Brian Edwards Media

John Campbell, tonight you were a disgrace to the interviewer’s trade.

John, Your mindless, bullying, tirade against ‘moon man’ Ken Ring on tonight’s Campbell Live was perhaps the worst piece of egotistical, self-important, out of control, closed-minded, biased, unprofessional  non-interviewing I have seen in more than 40 years of New Zealand television.

I have no brief for Mr Ring or his theories, but after watching your treatment of him tonight, I have considerably more respect for him as the reasonable exponent of an admittedly controversial point of view than I have for you as an interviewer.

What mattered to you in this exchange was not what he had to say, but what you had to say. And since he thought the process was meant to involve his being critically questioned on statements he had made and being given reasonable opportunity to reply, he had every right to complain when you preferred to deny him that opportunity by shouting him down. It was, quite simply, appalling.

My advice to Mr Ring would be to immediately complain to Mark Jennings, the Head of News and Current Affairs at TV3 about your mistreatment on the programme tonight, and the breach of Broadcasting Standards of fairness and balance which it contained. And, when your complaint is almost certainly rejected, to take the matter to the Broadcasting Standards Authority for their deliberation and judgement.

The microphone is a potent tool in the bullying interviewer’s hand, especially when the interview is not face-to-face and the interviewee is isolated in a remote studio location. Fortunately most interviewers do not abuse that situation. Tonight we saw what has overall been excellent television coverage of the Christchurch earthquake on both TVNZ and TV3 marred by a descent to broadcasting at the level of Jerry Springer. I have seldom been so angry.

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  1. Obvious troll is obvious, Brian.

    You know the charlatan Mr Ring has had unchallenged media coverage up and down New Zealand for many years, especially since September 4th.

    And, you also know that the item leading into Campbell’s challenge against Mr Ring was both explained and defended Mr Ring’s theories. Five minutes of emotive “we listened to him, and we’re safe” explanation of his theories.

    What other response was a responsible journalist to do? Say “ok, Mr Ring,” we’ve heard people tell us you’re right, now tell us again, why you’re right? Or a journalist pointing out that he is incorrect, misleading and, thankfully, calling Mr Ring for trying to play the emotional card as his self-defence.

    It is time Mr Ring’s fraud was called out, in front of the nation. Thank you, John Campbell.

  2. The public reaction to this interview saw Ken Ring trending as one of the most popular topics on Twitter.

  3. Could not agree more Brian, we are still talking about it in our house now! No more TV3 for us

  4. Brian – Thank-you for expressing my thoughts in in such a lucid way. I do not watch Campbell Live due to the arrogance he has displayed over the years. Tonight I wanted to hear what Ken Ring had to say – I am still waiting!

  5. My wise son commented that ‘John Campbell is acting like Paul Holmes’.

  6. I watched it & thought it was terrible, I really wanted to hear what Ken Ring had to say, instead of having Campbell interrupt & really just disrespect the guy, I thought he also disrespect me & any other person in NZ who wanted to know his theories whether it be right or wrong! I emailed the campbell show during the interview & ask if they could just let the guy speak! Switch channels after that cause it was disgusting to watch!!

  7. Yes, Brian. The worst bit of TV bullying I can recall. Mrs Jack was concerned that she would need to summon medical assistance; I was that angry. Happily, she didn’t have to make the call. I went and sat out on the terrace, watched the beautiful sunset, sipped a glass of wine, and reflected that John Campbell is not that important in the grand scheme. But some of those Christchurch heroes certainly are.

  8. Spot on Brian.

  9. I was left in absolutely no doubt what John Campbell thought of Mr. Ring. I was however also left with no idea what Mr. Ring actually believed.

  10. Hear hear Brian – I just kept watching open mouthed thinking “yuck-what a complete tosser Campbell is being”

  11. John Campbell was an absolute disgrace. He should go away from TV for a few weeks and reflect on his bad behaviour and come back when he prepared to do his job professionally. Tonight he was as far from professional as he has ever been and it reinforced why I never watch his normal programme.

  12. Hi Brian,
    Guess you missed Paul Holmes interviewing the actors union representative last year then?

  13. Campbell did a great job, I’m sick to dead of the likes of Mark Sainsbury soft soaping every interviewee. Ken Ring is peddling pseudo science and needs to be called on it. The trouble is people believe what he says and as Campbell pointed out his predictions scare people.

    Just in case you haven’t noticed it’s called ‘Campbell live’, it’s Campbell’s show and if wants to aggressively interview someone that is his call.

    Brian if you want an interviewer to conform to your 1950’s view of the media maybe you should stick to listening the National programme.

  14. I have liked John Campbell for many years, ever since I collided with him on a Barnes Crossing in Queen Street. I stood looking in horror at the unprofessional way he spoke at Mr Ring tonight. Whether we believe in his theories or not, we didn’t get an opportunity to formulate our own opinions. I HAVE got a higher science qualification John and I would point out to you that there is much in this universe that is still not understood. You colleagues Mike McRoberts and Hamish Clark have done an excellent job reporting from their homes city and at times brought tears to my eyes. The stress of working at this level has obviously made you overwrought and I suggest you catch the first plane back to Ponsonby and have a cup of tea and a lie down

  15. John Campbell what was that, let the man speak
    I don’t know if I belive what the Moon Man has been saying but unlike you I would have like to hear more of him and far less of you, we here in Christchurch are sick of you pissoff back to Auckland.

  16. How about the other side of the coin, Brian. On Sunday, I welcomed friends from Christchurch up to the farm for a bit of R&R (showers, washing clothes, drinking water to take home). They were all fuming about Ring, who has been building his business by exploiting the shocked and traumatised people of Christchurch. The man is a charlatan and a hypocrite, and whatever his barmy army may say, he is instilling fear in people who deserve the best advice that science and reason can provide. Those two last concepts are alien to Ring.

    Words cannot express the contempt I feel for the man. Kudos to JC for at least trying to get those feelings across.

  17. John Campbell’s grandstanding and ambush tactics represent a new low in NZ television journalism. I am none-the-wiser on Ken Ring’s theories. I am fully informed on Campbell’s pig-ignorance. Just shameful.

  18. The interview was a disgrace. I have no time for any of Ken Ring’s wacky theories, but Campbell’s childish behaviour made Ring by comparison look sensible and reasonable. If Campbell’s aim was to ridicule the man whose claims about future earthquakes are frightening so many people, I’d say he failed miserably.

    Perhaps the emotion of being amidst the wreckage of Christchurch got to him. But that’s no excuse.

  19. Couldnt agree with you more, he has angered me and several others, he not only asked for Ken Ring’s opinion but then procedded to interrupt and disrespect the right for him to have a opinion. Bloody Disgusting, Ive already left a complaint with 3news myself and the only thing I wish to hear from John Campbell is a public apology to Ken for his behaviour.

  20. If he’d started off with:

    “So why didn’t you predict the original 7.1 earthquake, Mr Ring? Why didn’t you say something before then?”

    It would have changed the whole tone of the interview. He could very easily have been forced to attempt to justify his (lack of) ability, and would have been hung out to dry.

    An opportunity wasted.

  21. Quite agree, Brian. It was a disgraceful performance from Campbell.

    I noticed the scientist he interviewed after Mr Ring said that the last time moon-tide effects on tectonics was comprehensively researched was over 100 years ago! Hardly a refutation of Ring’s theories – especially considering they didn’t know about plate tectonics a hundred years ago.

  22. regardless what people believe about ken rings theories isnt the point (im yet to form an opinion myself) john campbells disgusting behaviour shocked me! he owes ken ring a public apology!

  23. I agree. What a complete plonker. I have never watched his show ‘Campbell Live’ and only did so tonight because he was interviewing Ken Ring. ~I will never watch him again. His high pitched, squeaky voice has always given me the s–ts, and now that I have witnessed how he interviews people confirms in my mind what a self absorbed toss pot he really is.

  24. I have just finished watching John’s interview with the Moon Man, and I must say I am very disgusted with the interview, and I feel it was the worst piece of journalism I have ever watched and I will never watch his show again

    John is obviously scared of his predictions and although I am sceptic myself, I would have shown him some respect and let him talk.

    With regards John’s comment asking him, what is his formal qualification, I have been through this kind of questioning in court and to tell you the truth, I made a complete idiot of the lawyer concerned.

