangarei and Radio Southland in Invercargill .... First you see the suit, as you are supposed to. It's pinstripe, double-breasted, offset by a Pierre Cardin white shirt with a slash of red tie descending to cover the buttons. The tie is doubly secured with a gold tie pin and combination medallion...his hair ... is swept into a Byronesque coif which gives him a couple of ersatz inches ... He drove around in a 1969 Mk1 Daimler Sovereign .. He joined the Daimler club ... sold it, bought a 15-bedroom, two -storey house in Port Chalmers.. He has a wine collection of 200 bottles....'I'm a money person, I'm a capitalist. I'm to the right of Roger Douglas. ...He says that TV is "all crap".. We also learn that the smokes 6 cigars each show and that Winston Peters is a fan. Tim Wilson has fun in a North and South article from 1990 (that I just came across while researching something totally unrelated)

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3202 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    ...and that Winston Peters is a fan.

    Those wild double-breasted boys back in the day.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Carol Stewart, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Du Fresne is a puzzle. His feature writing is generally excellent. His columns, or worse, his blog posts, are often weird and cranky.

    They're pretty much all weird and cranky. His DomPost column last week, bagging Otago University public health researchers, was a shocker. Luckily a few people struck back via letters to the editor, pointing out that public health research has brought us longer lifespans and relative freedom from infectious diseases. Cranks gonna crank, I guess.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 821 posts Report Reply

  • Eric Rowe,

    It interesting to note that Radio took control of Media Works and NZME because their boards looked at revenue figures and they were the only media not declining. The obvious mistake here is that it isn't because of amazing thought leadership and a great channel, but simply because Radio will be one of the last media channels truly digitally disrupted.

    It won't be tomorrow, but come virtual personal assistants, actually wearable google glass, driverless cars, etc. and we'll see Radio collapse at a speed that might rival print's collapse. If I'm in a car with no driver I'm sure as heck not listening to the radio.

    New Zealand • Since Mar 2013 • 5 posts Report Reply

  • Tinakori, in reply to Russell Brown,

    "....his endless editorials are inevitably full of mistakes and misapprehensions, especially on any economic matter."

    That's how I feel about Dita De Boni, I'm afraid.

    "Du Fresne is a puzzle. His feature writing is generally excellent. His columns, or worse, his blog posts, are often weird and cranky"

    My test is whether I read them to the end and can enjoy them on the way.

    For me, Dave Armstrong and Karl are very similar on that criterion, irrespective of the views they express in reaching the end.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2013 • 118 posts Report Reply

  • william blake,

    There is only one thing worse than being talked about and that is not being talked about.

    Oscar Wild.

    Since Mar 2010 • 378 posts Report Reply

  • Ewan Morris,

    Over on Pundit a little while ago, Tim Watkin was arguing that Hosking, Henry, Espiner, Williams, Garner and Campbell were all 'talented question-askers' who have 'earned it' with their 'broadcast skill'. I asked him what exactly Hosking 'does' and what his 'skill' is. Didn't get a very convincing answer.

    Since Nov 2006 • 46 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Michael Meyers,

    I tried reading his column today. It doesn’t even make sense, nor is it readable.

    It occurs to me that he writes for himself to speak. because that’s what he’s used to. That can be a good way to write, but the syntax of commercial talk radio tends to look nonsensical in a newspaper.

    To really see how shithouse this internal sharing can be, this week’s column from Barry Soper, on the Herald website:

    There was something of a rebellion in the Tory’s ranks over the new law, which flowed on from the poor safety record at the Pike River mine. The law was to give the families of the 29 miners who perished there some peace of mind, that needless work accidents could be prevented.

    But it’s come down to the definition of what workplace is high risk, and what isn’t, and that’s lead to howls from the Beehive’s opponents that they’re looking after the rural rump.

    Presumably, a sub never even looked at that. Surely.

    It thereafter descends into gibberish:

    Also in the fraught, high risk category of farming is pig, where a grunt is worse than the bite, goat where billy can be a little gruff at times, and rabbit, which are more dangerous to themselves, particularly when caught in a headlight glare.

    And concludes, bizarrely:

    But before nanny state Labour crows too much about cock-ups, it should reflect on its final months in office when it came up with new building codes, reducing the water flow of showers and phasing out conventional lights bulbs for energy efficient ones.

    Not surprisingly, the Nats sacked the nanny!

    And I assure you, this column is not an outlier.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    Not been watching Mr Henry on morning telly but is it the same mash of radio and tv conventions?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19686 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Ewan Morris,

    Over on Pundit a little while ago, Tim Watkin was arguing that Hosking, Henry, Espiner, Williams, Garner and Campbell were all ‘talented question-askers’ who have ‘earned it’ with their ‘broadcast skill’. I asked him what exactly Hosking ‘does’ and what his ‘skill’ is. Didn’t get a very convincing answer.

    Hosking is actually a very technically-skilled broadcaster and he knows how to ask questions. His management of last year's TV One leaders' debate was pretty good too. But he lacks empathy, self-awareness and insight.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Sacha,

    Not been watching Mr Henry on morning telly but is it the same mash of radio and tv conventions?

    I should check it out more (I do not watch breakfast television) – bits I've seen haven't actually been terrible.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Sacha,

    Mr Henry on morning telly

    Mate, "we need more open minds like his".

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4591 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    One observation: the Newstalk ZB-TVNZ double act that Hosking has effectively inherited from Holmes is extremely onerous. Coming down from being "on" doesn't leave a lot of time for thinking and researching.

    Also, you've got to be pretty weird to even be capable of doing it.

    Talk radio itself is the home of, as former Newstalk head Bill Francis readily acknowledged to me, the home of "edge personalities".

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22754 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso, in reply to Russell Brown,

    And I assure you, this column is not an outlier.

    If I'm feeling down about my writing I read one of Soper's columns and quickly start believing I'm Nadine fucking Gordimer.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

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