Brian Edwards Media

Bouquets & Brickbats (An Occasional Series)

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To Paul Holmes for his documentary Real Life: Chasing the Ghost. Sad, moving, enlightening, courageous.

To Nigel Latta for the second episode in his series The Politically Incorrect Parenting Show. Highly entertaining and informative. Supernanny would be proud of him, though she’d have found his reference to ‘breast Nazis’ unasseptable!

To Rod Vaughan for his 60 Minutes item on the historical abuse of children in Social Welfare homes. Powerful and disturbing. But see the first item under Brickbats.

To Kevin Milne who has returned to Fair Go. Gordon Harcourt was an excellent stand-in, but the show just isn’t the same without you. Go well.

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To One News and 3 News for constantly using their 6pm bulletins to promote upcoming items on Close Up, Sunday, Campbell Live, 60 Minutes and the like, when there is generally nothing newsworthy about the items at all. It’s journalistically unacceptable and dishonest. The news is the news, not a vehicle for in-house advertising.

To Comedy Central which continues to bombard viewers during its ‘commercial breaks’ with the same comedy clips again and again and again and again. In any one night’s viewing, you can see the same clip, along with the same cartoon integrations, literally dozens of times.  A comedy clip can stand no more than one or two airings, even if it is funny, and many or these aren’t. I was really looking forward to the arrival of Comedy Central and I enjoy most of the programmes, but I’m getting close to permanent switch-off now. And so, I suspect, are many of your viewers. It’s insulting. Sort it out please.

To Sky Television for successfully creating a two-tier public/private viewing system in New Zealand where only those who can afford to subscribe can see our national sports teams in live action. That, not to put too fine a point on it, is a disgrace.

Your Bouquets & Brickbats are welcome.

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19 Comments:

  1. The Sky promotions are a cunning plan to sell more MySky, which worked in my case. It’s not just Comedy Central, Discovery and History Channel are as bad and some channels are carrying adverts. Admittedly it’s the “free” channels but I remember once Pay TV was for avoiding commercials.

    I now watch nothing, except Formula 1 which is my religion, live so they can promo all they like. Even then, some are so long it seems 30x Fast Forward just isn’t fast enough. However, it’s great to see Comedy Central, performers like Demetri Martin that we wouldn’t otherwise see.

    • The Sky promotions are a cunning plan to sell more MySky, which worked in my case.

      From a technical perspective, I agree that MySky is great. Wouldn’t be without it. But it is expensive and I don’t think Kiwis should have to pay to see their national sports teams in live action.

      One thing about your comments saddens me – that Formula 1 is your religion. I find it hard to think of anything more boring than car racing on television. And on Sunday it’s on both TV1 and TV3. You can’t escape the bloody thing!

  2. A huge brickbat to Sky for their incessant advertising breaks.

    /begin rant/

    Now look here, you muthaf**kers, I pay a small fortune for the doubtful pleasure of subscribing to your shi**y monopoly service with its crappy, absurb plans which are designed solely with your revenue stream in mind. I object to being subjected to constant advertisments on my – because you seem to need to be reminded of this – SUBSCRIBER PAY TV SERVICE. I pay NOT to look at advertisments, most of which are for your own shows anyway, the vast majority of which are crappy dross on their fifty millionth repeat. FFS, you idiots, I ALREADY SUBSCRIBE, I DON’T NEED TO BE CONVINCED THAT “DIRTY JOBS WITH MIKE ROWE” IS THE GAME BREAKER IN MY DECISION TO SUBSCRIBE! Got that you f**king asshats?

    If the government had any balls whatsoever they would pass a decent anti-trust law so your sorry asses could be hauled off to court and your stupid company broken up into competing businesses, so the long-suffering New Zealand consumer might get some decent service for a change.

    /end rant/

    Thank you for this opportunity Mr. Edwards.

    • A huge brickbat to Sky for their incessant advertising breaks.

      Fair enough, Tom, but rather understated I thought. Why not call a spade a spade?

  3. “To One News and 3 News for constantly using their 6pm bulletins to promote upcoming items on Close Up, Sunday, Campbell Live, 60 Minutes and the like, when there is generally nothing newsworthy about the items at all.”

    thank you. this totally annoys me as well, not that i watch hardly any tv news these days, but the one night i watched in the last week had:

    1. a news item pretty much solely promoting a programme later on that evening.

    2. promotion of mr latta’s show while conducting an interview with him

    3. promotion of a documentary about the sophie elliot case, to be aired in august.

    they already have ad breaks to promote their own programmes. does the actual news have to be advertising as well? i’ve also stopped watching breakfast for a variety of reasons, one of which is that it seems to be a big advertorial for toys, gadgets and the like.

    • Thanks Stargazer. I’m a fan of both Paul Henry and Ali Mau. But I really can’t put up with the mindless babble that surrounds the good bits.

  4. What annoys me is numerous live crosses, when there is no need for a live update. It is fake theatre to give a sense of immediacy.

    • What annoys me is numerous live crosses, when there is no need for a live update.

      And the constant use of “live” to suggest that there’s something truly amazing about what you’re about to see – a person who may actually be hundreds of even thousands of miles away actually speaking to you through your television set in real, synchronous time. (And we’ve only been able to do that for a decade or three.) And every story we have is of course reported “exclusively”. Grrrr!

  5. My “favourite” live cross was during a story about banks and the financial crisis when TV1 crossed live to a rather damp reporter standing outside a very obviously closed Westpac on an empty street in case the viewers thought the story might be about sport or gardening instead of finance. And then that arch-idiot Simon Dallow telling us again afterwards that the dampened doorstepper had just been “reporting live.” Dear God in heaven, save me from TV news in this country before I throw the telly out the window.