    I hope this complaint is handled properly and John is forced to formally apologise to both the Moon Man and other people like me who are not formally qualified and is still intelligent

    My family and I all live along side and work in the Christchurch Area

  25. Well done John Campbell. I think he did a good job of calling out a complete charlatan.
    There is an old saying in science “exceptional claims require exceptional proof”. He offered NO testable proof. His claims are vague and subjective. He portrays him self as a harmless old man offering insight from the sideline. He is not.
    Science can be described as the practical application of self doubt. He never has any doubt about his theories. Any evidence to the contrary is ignored. In a book I read many years ago, I think it was advice to a young scientist. We must through our much loved theories out the window each morning and be ready to watch them die in the cold harsh light of day.
    Ken Ring is no better than the psychic mediums and horoscope writers who prey on peoples over whelming to desire to understand and predict the unpredictable.
    I congratulate John Campbell on calling him out.

  26. I personally have a newfound respect for Campbell. Charlatans and quacks deserve no respect, and should not be treated as if they have an equal and valid viewpoint.

    I wasn’t a fan of Campbell until tonight.

  27. Glad I found this. The interview was so bad it hurt to watch. It seems John Cambell entered the interview with a biased opinion. I really believe he should be punished for this behaviour. No more Campbell live for me and my family!

  28. Ken Ring is a fake and is only out to sell his books, John did a good job at lambasting this charlatan, who is feeding on peoples fears.

  29. Oh come on. I’ll admit that Campbell didn’t do the best he could have, but that charlatan still got what he deserved.

    Normally shows like Campbell bend over backwards to try and give fringe lunatics a fair hearing, but tonight John Campbell actually threw an argument at a guy who has no evidence other than anecdotal for his ridiculous, long-discredited nonsense.

    Ken Ring is basically an astrologer, a peddler of pseudo-science and is no better than the creeps who profit off the grieving with garbage like Sensing Murder.

  30. Who is the producer of this programme? Why were they not able to rein in the presenter? It was a very odd and unprofessional interview the like of which I have never seen. Has John lost the plot? His ratings have been in freefall since FOUR launched, maybe he’s under a lot of pressure to come up with a sideshow to rival The Simpsons?

  31. I’m a little at a loss as to why Brian and most of his commenters are so enraged. To declare that Campbell was “a disgrace to the interviewer’s trade” is ridiculous.

    It wasn’t particularly effective television, because it wasn’t the the kind of interview that can satisfactorily be conducted over a link. The interviewer ends up shouting over the subject (and in Campbell’s case, shouting into the air outside the art gallery), because there’s no other way of trying to get them to stay on topic and answer your question. And Ring was relentless about not answering the question.

    But had he been so permitted, Ring would simply have crooned on as he usually does, burbling convincing-sounding bunkum. I think the trick would have been not to give him the oxygen at all.

    BE: See my answer to Geoff Lealand. The link isn’t ideal, but there is no reason why a satisfactory interview can’t be conducted over a link. It’s been happening all the time since coverage of the quake started. But the interviewee, who is not a professional broadcaster, not used to wearing an earpiece or talking to someone he can’t see, is disadvantaged in terms of control in this sort of interview. He will certainly find it difficult to deal with a hysterical interviewer shouting in his ear.

    Your comment about there being ‘no other way’ of getting the interviewee to stay on topic and answer the question is simply balderdash.

    I could have dealt with all of that, Russell, till we got to the proposition that, had Ring been allowed to speak, he would have talked bunkum. So really the best thing to do would have been not to let him speak at all. I find that view ‘a disgrace’ in a commentator of your intelligence whom I normally admire.

  32. For God’s sake Brian, the only disgrace is that this charlatan was ever booked on Campbell Live in the first place.

    And if Mr. Ring does take your advice, I will happily counter with a complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority that allowing Ring air-time without allowing him to be directly challenged by qualified scientists failed to meet broadcast standards. But I have the sneaking suspicion he refused to front up on those terms.

  33. I thought it was a hilarious interview. Good on Campbell for giving that fear-mongerer what he deserved. That “Moon Man” or whatever he calls himself is needlessly frightening many people with his “science”. As Campbell said, if his earthquake prediction periods cover almost every day, of course he is going to get some right through sheer coincidence.

  34. Carl,

    Just to add to the link you offer, there also is another recent article on the same site on the same topic by another colleague of mine, this one featuring a few comments by Ken Ring:

  35. I totally agree, an interview does not consist of talking at someone in an agressive manor, not letting them reply, I was very disappointed I personally think John C has lost it.

  36. What Craig said. With knobs on.

  37. Have to agree – am normally a big fan of JC but tonight i had to switch channels mid-way through, i was so frustrated and angry at the “interview” (read: pummeling) I don’t subscribe to Ken Ring’s views but he has a right to at least finish a sentence.

  38. Sure, John could have done a better job (a jolt as I type!), but seriously, most scientists have predicted a 6+ aftershock and Ken appears to have covered the entire month of Feb with his predictions, and now March. I could so that for gods sake.

    And what about Boxing Day, Ken suggested the aftershocks would end in Nov. Good on John Campbell for calling him out. As the GNS scientist said, there is no evidence of moon or tides creating large earthquakes. None.

    It essential that people be aware and prepared, but let’s listen to the experts (they all said be prepared) not some loopy that is the darling of fringe media and talk back radio.

    In terms if interviewing skills, yes it could have been better. But I suspect you’re supporting Ring, surprised at you Brian Edwards.

  39. Thank you John Campbell for your interview tonight. I loved it!
    Im sure we will see the 20th March pass on by without incident. John seemed fairly emotional in this interview tonight… wouldn’t you be? He is currently living amongst a terrified city. Certainly not helped by Mr Rings ridiculous predictions. I can see TV 3 and JC becoming my regular watch.

  40. John certainly made an aggressive interview and did make some mistakes in my opinion, that will only feed Ken Ring’s following.

  41. Craig – I agree having him on the show was a disgrace but if John is so angered by this man frightening people why book him and advertise it? For ratings! And then why proceed to make Ring look intelligent by ranting at him rather than calmly disarming his theory? I was left asking myself ‘who is this for?’ John?

    The GNS scientist who followed was very careful in saying that Ring’s theories aren’t supported by current scientific thought. John wanted a smack down from the scientist but instead got the measured response he should have given himself.

    Like it or not – and I think Ring is a quack – John Campbell just beamed this man in more homes than had previously heard of him and then proceeded to make the man look rational. For what? His ego? Be angry that Ring’s a con but be angrier at Campbell Live for giving him a larger audience and then completely losing any sense of integrity.

  42. Oh how the memory forgets when you get old. I remember a much younger Edwards browbeating a Nazi proponent one King-Ansell and holding him up to ridicule. However I think such an odious person as King-Ansell deserved everything he got. Likewise so does Ring. Like Campbell I want to know what Rings qualifications are and what discipline his degree was earned in. His refusal to answer says everything.

  43. You really do protest too much, Brian. It was an ineffective interview, as Russell points out above, but hardly the end-of-journalism-as-we-know-it. Ring came across as a bit of a fruit cake and his kind of pseudo science deserves all the bollocking it received.

    BE: Don’t recall saying it was ‘the end of journalism as we know it’, Geoff. But bugger accuracy. Ring had no chance to come across as anything other than someone not given a chance to speak, let alone defend himself. You have a curious idea of the purpose of an interview if you think it is to give a ‘bollocking’ to people whose views you disagree with. It may well be to reveal the foolishness of what someone believes, but the best way to do that is to quietly cross-examine them, to let them air those views. The bullying interviewer merely draws sympathy to his victim, which is what will have happened in this case. You and Russell begin with the same prejudice as Campbell. You think what Ring has to say is unscientific nonsense. That, in your view, gives the interviewer the right to prevent him being heard. Ducking stool next maybe?

  44. Lost a viewer tonight Campbell you were DISGUSTING RUDE ARROGANT AND A TOTAL JERK the way you treated Ken Ring. I used to think Paul Holmes took the cake but ah no he only got a slice, you tonight took the whole cake you jerk.

  45. I was appalled by John’s un-impartiality tonight.
    I was really looking forward to this interview.

    All I can say is that I remember Campbell crowing about Paul Henry’s slip of the tongue and ‘How can we tolerate this clown on TV’

    Tonight John, You are the Clown and I hope you are suspended to let your head reduce in size.

    Henry showed himself to be the consummate professional in the September Earthquake. John – you don’t qualify.

