Brian Edwards Media

Archive for June, 2010

A Full Stop on Carter/Garner

With more than 100 comments posted , I am putting a full stop to this debate. I will not publish any more comments. Too many contain little more than abuse of one party or the other.

The incontrovertible facts are as follows:

*Garner and Carter had a confrontation in the Auckland Koru Club roughly 11 months ago.

*Carter claims that later, on the plane, Garner said to him: I am going to fucking get you, Carter. If it takes me to Christmas I am going to fucking destroy you.

*Garner responds:  I ’swear’ I did not say to Chris, “I am going to fucking get you, if it takes me to Christmas I am going to destroy you.”

*Whatever the actual words used by Garner, they were overheard by Dame Margaret Bazley who was seated directly behind Carter.  Dame Margaret was appalled by whatever it was she heard and said to Carter:  What a disgraceful man. You don’t have to put up with rubbish like that on a plane, Mr Carter.

We will leave it there.

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Gutter Journalism from the Sunday Star Times

I doubt that Phil Goff and I will ever be close mates. But he has my sympathy today. When I opened my Sunday Star Times this morning, I was confronted by a banner headline: ‘Phil Goff’s daughter busted for drugs’. Two full columns were devoted to the story. Serious stuff, eh.

Well, the facts are that the ‘bust’ took place 6 months ago, at a New Year’s dance party in Sydney; that the drugs were four Ecstacy tablets; and that, following an appeal, no conviction was entered against Goff’s daughter’s name.

This is a nothing more than a piece of grubby newspaper sensationalism, written by Jonathan Marshall a ‘journalist’ flatteringly described in a Listener article as a ‘media pariah’. It is neither current nor relevant.  Its sole purpose is to embarrass the Leader of the Opposition.

And to add insult to injury, it ends with this:

‘News of his daughter’s arrest has come at an unwelcome time for Phil Goff… Polls have had him lagging way behind National’s John Key.’

My guess is that this piece of junk may attract some sympathy from the voting public and I hope it does.

In the meantime, the editor of the Sunday Star Times should hold his head in shame.

As for Jonathan Marshall, he might consider returning to Britain’s most disreputable newspaper, the News of the World, where he belongs.


Incident on an Air New Zealand Flight

Picture: NZPA

Picture: NZPA

Picture: TV3

Picture: TV3





It will come as no surprise to readers of this blog that I am no fan of TV3’s Political Editor, Duncan Garner. I have written several posts about him. They include a post on April 7 in which I raised the question: Should TV3 be considering  whether their Political Editor is fit to hold the job?  I headed the post Duncan Garner on Chris Carter – Journalism or Personal Campaign?  I believe I now have the answer to that question and it comes from Garner’s own lips. 

But first a little history. It is no secret around Parliament  that, roughly 11 months ago,  Garner and Carter had a verbal stoush in the Auckland Koru Club.  Following the release of the report detailing the 2008 travel expenses of Labour Ministers, Garner had run a TV3 story alleging that Carter was a big-spending Minister whose travel could not be justified in what was essentially a domestic portfolio – Education. The story also referred to Carter’s long-time partner and travelling companion, Peter Kaiser, and included the name of the primary school of which Kaiser is principal.  

Not surprisingly, there was bad blood between the two men. Carter and Darren Hughes were in the Koru Club waiting for their flight to Wellington to be called when Garner approached them. He is reported as having said, ‘Travelling on the fucking taxpayer again, Chris.’ Carter told him to ‘fuck off!’  Read the rest of this entry »


Goff Totally Loses The Plot

Herald/Paul Escourt

Herald/Paul Escourt

Either Phil Goff is getting appalling advice from his media advisers or he is ignoring good advice. Either way, his recent handling of Chris Carter would suggest that he has totally lost the plot.

One of the most basic tenets of public relations and of politics is that the ultimate goal in handling any problem is to make it go away. Our training mantra – be straightforward, tell the truth, admit your mistakes – is undoubtedly the best way to achieve that result. But however you handle the problem, the silliest thing you can do is to prolong bad media coverage by giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to a dying issue. That is precisely what Goff is doing by demanding that Carter front the media on the issue of his alleged abuse of his ministerial expenses, if and when he is allowed to return to parliament.