    By the way, Brian, I agree entirely about motor racing. If I want to watch morons driving insanely at unsafe speeds, I’ll take a stroll down to the motorway overbridge and watch it live.

    • My “favourite” live cross was during a story about banks…

      It would also be nice if fewer of the field reporters on both free-to-air channels were functionally illiterate. But that’s another story.

  6. “It would also be nice if fewer of the field reporters on both free-to-air channels were functionally illiterate. But that’s another story.”

    It would be even better if they were capable of starting a sentence without using the construction “Look Simon/Wendy/Alistair”.

    • It would also be even better…

      Possibly. But having a basic command of English grammar and syntax does seem quite important.

  7. Brian, you are asking for the moon now. Incoherence is clearly (or not clearly as the case may be) TVNZ’s watchword.

  8. Brian, you might add right toward the top of your “Bouquets” list the Wednesday night documentaries on Maori. If you want real thoughtful record of actual events (last Wednesday was John Trudell)it is the place to stop. Yeah ok you might be able to get the same item over the net for free but for old dial-ups like me it is a blessing.

    Oh, and very few adverts as well.

    Kia kaha!! Maori!

    • Brian, you might add right toward the top of your “Bouquets” list the Wednesday night documentaries on Maori.

      I agree. As a general rule it’s well worth checking out what’s on Maori TV. Native Affairs leaves much of the current affairs on TV1 and TV3 for dead.

  9. “To Paul Holmes for his documentary Real Life: Chasing the Ghost. Sad, moving, enlightening, courageous.”

    Really?… I can’t help feeling irritated by his style, there are only just so many hearts on sleeves that this one can tolerate: Oh woe is me … I suppose everyone knows anyway … may as well make a program … for what good it will do…sob. There are certain parallels between PH and Woody Allen, and with Rob Harley at the helm, the outcome was predictable – once again preaching to the converted. I ask why Holmes didn’t use his chauffeur driven bright red luxury Bentley for the program, the one he rolled up to Headhunters HQ in to give them a right bollocking? Perhaps it wouldn’t have set the right tone.
    That Capri Clinic at $6000 per week definitely sets the tone. ‘Sober Fun’? “Go from a beautiful high school cheerleader or math club president to a snaggle-toothed poxed whore down on P road”? (PH really latched onto that one) Who are these people? Who in their right mind would send their teenager there? Somehow you’d NEED to be drugged to make sense of it. Minigolf ? I can well imagine its appeal for octogenarian alcoholics and impressionable children under the age of ten. That whole place is an anachronism, an alternative set for ‘Fear and Loathing Cold Turkey’ perhaps? Claunch had an Evangelical glint about him and there was a heady air of repressed ‘halleluiah’ about the place.
    “Harm minimisation” (www.drugfoundation.org.nz/methamphetamine) is seen as an abhorrence in PH’s black and white world, the kid either gives her demon up completely or she dies, there’s no middle ground. Mike Sabin (ex-cop) helpfully provides the non-inclusion of ‘harm minimisation’ in the UN Charter by way of support for this, impressive research, huh? Oh, and Paul sez she can give up her Headhunter ‘filth’ while she’s at it (Sunday News 07/03/09 ) and he’s reported as giving parental advice to Paula Bennett to throw her baby out with the bath-water too.
    We’re introduced to a range of people with the good ‘creds’ (Mike Sabin ex-cop http://www.methcon.co.nz, Pat Buckley ex-gang member) as well as bright eyed school kids; to the dreams of the Stellar Trust benefiting from a celebrity function with much back slapping and smiling for cameras raising $60,000, and finishing with a confusing personal story from the mother of an addict.

    A few days prior to the Doco, CloseUp (15/07) had a natter to the Stellar Trust guys and Dr Chris Wilkins from Massey. Dr Wilkins identified young people who misuse drugs like P as risk takers and anti-authority, and the only ‘solution’ being decent drug rehab units to treat the victims. He really felt that $400,000 needed by the Stellar Trust to put an anti-P video (supplied by Mike Sabin) into 56,000 homes in Whangarei was not really going to have much impact on the problem.

    Paul Holmes had been coached along on this particular journey, he was almost articulate and always focussed on seeing what he wanted to see, hearing what he wanted to hear. Sad? Yes, always. Moving? Yes, across the whole spectrum. Enlightening? Hmmm … in a ghoulish sensational kind of way. Courageous? Everyone knew anyway, and he didn’t implicate the other wee socialites from good families playing with the same fire, it was a sure bet that folks would feel sorry for him on the day. I don’t think he’s courageous enough to show his true nature, nor honest enough to grasp that there is another approach for him. Would he see his daughters’ problems as ‘health problems’ with the main objective to keep his girl healthy and alive, until she can get into a good rehab program?
    I got the feeling he was publicly distancing himself from further fall-out. Halleluia? He doesn’t get my vote.

    • Really?… I can’t help feeling irritated by his style, there are only just so many hearts on sleeves that this one can tolerate: Oh woe is me … I suppose everyone knows anyway … may as well make a program … for what good it will do…sob.

      I think there is some truth in what you say about Paul. But his despair about his daughter and his desire to do something about the P epidemic are undoubtedly genuine.

      By the way, you can write. Hope you’re using that talent on more than blogs.

      • Gawd, we have an apologist…

        For heaven’s sake, man, stop beating about the bush. If you don’t like the man, call a spade a spade and be done with it.

  10. Okay, I’ll accept PH’s despair is genuine (although I feel distrust of the foundations for his emotions), but I would still argue that he was VERY selective in his search for ‘answers’ and with the overall presentation of the problem – where were the academic specialists?
    Thanks for your encouragement. As for using it for “more than blogs” – you’re it.