    Apologise or Quit

  46. The question for me is not about the tone of the interview or whether it was good journalism; but why was Ring on there at ALL? 
    The continual coverage of scammers, charlatans, and ‘religious leaders’ opinions on any topic is why I no longer bother watching the 7pm “news” programs.
    Is it really so hard to find brilliant people to speak on a topic as widely researched as seismic activity?
    What next? Interviewing the idiots who think it was caused by lesbians? 
    What a joke.

  47. Also, the worst piece of journalism I have EVER seen.

    Appalled, a man out of his depth when faced in a city where emotion is real and not waiting for him to suck it out like the leach he is, so left to bullying tactics, that all the past few days waiting to butt in has driven him to, Ken Ring was the intended prey tonight…

    Oh how that miniscule man has stuttered and spat out his questions after society’s mores have enforced refrain from his usual butting in these past few days, ‘allowing’ real victims and heroes to speak no doubt biting his cheeks to keep quiet, and the subsequent stuttering – but tonight, the true egotistical nature of the bully emerged. Only he never triumphed. The country bowed its head in shame, never mind the theories of Ring no-one got to hear….. go home to Auckland, John. The South requires men of the right stuff and you, you defy words – journo ethics/manners/putrefying to have to see. My children even commented on you in horror

  48. John Campbell reminded me a lot of Bill O’Reilly (Fox “News”) in that interview. Not the sort of direction we want to be heading in New Zealand journalism

  49. I had not heard Mr Ring before. I was interested to hear what he had to say but still don’t know.
    I have been watching more of John Campbell this year and his topics and handling of the interviews have picked up the pace and quality. I can only imagine that John Campbell had a meltdown this time. Strike one!
    I gather that Mr Ring has predicted another serious quake around 21 March. (Beware the Ides of March.) So we hope he is wrong but we will see, and heaven help us if it comes true.

  50. I didn’t see the interview – but there is a general point to be made here about the limits of impartiality in the realm of journalism. Some positions just don’t deserve anything more than to just be shouted at. Perhaps that doesn’t always make great television, but that’s a different point entirely.

    What I love about Campbell are his enthusiasms. It’s human, relatable and a welcome relief in a world of news people aggressively pretending to be dispassionate and impartial current affairs sorting automatons.

    Of course, that means sometimes it might misfire – but give me a real person to whom things like this are important and affecting any day of the week.

    This is, let’s not forget, a man who has introduced surprise, delight and warmth into the business of letting people know what happened in the world, and so while of course I won’t defend or even comment upon a specific case of a controversial interview I didn’t happen to catch, I would like to wave a flag for the kind of man for whom a genuinely felt response to public deception and quackery wins over the supposed importance of the maintenance of the decorum of his trade.

  51. Totally agree Brian,this was a contemptible piece of journalism,John Campbell looked like an arrogant bigot.Disgusting,biased and uninformative.Such a sham,this was not an interview.GNS guy on the other hand was treated with respect and admiration,by Campbell.Fortunately this has backfired on John Campbell,Ken Ring is more popular than ever.

  52. You’re a disgrace, Brian. A has-been taking pot shots in an attempt to gain some long-lost relevance. I find your unerringly pompous tone is more offensive than Campbell’s legitimate challenging of Ring’s dangerous and shameful pseudo-science.

    I think you’ll find your authority on matters broadcasting these days is not what it used to be. I rolled my eyes a few weeks ago hearing you on NatRad’s The Panel affecting to have never heard of the Wellington Sevens. God knows whether it was some hamfisted attempt to mark your intellectual distance from actual goings on in this country, or whether you were genuinely ignorant of the tournament. But either way you showed your colours as a ludicrously aloof and irrelevant commentator on modern NZ life.

    Ratchet down the pomposity a good couple of notches, lift your own game and people might pay more attention to what you have to say, without your having to resort to
    broadsides at others.

  53. I can only imagine everyone in Canterbury is under enormous pressure. Am trying to find this interview online from 10,000 miles away in Florida. I take exception Brian to the slight against Jerry Springer. I’d have used O’Reilly as a comparison, not Jerry, whose modus operandi is shock tactics, his raison d’etre sensationalism, his genre of journalism pure entertainment albeit at the expense of his guests. Ooops, maybe I AM describing Bill and John…

  54. Because Campbell didn’t let Mr Ring speak, depriving me of an opportunity to asses whether Ring’s a nut job or not, I promptly joined Ring’s facebook page ‘predict weather’ to learn more about what he’s been saying. Where upon I noticed Ring has over 2000 followers and a flood of messages saying what a twat JC was tonight…. Now I will get to stay up to date with his predictions in my facebook newsfeed, investigate his in depth website and I can decide for myself if Ring is Nut Job, or Genius Savant. Meanwhile, Campbell’s lost face, credibility & led me to Ring. interesting what a bad interview can do.

  55. It looked like the only reason Mr Ring was asked to be on the show was so he could be the target of ridicule.
    Charlatan or not, Mr Ring still deserves to be treated in a courteous manner with the right of reply, especially as he was an invited guest.

    Those who did not know of Mr Ring prior to this interview would no doubt be little better off as to Mr Ring’s beliefs and reasoning – that in itself means this interview was a failure. And this is before the appalling manners displayed by John Campbell are even taken into account.

  56. John Campbell embarrassed himself. Disgraceful television. John didn’t actually ask a question, he attacked from the outset.

    Ken and the seismologists are actually saying the same thing ( continual aftershocks ), what Ken is identifying is the correlation between gravitational changes / forces on specific areas of the planet ( NZ ) and severe ground movement due to the moon and planetary alignment. His predictions aren’t ever going to be exact but we should not ignore his research and the patterns that he observes.

    It takes wide thinking, which disappointedly John Campbell isn’t capable of.

  57. Not up to the standard I have come to expect from John.

    I think John was reacting to the stress of being in Christchurch. He should have just let the guy say his piece, present his evidence and move on.

    Crackpots like this never stand up to scientific scrutiny.

  58. I agree…very shocking of Mr John Campbell! Not very professional at all. Not all needs scientific theories.

  59. A quote from Ken Ring, ‘I don’t claim to be able to forecast the weather. That is your claim on what I do, again your interpretation. I claim to have an opinion on what might happen, that is all… I sell opinions.’

    I would have liked to have been able to form my own opinion from what ken Ring had to say but unfortunately a rude and petulant little man denied us all that opportunity.

  60. Firstly this interview was for Mr Ring, i was watching John Campbell i could not believe what was going on now as Mr Ring has predicted another serious quake Well in just went at him no way did Mr Ring have a chance to be heard how rude this was i was so embrased, not only that John Campbell changed to interview with the Scientist, spoke to him so nicely,The Scientist had not much to say anyway he looked confused I was so disgusted with the interview
    The at the end of the day John Campbell owes an apology to the Public

  61. Forget heaven, Ianmac – don’t know if you’ve noticd, but aftershocks are happening. What the people of Christchurch (including Brian and Judy’s daughter and mokopuna) really need is doctors, nurses, engineers, architects — people who respect science and evidence, which Ken Ring does not.

    You know, Brian, I’m pretty damn angry too. You’re a smart man, I have enormous respect for even when I think you’re being an effing fool. But anyone who think’s it’s “open minded” and “balanced” to give pseudo-science and snake oil artists clear air is not only a fool but a dangerous one. I don’t think anyone can claim that interview was John Campbell’s Frost/Nixon, but I was nice to see a journalist (as one Facebook numpty put it) “totally biased towards science” for once.

  62. Excellent interview – Rings brand of pseudo science and charlatanism has no place here. Makes a nice change from the usual patsy interview style people of his ilk normally receive by the media.

  63. Thank you Brain for expressing my very thoughts so articulately. I was appalled by JC tonight. I have not formed an opinion on KR’s theories, nor am I closer to it after JC cut him short, bullied him, and treated his invited guest with utter scorn. He owes KR and viewers and apology.

  64. Brian, you’re on the money on this one. This is the sort of rubbish that just doesn’t pass muster as journalism. Don’t know who this Ring fellow is – can’t say I like the sound of any of his theories – but that’s no excuse for this type of nonsense from JC. You’ve done a public service making an example of him in this case.