The biggest news story in New Zealand at the moment is the good news story about the All Whites’ stunning performances in South Africa. The country is in a feel-good mood and the ministerial expenses issue has faded in the print media and been largely absent from our television screens for a few days. Goff ought to be breathing a sigh of relief, more especially since his disciplining of Carter,  which the pundits said would win  him brownie points, has had no positive effect on his personal ratings as preferred Prime Minister. He is barely above the non-candidate Helen Clark.

In summary, publicity around the Carter affair has damaged Labour, and Goff’s handling of the affair has not done him or the party any good. So, with the country obsessed with soccer and the Carter issue moribund, if not actually dead, the smart thing to do would have been to get back to business as usual. Goff, however, appears to want his pound of flesh. Why?  Read the rest of this entry »


‘Sometimes I wish I was still on Fair Go’ – A Farewell to Telecom



Judy and I recently got back from a week in Rarotonga. Sun, sea, sand, books, eating out, sleeping. Choice! Not one cloud on the horizon.  Well one: The only messages I could get on my (Telecom XT) mobile phone were  ‘Emergency Calls Only’ and ‘No Networks Detected’. And after a few hours, nothing at all. My mobile wouldn’t work in the Cook Islands. Judy and I rely on our mobile phones to keep us in touch with clients and bring us new business when we’re overseas. So being incommunicado isn’t good for the balance sheet.

The cloud was even bigger when we spent three weeks in Vietnam earlier this year. My (Telecom XT) mobile phone wouldn’t work there either. ‘Emergency Calls Only’, ‘No Networks Detected’… You get the picture.  When we got back from Vietnam Telecom replaced the ‘faulty’ sim card and said that would solve the problem. Clearly it didn’t.

And the explanation wasn’t all that convincing either. The phone worked perfectly well in New Zealand. It looked as though the XT system was the problem when you were overseas, not the sim card.

Or maybe it’s unreasonable to expect your phone to roam in remote places like Vietnam and the Cook Islands. But Melbourne isn’t remote, is it? I ask the question because when I was moaning to my close friend Joe about ‘bloody Telecom’ not working in Vietnam or the Cook Islands, he told me he’d just come back from Melbourne where his (Telecom XT) mobile phone wouldn’t work either.  And then Joe, a globetrotter, went on to list all the other countries where his phone wouldn’t work. Fortunately his partner is with Vodafone, so she at least got to hear from home. Read the rest of this entry »


Want Quality Writing? Check out the Sports Pages!

I was never any good at sport. At secondary school I was known as ‘Hat-Trick Edwards’. At cricket practice, bowlers used me to see how many hat-tricks they could score. I was no better at any other sport. I didn’t enjoy it. We tend not to enjoy doing things we aren’t good at.

I’m very good at watching television. I could do it all day. There’s lots of sport on television, but I refuse to increase Sky’s profits to get live coverage of events that every New Zealander should be able to view as of right. It’s a bloody disgrace actually, but Sky has the ear of government, and that story can wait for another day.

Anyway, it was television that stirred my initial and ongoing interest in sport. Just some sports – tennis, netball, one-day cricket, soccer, lawn bowls, gymnastics, weight lifting. (Note the absence of the world’s most tedious game – rugby union!)

To be precise, my sporting interest is restricted to sport on television. I would never think of abandoning the couch to actually go and watch something. And yes, I know, I’m missing ‘the atmosphere’. Thanks, but the atmosphere in our living room is perfectly nice and you can actually see what’s happening, and see it again and, if there’s any doubt about a ref’s or umpire’s call, ‘go upstairs’. You see, I’ve even got the lingo. 