  65. I watched Campbell Live last night AGAIN was horrified at Campbell’s shocking interview with KR. I dont know anything about KR theories, and know even less after Campbells appalling attack on him. Every time Campbell has someone out of the mainsteam on his show he is just a bully. (Dan Tolman, Dr Martini) Shame on you John. 100 years ago research was done, isnt it time we looked into it again. There is SO much more in this universe that scientists dont understand. And it seems to me that if more people become prepared with their survival kits etc then surely thats a good thing?
    Apologise John! We can make up our own minds.

  66. Have not heard much of this Ken Ring but was interested to find out what he was about. From what I gather there is a lot of scepticism and little proof of his theories and probably needed to be called out on a few of them for the sake of those emotionally affected by his ‘predictions’. However, Campbell’s attempt to call him out was just tasteless and lacked any class what so ever. The general public of this country like to treat people with respect and take offense to the childish carry on and disrespect that Campbell displayed last night. Campbell, well done for calling him out as the public needed to hear answers to the questions you asked him… but you failed miserably in doing so and made yourself to look like a real fruit cake.

  67. “I have considerably more respect for him as the reasonable exponent of an admittedly controversial point of view ”

    The ability for someone to calmly defend ludicrous, harmful, and dangerous beliefs should never be a reason for respect.

  68. It is the first time in my life I have complained to the Broadcasting authority .. I was very angry .. I tuned in to hear Mr Ring speak to his theories .. I expected debate with the other geologist .. not a kangaroo court and watching John Campbell be so incredibly RUDE !

  69. I have not yet formed an opinion on Ken Ring’s theories – very difficult to do so on the basis of that very poor piece of journalism.

    Unfortunately for John Campbell, he came off looking much worse than Ken Ring. It was pretty funny though – may have been better aired on the Comedy Channel.

  70. Isn’t it ironic. The discreditor (JC) is now the discredited, whilst his target exits stage right dignity intact.

  71. ‘Hey John – get your head out of Uranus!’

  72. Wow…the hatred for the Moon Man. Science is about throwing theories around until some stick…I’m NOT comparing the two, but Galileo was a figure of ridicule and probably suffered many of the same taunts.

    One thing I learnt after years of working with journalists – Journalists are basically scientifically illiterate. You’re lucky if most of them can add up their fingers and toes (there are notable exceptions – Kim Hill and Simon Morse amongst them).

    Expecting some sort of intelligent conversation on science from most journos is like asking a toddler to drive a car. So there.

  73. John Campbell shamed himself and his profession, whilst harassing Ken Ring over his professional status. Duh?! After posting a response and checking the mood of the people, it was apparent that even those unsure about Ken Ring’s theories were galvanized to comment on John Campbell’s behaviour. We know he has a tendency to get carried away, but this is an occasion where he totally crossed boundaries. He needs to apologise on air and his bosses need to consider whether Campbell is suffering from shell-shock and should be rested, back home in Auckland.

  74. The only people who could support John Campbell must be scientists working for NIWA. He should be fired as was Paul Henry from TV One. The man is a rude, boorish bully – a charlatan in his own right. Plate techtonics is a theory just as is an expanding earth. The moon does have tidal effects on matter on earth – apart from the sea, a rise in land surface is measureable by modern instruments. Scientists are vulnerable for having discounted phenomena that they deliberately choose to ignore. That is just as reprehensible as anyone being a complete charlatan, which Ken Ring is not. There is much in this world science has yet to discover through the veil of it’s self imposed ignorance.

  75. John asked questions, demanding evidence, Ring failed and refused to answer. If you keep asking the same question and get fobbed off and given the run around, you get angry. If this was a suspect being interviewed by a police officer at cordon, Mr Ring would be in custody now. Evasive answers to simple questions = charlatan!

    I like that John doesn’t let wackos prattle their pseudo-science as truth and refuses to let them take a straight question (e.g. tell us what your qualifications are) and turn it into a marketing spiel.

    Ring spouts FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) as facts and his kind is not required. John wants answers and demands them, his kind is needed!

  76. Two further points:
    I’m not sure that those complaining that Ken Ring scares people are entirely right, as the Ken Ring believers I have met are certainly not scared by him, and instead find his predictions somehow reassuring.

    We are dealing with contrasting scientific hypotheses here so a better way of dealing with them would be a facilitated debate (chaired by someone knowledgeable) where both got a chance to explain their hypotheses and methods, and counter each other’s data. That would be more enlightening for the viewers.

  77. 77

    @The Real Tony – please don’t use the word ‘science’ and the Moon Man in the same sentence. Science is certainly not about ‘throwing theories around until some stick’ it is about careful observation of data, proposing theories that are based on a logical connections between cause and effect and constantly re-examining these based on more data or new ideas.

    The Moon Man is a total fraud and on par with the charlatans from Sensing Murder.

  78. To the people saying ‘oh but he scares people’ – that’s BS and you know it. What scares people is the constant earthquakes, the loss of life (family and friends!), destruction of their beautiful city, and lack of any kind of warning about what’s going on!! Of COURSE they’re scared; one guy warning about something that might be going on isn’t going to make them any more scared than they already are.

    This remains one of the worst pieces of journalism I’ve seen and a case in point on why I left the field. I wouldn’t dream of treating anybody like that while I was interviewing them. What a joke.

  79. The Guardian has a nice little piece on an Italian scientific technician who thinks he can predict earthquakes using Radon Detectors…this guy was actually banned from speaking out by the Italian Government…

  80. The only people who could support John Campbell must be scientists working for NIWA.

    Bryan-with-a-Y: You might want to save the actionable defamation for your own corner of the internet where you’re the only person liable for the consequences.

  81. Sorry for offending you Ieuan,
    I guess I was a bit slack in my description of the scientific process…but I think you may know what I was getting at…

    There’s one thing we may be able to agree on and that’s that you can’t prove what is right without finding out what is wrong. It takes a brave person to follow the wrong path, but no-one will know its wrong until he/she comes back.

    Columbus could’ve fallen off the side of the earth

  82. I agree with Brian’s view but would like to add that in my opinion it wasn’t an interview at all – Ken Ring never actaully got a chance to explain his view in anyway at all – C\mpbell asked a question and before an answer could be provided he simply shouted Ken down withanother tirade – why was he invited on the show. I have gone right off Campbell

  83. I thought the interview was a disgrace. What next perhaps john could invite the pope on the show and attack his and half the worlds belief in god and their lack of scientific evidence. I normally enjoy his show but i won’t be watching again.

  84. I don’t know much about Mr Ring, and from the sounds of it… I probably don’t really want to.

    Last night I was embarrassed beyond belief… That “interview” or should I say “attack” on Mr Ring was disgusting. Content of the interview aside, the most offensive part for me was right at the beginning when Mr Ring was trying to make a statement about his sympathies extending to the people of Christchurch – he never got a chance to finish his sentence!

    Mr Campbell – I have always felt a certain amount of disdain for your annoying presence on my TV and can’t say that I care to have any Current Events TV on my telly at 7pm.

  85. @Ieuan Attewell: Yeah, it could be, that Campbell was still reeling from having been assailed by the bilious dreck, “Sensing Murder”. That would go some way to explain his treatment of The Moon Man. Sort of like a self-concocted antidote to regain his balance by exorcising the extreme distaste of this vile programme from his system. Or, maybe, he sees this guy as a “fear merchant”. One tier below the scum who’ve slithered out, under a rock, from the primordial ooze: being the looters and impersonators, out to reap advantage from this calamity.

    We await the arrival of March 20th with some interest.

  86. John Campbell behaved like a biased, bullying, egotistical jounalist gone wrong during last night’s Ken Ring interview. Extremely unfair, unhelpful and shameful interview by a jounalist I am normally interested in watching. Keep that up John and I’m turning you off!! By comparison, if you listen closely, Ken Ring is quite humble and cautious with his opinions and views.

  87. @ Russell Brown: “It wasn’t particularly effective television, because it wasn’t the kind of interview that can satisfactorily be conducted over a link”.

    Reminded me of Frank Zappa’s comments on rock journalism: “Written by people who can’t write, for people who can’t read, about people who can’t play”.

    The NZ Herald, did a similar both-up job a few weeks ago when theological reactionary Garth George had a go at religious loose-cannon Brian Tamaki over technical theological issues rooted in the Christological creeds of the 4th and 5th century.

    The Herald then followed up with an irrelevant editorial about the ethics of ‘tolerance’, when the issue was about precision.

    Lay people are quite capable of making informed decisions on specialist matters, but the information and options have to be in the right format. This wasn’t it.