As for reading about sport, it will not surprise you to know that at our place the sports pages go straight into the recycling bin. Well they did, until a couple of months ago when I discovered sports journalism. I can’t remember what it was I read, but it was probably something about Roger Federer or Irene van Dyk or David Beckham. I’m more into personalities than teams. It’s a TV thing again. Read the rest of this entry »


Thuggery in the Parliamentary Press Gallery


Watching the unedifying spectacle of a group of primarily television reporters and cameramen chasing Chris Carter down the corridors of Parliament, like a pack of hounds baying for the fox’s blood, I was reminded why journalists are competing with politicians, used-car dealers and parking officers for the title of New Zealand’s most despised profession. The comparison is unfair both to the politicians, used-car dealers and parking officers and to a large section of those in the journalism trade itself, primarily the print media.

The difference between print and television journalists is an expression of the differing approach each group has to their trade. Print journalists in my experience are more idealistic about their function in society, seeing the role of the fourth estate as worthwhile, positive, concerned with truth, perhaps even noble. Few become household names, and those who do are likely to have made the transition, often via radio, to the small screen.

The television journalist, in common with pretty well everyone else on television, is primarily motivated by a desire for public recognition – to be seen, noticed, recognised, admired, famous, loved. Among the applause industries, television offers the most accessible entree to all of that.  The newspaper by-line cannot compete.    Read the rest of this entry »


The Doctor & Mrs Doctor are out and will be back on June 17



More on ‘Cheers to 50 Years of Television’

Email from Andi Brotherston, TVNZ News and Current Affairs Public Relations Manager, in response to a complaint about the programme from regular contributor to this website, Merv Lowe:

Thanks for your email.
I appreciate that you didn’t like it. I also appreciate that you have very strong views on what the show should have looked like.
Our programmers disagree with you and decided to do something different. They did so and it worked. 760,000 people watched it.
Ratings are our benchmark and I don’t believe there is a better one.
Prime TV is doing a series of documentaries later in the month. They may well prove to be similar to what you had anticipated.
It will be interesting to see how many people watch them.
As you know TVNZ has to make money today. The only way to do that is to achieve high ratings. You may not like it, you may not be alone in not liking it but that is an issue for Government not an issue for us. We are doing what our shareholder requires us to do.

Email from Andi Brotherston to me, in response to my previous post:

Cheers to 50 Years of Television is one of the highest rating programmes in the last 50 Years of TV.  There’s few others that have held such a large audience over such a long time. It won every 15 minute slot between 8:30pm-10:30pm.
I have spent my entire career in private radio and private TV (until now) where we valued and respected our audience and never thought we knew better than them. So my view is that it’s extremely patronising to say 760,000 people are wrong.
Surely so many people can’t be that wrong? Added to that, we’re starting to receive calls from people wanting us to repeat the programme or to buy it on DVD.


Read the rest of this entry »


At Last – The Official Word on what New Zealand Television is All About!

7410351The critics have been saying it for years.  The ivory tower intellectuals have been saying it for years. Lots and lots and lots of ordinary viewers have been saying it for years. But now, at last, we have it from the horse’s mouth, the official word on what New Zealand television is all about.

On Tuesday TVNZ ‘celebrated’ a half century of television in New Zealand with two hours of something called Cheers to 50 Years of Television.  There appears to have been general agreement that the ‘something’ was, as the Herald reported, ‘crap’ and ‘a pile of dog turds’. A gentler, though still unflattering assessment on Public Address was that the show was ‘the equivalent of offering some chips and a litre of orange juice at someone’s 50th anniversary on the job.’

On the whole, I thought these assessments were generous,  but it is not my intention to add insult to injury by contributing to the contumely that has already been heaped on TVNZ’s head. I want to congratulate them. And in particular I want to congratulate  the company’s spokesperson Andi Brotherston. We do not normally associate the art of public relations with telling it like it is, with delivering the unvarnished truth. But that is what Andi has done. She has told it like it is, she has delivered the unvarnished truth, the official word on what New Zealand television is all about.

She could have dissimulated. She could have used honeyed PR words to deny that the programme was ‘crap’ and ‘a pile of dog turds’. To her credit, she did not. Accepting that Cheers to 50 Years of Television had received ‘mixed reviews’ – presumably as in ‘some terrible, some diabolical’ – she is reported as having added that ‘what was important was the excellent ratings’. Bravo! Cheers! Well done! For that is indeed the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  Read the rest of this entry »