    I have little doubt Ring is sadly misinformed, or worse. Scientists can get it wrong, and are subject to the same human pressures to conform to the consensus. However, somneone who places themselves outside the system and disciplines of academic peer review deserves little time. Campbell, due to his inability to calmly think through the issues, ended up making Ring look victimised.

  88. anyone would think ken ring had made this up. there are many scientists saying the same thing and many around the world warned us before the 22nd february. if you dont want to listen dont. but dont stop other people from listening it just makes you look like a frightened squirrel

  89. John Campbell’s “interview” with Ken Ring will have added to academia’s storehouse of excellent examples of particularly appalling interviewing. NZ’s broadcasting and journalism schools (which one did you qualify from John?) will get a lot of mileage from this “interview”.

    Campbell was intent on exhausting every opportunity to slip in a question and then promptly answer it himself while at the same time demanding Ken Ring answer it too but then not giving him the chance to do so. Campbell would have been better off interviewing himself.

    Ken Ring’s calmness and his resistance to being antagonised by a bullying interviewer demonstrated qualities that Campbell lacks.

    Of course Ring won’t be right all the time just like scientists aren’t right all the time (eg: globally warming) but at least he should have been given the chance to offer his opinions and the reasoning behind those opinions. Yet all we got was a tirade of bigoted, opinionated, and closed minded opinions from a much stressed interviewer who had probably copped a loose brick falling on his head from one of the after-shocks which severely impacted on his ability to pause for breath once his mouth got into motion.

    Mr Campbell abused the meaning of the word “interview”. The definition includes “dialogue” which implies “listening”; a couple of skills which were very absent from Campbell’s effort last night. On the other hand, Ken Ring’s ability to avoid being sucked down to JC’s bottom feeding level was quite admirable. He came out the winner as he calmly allowed Campbell to shame himself with his panting opinionated hissy fits.

    When Campbell hurriedly switched to interviewing the geophysicist he suddenly calmed down as if there was no need to ask any searching questions but merely seek confirmation that his (Campbell’s) opinions were correct.

    On the covers of the books Ken Ring has written one can see that he is a university graduate and has the academic wherewithal and intelligence to formulate hypotheses, test those hypotheses and formulate theories from which he has developed a system of forecasting that works a large percentage of the time and way beyond the level of chance. Interestingly, Metservice criticised Ken Ring for being right only 80 percent of the time!! Not a bad endorsement for Ring’s theories. What percentage of success do all the climatologists and forecasters on Metservice’s staff claim for themselves?

    Had Mr Campbell had a regular weather forecaster in the chair last night he might have had greater justification for demanding why they get it so wrong so regularly and only a few days ahead of their forecasts in spite of “the science” and qualifications that abound within the weather forecasting fraternity.

    John Campbell has done some good interviews in the past and has demonstrated what has appeared to be genuine compassion and sensitivity but last night he whipped the rug from under his own feet and he will now have a long road back to re-building his credibility. May be he will never fully regain the respect a presenter in his position ought to have. TV3 had some superb coverage of the earthquake but in a few short minutes Campbell succeeded in letting the TV3 team down very badly.


  91. We are dealing with contrasting scientific hypotheses here so a better way of dealing with them would be a facilitated debate (chaired by someone knowledgeable) where both got a chance to explain their hypotheses and methods, and counter each other’s data. That would be more enlightening for the viewers.

    But Ring’s claims — which are not science — have been quite thoroughly dealt with already.

    This is where I struggle with Brian’s desire for Campbell to be “open minded” and not “biased”. Is he suggesting that all existing knowledge be put aside in the hope of reaching a useful conclusion in a six-minute TV interview?

    BE: These are completely false alternatives. The interviewer can both be unbiased – his job descripton, not to mention the Broadcasting Act, requires it – and challenge the interviewee with the available evidence.

  92. By comparison, if you listen closely, Ken Ring is quite humble and cautious with his opinions and views.

    He’s cautious when he’s challenge. Not so much when he’s taking payment.

  93. Pommy39 wrote: Ken and the seismologists are actually saying the same thing

    That’s incorrect. Ken claims to “predict” particular events at particular times. Seismologists don’t. They say what has been typically experienced in the past their recording previous events is that typically there will be an aftershock of one magnitude less than the main event within x months of the main event. (I don’t know the value of x — I’m not a geologist.) They don’t give these larger aftershocks a particular dates.

    but we should not ignore his [Ken Ring’s] research and the patterns that he observes

    We can ignore his “predictions” because even a simple investigation of his model shows it has no predictive ability. Given that, not only can his “predictions” be ignored, they should be ignored.

  94. ^ Russell – it gets dangerously close to the “teach the controversy” justification for teaching intelligent design.

    I didn’t think the interview was particularly well conducted – mainly because John Campbell looked out of control and made Ring seem more credible. The only justification for being that aggressive seemed to be that he was “scaring people”. I think most Cantabs would take Mr Ring’s theories with a large helping of salt.

  95. In case of moderation issues, I’ll quarantine these two links in their own comment:

    David Winter on sciblogs notes that Ring has named more than half the days of the year as high-risk for earthquakes. As he says, we shouldn’t be terribly surprised that Ring lucked one on the 22nd:

    And Silly Beliefs takes a more detailed look at Ring’s scattershot predictions, and the serial failures his fans choose to forget:

  96. i would hope you people who are slamming ken ring have taken the time to read what he has to say..
    some of the comments such as “he is building a business on scaring people” are laughable..
    he is a humble man who has a theory about the relationship between earthquakes and the planets which he quietly puts forward for our interest..
    this is only a problem for fearful people who have no original thought themselves and who wish to remain in their ‘box’ …


    it made me think of when brown was that apologist for everything the clark labour govt. ever did..

    ‘hard news’…indeed..!



  98. I was disgusted in john campbell’s interview. What next perhaps john could interview the pope and harrass him about his and half the worlds belief in god and lack of scientific evidence. As the last investigation on RIngs theories were 100 years ago and in that time science has advanced hugely i think it is premature to discount it.

  99. This, from a poster on TV3’s website (over 600 posts, so far.)

    Ashleigh in Christchurch
    01 Mar 2011 1:14a.m.

    I think John Campbell is just tired like the rest of us down here. Perhaps more opporunity to speak should have been given to Ken Ring but are any of you aware that this man has co-authored a book called “Pawmistry” a guide to palmistry for your cat? I am SERIOUS! This is not a wind up, the book actually exists on Amazon. Google it. I wish John knew of this and had a chance to pop it into his interview with KR, I’d also like to know if he is a scientologist too?

  100. “We are dealing with contrasting scientific hypotheses here so a better way of dealing with them would be a facilitated debate (chaired by someone knowledgeable) where both got a chance to explain their hypotheses and methods, and counter each other’s data. That would be more enlightening for the viewers.”

    No, Hilary, we are not. We are dealing with science on one hand and a scientifically illiterate fraud on the other hand.

  101. Not your best work John Campbell. And I don’t need a degree to deduce that (although I have one if that’s what’s needed these days to have an opinion). The 3 News site wouldn’t publish my opinion and I’m not sure why. The interview has also been removed from You Tube due to copyright infringement, yet thousands of 3 News, Campbell Live interviews came up when I searched? Odd.
    Whether or not Ken Ring’s predictions are just a lot of ‘hot air’ – and they may well be, is irrelevant. John Campbell was in unusually bad form last night. Surely during all those years of studying journalism you were taught how to be objective and impartial, scientific even? Isn’t that the same thing you were slamming Ken Ring for? Wouldn’t a mere raising of one’s eyebrows at the end of the interview drive an interviewers opinion home more than the public slaughtering given to Ken Ring? That would hold so much more weight to me than what we were subjected to on Campbell Live last night.
    I looked in to Ken Ring a few days ago and I’m definitely dubious, but I think he deserves to have his say. He also suggested in an article that himself and GNS would do well to share notes on this. What would be wrong with that? GNS disagrees with Ken Ring’s theories. Ken Ring loosely predicted a big one for Christchurch sometime between Feb 15-25th and his prediction came true, that in itself doesn’t prove much. It would take a string of predictions coming true to sway me, but it has made me sit up and pay attention, watch him for a while. Curiosity has the better of me. I’d be ignorant not to at least open up to a differing view. John Campbell then showed that GNS predicted a big one coming for Christchurch too. I’m struggling with this information? Why wasn’t Christchurch at least warned, hey maybe even evacuated if GNS supposedly held this information? How are Ken Ring’s predictions (be they right or wrong) so different than that of GNS? The only thing that differs here is that Ken Ring said it out loud GNS just posted the stats on it. Are either ways of predicting earthquakes an exact science? If GNS is that much better, then shouldn’t they be that much more accountable? Is weather prediction an exact science? Is earthquake prediction an exact science? Understandably not, but just as with John Campbell’s interview, people should be allowed to make up their own minds based on the information provided. GNS doesn’t really come out of this one looking much better than Ken Ring. John Campbell needs to own this. Apologise and give Ken Ring the freedom to share an alternative point of view. What’s the worst that could happen? Scenario One: Ken Ring is wrong. Outcome; people were over prepared, got out of harm’s way for a while, not really a big deal. Scenario Two: Ken Ring is right, lives were saved… Not a bad thing surely?

  102. An opportunity was lost by John Campbell.The emotive background did nothing to enhance either mans point of view.It should have been a studio item with all 3 together.John Campbells bantering tended to miss the point .Ring is entitled to his opinion .A better approach would have been to allow Ring to make his prediction and invite him to front on the show to be accepted or ridiculed.In stead of lettng Ken Ring o be “hoist with his own petard” John Campbell was “hoisted with his own petard”

  103. ‘The Real Tony’ wrote: “but Galileo was a figure of ridicule and probably suffered many of the same taunts”

    Galileo is invariably hoisted as an example by those wishing to have a lone exception given a voice. It’s almost invariably a false comparison.

    Galileo was certainly “ridiculed” (more than that, really) by the Church, but his ideas were not ridiculed by his peers as it often implied — he was in fact a member of a network of scientists who wrote to one-another.

    I would invite you to learn a little science history – it’s interesting stuff. The notion–the idea–of the earth going around the sun in fact long predates Galileo’s work–it dates back to the ancient Greeks at least–but the trick is proving it. (In any event this subject is also preceded by Copernicus and Kepler’s earlier work.)

    By contrast, Ken Rings’ claims have been looked at and they don’t hold water.

  104. Two more articles on sciblogs have just been posted:

    The first makes reference to the article above by Brian Edwards.

  105. On the covers of the books Ken Ring has written one can see that he is a university graduate and has the academic wherewithal and intelligence to formulate hypotheses

    I don’t mean to be rude, but perhaps the covers of Ring’s own books aren’t the best place to assess his supposed qualifications.

    As Silly Beliefs notes, he has variously claimed to have studied “physics, chemistry and zoology” or “psychology and anthropology”, to have “9 years of university science training” or “three years of university science units” or to have “spent 4 years fulltime and a final year part time at university.”

    I get that people want there to be a nice, easy answer to a terrible thing, but the magical thinking here is really something to behold.

  106. That interview was nasty. Mr Ring was very rudely introduced in the prior clip as “a guy”. Then Campbell used him for a Guy.

  107. At a time when audiences are sensitive and so reliant on the media for information, it is a shame to see such a bias closed minded interview. Viewers should be smart enough to make up their own minds, and I do not believe that Ring’s intention was to create fear.

    A prime example of this was the family that were well prepared for the earthquake because of Rings prediction! Better to be safe than sorry…

  108. You and Russell begin with the same prejudice as Campbell. You think what Ring has to say is unscientific nonsense. That, in your view, gives the interviewer the right to prevent him being heard.

    If bothering to know what we’re talking about is “prejudice”, then I’m guilty as sin.

    Did you really think a brief TV interview would somehow bring out some new enlightenment that hasn’t emerged in the screeds of analysis already devoted to Ring’s bogus theories? Or did you just want it to be true?

    How would Fair Go have handled a man selling vulnerable people services for which there is demonstrably no scientific basis? Would it have been “open-minded”?

    Anyway, David Winter has now published his full analysis of Ring’s predictions. Perhaps, in the spirit of open-mindedness, you could read it:

    BE: The prejudice lies in the belief that those whose views you abhor should not be heard.

    “Did you really think a brief TV interview would somehow bring out some new enlightenment that hasn’t emerged in the screeds of analysis already devoted to Ring’s bogus theories?” Now, for the second time, you’ve resorted to the less than honest dialectical technique of taking your opponent’s argument to a ridiculous extreme, then shooting that extreme position down. Of course, nowhere did I make any claim about expecting ‘some new enlightenment’.

    Finally, this wasn’t Fair Go. If it had been, he would have received a lengthy email detailing the nature of the complaint against him, asked to respond initially in writing, then interviewed in a civilised manner. He would have understood that he was, in a sense, on trial. Clearly none of this happened here.

    You seem to be clutching at straws now, Russell. And you’re sounding increasingly like someone with a closed mind on the central issue – that Campbell shouted his interviewee down and, for much of the exchange, prevented him from answering. I’m at a loss to know how you can defend this.

  109. Just as there are sea tides so there are also land tides. (One figure I read was 300mm at Moscow.) The land tides I remember being explored during the 1955 + International Geophysical Year(s). I have no idea if this has an effect on tectonic plates or on earthquake fault lines. But I do know that alignment of certain planets and the moon and the Sun does increase the gravitational pull on Earth. This is why I was interested in what Ring had to say. (The Scientist on JC said that he knew of no scientist who agreed with Ring. He did not say that they disagreed. ???)

  110. To those of you complaining that you didn’t get to hear what Ken Ring had to say why not do some googling. His views are available for anyone to read on his website… and they don’t get much more sophisticated than the rambling evasive tripe he spouted on Campbell Live last night.

  111. Campbell Live should have ignored the emails from viewers. It is in bad taste to invite this charlatan to air his views. Real scientists are trying to accurately predict earthquakes and real techonologists are trying to alleviate their effects. Those are the people to whom Campbell should be speaking, not some creep who is exploit the situation to sell his bogus notions.

  112. ‘hard news’…indeed..!

    Dude. I have some magic crystals to sell you. Guaranteed to work.

  113. My post disappeared. In short it said:
    There are marine tides and land tides.(Google it.)
    When certain planets are aligned the gravitational effect is greater.
    This heightened effect may or may not affect tectonic plates or fault lines. I don’t know.
    The JC scientist said that he he knew no scientist who agreed. He did not say they disagreed.
    Regardless of Mr Ring it is an interesting idea.

  114. Apologies – our site’s been up and down all morning. Overloaded, we’re told, and affecting other sites as well. So if your comments haven’t appeared yet, or take some time getting up on the site, bear with us, please. A couple of master-minds are working on it.

  115. I expect a formal and public apology from John Campbell to Mr Ring. I was furious after watching JC act like a terrified out of control maniac. I think John Campbell has been traumatised by what he has seen and needs to be taken off the air in the interm. His conduct is way way below what is acceptable. JC should humble himself about the fragile nature of humanity instead of frantically clinging to his postulations – Many Many cultures in the world use the moon, tides and the stars to predict shifts in the earth – The Tibetans, The Aborigines and the Native Americans. We could learn a thing or two if JC would have just been quiet.

    I think TV3 should take JC out of the quake zone before he develops Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

  116. Ianmac, yes science is interesting, it was an interesting idea. First explored and discounted in the 1890’s, later in the 1970’s – try searching for “earthquake lunar”. There turns out to be a very weak link as David Winter’s sciblogs post illustrates.

  117. People also seem to be forgetting about the several people in Chch who actually had their lives saved because of MR Ring – they listened to his predictions and prepared for the second earthquake – taking their children out of school, filling up the car with food & supplies and they made it through alive. They expected it and weren’t shocked by it. People are alive today and as seen on the news thank Mr Ring from the bottom of their hearts. All this carry on about if he is a charlatan or not is just ignorance. He saved some people’s lives. AND THIS IS A VERY VERY GOOD THING. End of Story.

  118. Damn straight Brian. I’m with you on this one.

  119. Brian Edwards, thank you so much for putting into words what I could not. I managed to watch the ‘interview’ with Ken Ring for all if a couple of minutes last night before having to turn it off. What disgraceful journalism!

  120. March 20th.

    Let’s just see how that day pans out. A Day of Reckoning for the Tormentor and Tormented.

  121. This isn’t about whether Ken Ring is a genius or a charlatan. That is immaterial to the discussion. It’s about an interview and the way it was conducted.

    The interview was interruptive to the point of being incomprehensible. Heat, rather than light, was shed. And that’s what happens when you shout down your interviewee.

    A bad idea looks worse in the light – and that’s part of the interviewer’s trade, subjecting bad ideas to the light. Challenge more quietly and effectively and your interviewee will expose his own flaws and weaknesses. It is not necessary to be a bully in order to show that the emperor has no clothes.

    Finally it was loud and interruptive to the point of being rude. No interviewee, whoever he or she is, should be subjected to that kind of behaviour. This surprised me from John Campbell who, despite his often colourful language, is a model of old-fashioned courtesy.

    I suspect that when he played this interview back he clutched his head and moaned softly. And uttered some of that colourful language.

  122. 122


    When was the last time you did a live interview outdoors with someone on the other end of a link? A little context might be in order while you’re whacking John Campbell over the head with a copy of Emily Post.

    I also think there might be one or two people who consider the proprietor of this blog a very rude, egotistic little man whose one true love is the sound of his own voice; who was, and remains, a disgrace to his profession. I’d beg to differ.

    JC: These days I don’t regularly fix computers, decorate wedding cakes or dance in the corps de ballet either. However, I am quite capable of recognising a good job from a poor one in each case . John Campbell regularly conducts down-the-line interviews, often from the field. He usually does it very well.

    This is a media site and part of its raison d’etre is to discuss and promote broadcasting standards. In this case I believe that Standards 4 and 6 of the Free-to-Air Code of Broadcasting Practice were breached.

    re your second paragraph: Craig, you usually manage to comment without becoming offensive. In this case your own standards have been breached.

  123. I concur. I was disgusted. How dare John Cambell deny me the right to hear what Ken Ring had to say because he thought it may cause me fear!!!! What an egotistical cheese head! It offended me to the core.
    I have never in my life been so angry at a news peice. That info could have saved more lives and how dare John deny me of the right to draw my own conclusions. Who the hell does he think he is. That wasnt an interview that was an execution. Never watching that guy again.

  124. Oh well, for my sins, I’ve watched the interview again.

    It begins with Ring dodging a direct question from Campbell about one of his published predictions. He instead blathers something about how “we’re all feeling for the people of Christchurch”.

    As the interview proceeds, Campbell confronts Ring with more of his own, published statements, and Ring continues to either dodge the question, or make misleading statements about his own previous claims. He also repeatedly interrupts Campbell’s questions in an attempt to bridge to something he’s comfortable with.

    Perhaps confronting Ring with his own words wasn’t the most effective thing to do, especially when you can’t physically put them in front of him and invite him to deny them. But had Campbell taken the same approach to a politician or businessman, I suspect the response would have been quite different.

    Unfortunately, it appears about half the population has trouble distinguishing Ken Ring from Santa Claus. Bah.

    • My god, Russell, I saw a completely different interview. As did more than 80% of commenters on this site. I clearly need psychiatric help or new glasses. This is obviously lunacy at work. Perhaps we should leave it at that.

  125. 125

    Speaking of predictions – this from Stuff on Feb7

    A kaumatua’s Waitangi Day prophecy of doom and destruction for Wellington should be taken with a pinch of salt – though a massive earthquake in the capital is inevitable, experts say.

    Anglican minister Gray Theodore, who was born Te Kerei Tiatua, stunned the 1000-strong crowd gathered at the Treaty grounds when he revealed his vision at yesterday’s dawn ceremony.

    “A terrible earthquake is going to hit Wellington. I have seen body bags in the streets of Wellington. I have seen houses on the hills of Wellington – seen them disappear. I have seen the roof of the Beehive lying in the debris of the streets of Wellington.”

    God had shown him the harbour waters receding, then rushing back in a tsunami that would affect an area from the South Island to as far north as Whanganui. He did not know what year the catastrophe would strike – but it would be in the month of June.

  126. My thoughts almost exactly! I had just sent the following to TV3 before I saw your response:
    John Campbell needs to go! Without Carol’s class and cool head as a foil- he just looks like a creepy little bully.
    His leading questions, his interruptions, his sentimentality- the voyeuristic excitement in his voice. It is repulsive and entirely inappropriate for serious news journalism. But after the recent Christchurch earthquake coverage- I just can’t stand it. I’m turning him off and I’m not alone. Hovering around youngsters who have just lost their mother; flying in from Auckland to tell victims what they ‘must be feeling’ instead of letting them tell him- and us. Ken Ring hit it on the button last night when he he complained that he thought he had been invited on to explain his theory- not to have John explain it to him.

  127. For all those questioning John’s own qualifications, I remember hearing he got a GCSE in media studies. Also did A-level Home Economics, I recall. Don’t quote me on that, though.

  128. 128

    A kaumatua’s Waitangi Day prophecy of doom and destruction for Wellington should be taken with a pinch of salt – though a massive earthquake in the capital is inevitable, experts say.

    Anglican minister Gray Theodore, who was born Te Kerei Tiatua, stunned the 1000-strong crowd gathered at the Treaty grounds when he revealed his vision at yesterday’s dawn ceremony.

    This from Stuff – Feb 7…
    “A terrible earthquake is going to hit Wellington. I have seen body bags in the streets of Wellington. I have seen houses on the hills of Wellington – seen them disappear. I have seen the roof of the Beehive lying in the debris of the streets of Wellington.”

    God had shown him the harbour waters receding, then rushing back in a tsunami that would affect an area from the South Island to as far north as Whanganui… etc etc

  129. Give the man a break. We are all a bit frazzled and on edge at the moment. I agree with the sentiment that such “snake oil” should not go unchallenged in the most robust way possible.

    BE: I seem to recall a similarly ill informed, bullying interview that you did with Chief Buthelezi on national radio about a decade ago. You did not have the excuse of being part of a traumatized community.

  130. Actually I thought Lunar Ring had ample opportunity to put his case, failed miserably, resorted to waffly evasive dribble, and was rightfully cut off – sparing the time and sensibilities of the public in a most welcome manner. If only all our interviewers had the cajones to do this to every single politician, every time, I might start watching TV again.

    On the subject of Ring’s accuracy, surely both his own predictions and all weather/seismic events are on record; and thus, even more surely, any sound statistical correlation between the two would have long ago been made loudly and very profitably public.

    Lesson: beware snake-oil hawkers with a smile and a catchy name: I “see” the imminent arrival of Sheena Keyring.

  131. I’ve got Johns back on this one,John clearly had an agenda with this interview and that was to allay the fears of a city with enough to worry about.

    I’m fed up with people saying march 20th is going to be bad when half these people barely understand the moons effect on sea tides let alone Ken Rings crack pot OPINION on earthquakes. Ken preys on the innocent and uneducated.

    I have no doubt Ken truly believes the crap coming out his mouth but if you can lie to yourself you can lie to pretty much anyone.

  132. The combination of phenomena is beyond the grasp of the human intellect. But the impulse to seek causes is innate in the soul of man. And the human intellect, with no inkling of the immense variety and complexity of circumstances conditioning a phenomenon, any one of which may be separately conceived of as the cause of it, snatches at the first and most easily understood approximation, and says here is the cause.

    Count Leo Tolstoy, “War and Peace”

  133. It was an appalling interview.

    The fact that some people think Campbell’s poor behaviour is justified because he was interviewing a crackpot is even more sad.

  134. Well said Brian. To those who support John Campbell’s self serving tirade against Ken Ring, on the basis that his theories lack scientific credibility, you are completely missing the points that are being seized on by thousands of New Zealanders in the wake of this outrageous peice of ‘journalism’.

    Ken Ring may promote theories and even predictions that are outside the realms of conventional scientific wisdom, but that is part of the appeal to the ordinary New Zealander. Whether you like it or not, there is something intuitively palatable in the concept that the moons proximity to earth can influence things such as earthquakes. I have no idea whether Ken is right or wrong, but he seems as likely to be correct as the scientists we have seen involved in this process since September the 4th.

    The real issue here is that the mere prospect of an alternative viewpoint seemed to have John Campbell and some on this thread frothing at the mouth. Why such fear of a contradictory opinion? Do you not believe the average New Zealander can discern for themselves whether Ken’s theories deserve any credence?

    It was insulting of John Campbell to take that decision out of our hands, and it is insulting and almost orwellian that some on this thread support the silencing of these opinions. Conventional science should be challenged more, if only to widen their horizons, and I hope John’s disgraceful conduct continues to bring these things to light.

  135. 135

    I hope people don’t think all New Zealanders are like Mr Campbell after seeing that interview. I cringed at the way it was conducted.

    We don’t need any more stress or violence.

    How about fostering our sense of wonder….. highlighting the positive ….. acting with more compassion and grace. TV people are in a great position to lift the ‘vibe’ in this country.

    I am yet to be convinced that Mr Ring has the answers. But even if he were proven to be a total fraud that would be no reason for an interviewer to be so rude.

  136. Brian,

    I have no idea what interview your saw. As I had no power until 9:30pm last night I have only seen the interview on line.

    I was expecting to see Campbell at his worse. Instead I saw him quote a charlatan to himself. Like Russell I saw an interviewee not answer questions. I think Ring was expecting an opportunity to promote a book or get some other method of self promotion.

    Balance journalism does give voice to the flat earth society. It also should not give oxygen to the waste of space Ring.

  137. 137

    re your second paragraph: Craig, you usually manage to comment without becoming offensive. In this case your own standards have been breached.

    Deliciously iornic, Brian – because they’re straight quotes from the vitriol you’ll been happily spraying on Campbell. And even more ironic considering your own disinclination to let interview subjects get away with evasive waffle scored you some stick back in the day. BTW, if you think my sarcasm was “rude” thank God you never knew my father. His opinion of your interviewing style would have made a sailor blush.

    And I think we obviously haven’t watched the same interview. As Russell has pointed if, if a politician or a corporate was allowed to get away with blatantly refusing to answer direct and simple questions like Ring, you’d probably be here blasting Campbell for being a sycophantic disgrace to journalism. And you wouldn’t be too far wrong.

    JC: If you go back to the note, Craig, you will see that it was from me. I suspect that Brian doesn’t give a damn what you say about him. I do.

    If you want someone to answer a simple question, it is a good idea to give them a chance to do it.

  138. Didn’t see the interview, which surely seems to be quite inappropriate to screen so soon after this disaster. Sounds like the over-emotional and gushing Campbell thinks Mr Ring has some responsibility for the quake.

  139. Am I the only person who sees the problem with all the ‘snakeoil’ comments here. Views put forward that John Campbell’s apalling interview technique last night was justified because of the obviously dubious quality of Ken Rings theories seem to me to be equally as unsubstantiated as Ring’s theories are claimed to be.

    The simple fact is that we don’t know if Ken Ring is right or not. When the geologist questioned after Ken Ring’s interview was asked whether Rings theories had been tested he replied that work had been done in that area about a century ago???? He also commented that Lunar and planet gravitational effect may have some influence on smaller earthquakes but not on major ones???? How would he know if the only work in that field had been done a century ago.

    Now I’m not a scientist but it seems incomprehensible to me that the scientifically accepted effect of moon and planets on the tides would not also affect the liqid magma that the techtonic plates ride upon. The result of that effect on the planets magma would then surely put stresses on the boundaries of those techtonic plates and increase the likelihood of geological events. It would seem to me to be a theory worth exploring and I’d be surprised if there weren’t credible scientists already doing it, in spite of the view of John Campbell that it’s a scientific dead-end.

    In the meantime I’m forced to think that those who make the snake-oil comments are trying to sell a snake-oil of their own, and that is that their comments are based on more knowledge than Ken Ring’s are.

  140. 140

    BTW, Brian, you usually enforce a better standard of comment than “The only people who could support John Campbell must be scientists working for NIWA.”

    You might want to have a think about whether it’s legally advisable (let alone fair and ethical) to publish a comment alleging that employees of NIWA are posting comments covertly and (AFAIK) in breech of their terms of employment.

    I certainly would rather not have my good name and professional reputation smeared in that manner.

  141. 141

    I could be wrong here, but I’m starting to get the feeling Russell Brown – a great journo – is starting to turn the way of many other egos in the fourth estate. Is he, like John Campbell starting to believe his own hype? This posting was a story about a media event, not the Moon Man.

    It’s sad that the Moon Man can’t come and play in your playground.

    Play the ball – not the man, Russell.

  142. “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”

    Arthur C Clarke

    “Any technology distinguishable from magic is insufficiently advanced.”

    Gergory Benford

    Too many aftershocks, methinks, John. Perhaps you need a lie-down and a cuppa……

  143. The simple fact is that we don’t know if Ken Ring is right or not.

    The simple fact is that you don’t appear to have read any of the comprehensive debunkings of Ring’s theories, which cover the multitude of false positives and negatives, the gibberish science he spouts and his misleading statements about his own predictions.

    Last week’s earthquake fell within the range of one vague prediction. You’re determined to focus on that, and ignore all the other predictions that missed the mark. Fine, that’s your right. Just don’t expect anyone serious to agree with you.

  144. 144

    Hear, hear! This should be held up in journalism classes as a prime example of how not to interview someone. It made me rush to my computer to send in a complaint, which I’ve never done before.

  145. Has John Campbell turned in to a young version of mighty midget Paul Holmes have become an em barassment to wellintonians ,and possibly persons from Martinborough!

  146. 146

    @ Craig Ranapaia: “BTW, Brian, you usually enforce a better standard of comment”

    This coming from the guy who asked Emma Hart for random filth, bum-pinching, boob admiration and general gropeage next time she’s in town…

    go Craig…still I guess it was a comment in “Hard News”

  147. i smell the censors’-pen… edwards..!

    ..i am surprised..


    ..or must nastiness always be polite..?

    brown slurs me…

    ..and you censor my two attempts to respond to him..


    BE: I certainly haven’t censored anything you’ve written. JC may have.

  148. Simple question: What qualifications do you have Mr Ring?

    What did Richie McCaw have to do with the answer?

    I asked this question elsewhere: Did JC want to interview this snake oil merchant or was he pushed by ratings?

  149. Team blogging! Mr Russell Brown ably backed up by his attack poodle Mr Ranapia, vs BE and JC.

    The substance for me is John Campbell overbaked it embarrassingly, verging on unprofessionally. While totally unconvinced by Ken Rings predictions personally, viewers unfamiliar with them may have benefitted from the chance to engage their own cognitive processes. Rather than being TOLD WHAT TO THINK! (hectoring is ugly in print too).

  150. John Campbell is usually an excellent broadcaster and journalist. But last night’s interview was incredibly appalling, and I couldn’t believe the train wreck I was watching JC create. This behaviour is completely out of character for him, and I wonder if it’s a consequence of the stress and trauma of dealing with the aftermath of the earthquake. The awfulness of this disaster will impact on all of us in some way, and journalists reporting out of Christchurch will not be immune. Perhaps John (to paraphrase a term he often uses) should have a cup of tea and a lie-down, and pull back from covering the earthquake for a while …

  151. I can’t work out why anyone’s surprised at Cambell’s “over the top” behaviour.

    This is the same guy that claimed “his” program forced Fonterra to freeze milk prices as well throwing all his toy’s out of the cot after Mark Hotchin ignored him and agreed to be interviewed on TV1.

  152. Readers may wish to peruse these scientists’ responses collated by the Science Media Centre.

  153. “exponent of an admittedly controversial point of view ”

    So you say.

    I would call it simply bullshit. I think that is a fairly clear and precise interpreation of what he espouses.

  154. @ianmac: “The JC scientist said that he he knew no scientist who agreed. He did not say they disagreed.”

    Words fail me.

  155. Grant

    You’re missing the point.

    Explain Kens accuracy over the last 6 months. Is this luck? The work of a lunatic? Or by looking at patterns just as seismologists do. Albeit the patterns of a different nature.

    Thats why its ok to listen to something other than 0’s and 1’s every now and then.

    Nanoo Nanoo


  156. Pommy39,

    My points stand – I’ve already provided links for reading.

  157. I think that the interview last night was appalling.John didn’t even give Ken a chance to respond without talking over the top of him. Good on you Ken for saying what you said about wanting to be interviewed. I hope that JC has apologised to you and will apologies to the rest of us. Appalling interviewing. I am not a fan of Campbell Live anyway, but I will definately not be watching it from now on.

  158. Everyone in our household is also talking about it. From the outset of the interview John C got stuck into Ken like a bulldog and would not let go.

    Truly disgraceful John C. Very poor journalism I wanted to hear Kens theory. I will never watch again.


  159. Good God, why are so many people upset at a 2 bit snake oil peddler being exposed for what he is on TV. I actually thought it was one of the best interviews for ages.

  160. 160

    The Real Tony:

    Anyone familiar with Public Address or Emma Hart (and my relationship with her) will know just how ridiculous and desperate your smear-by-false-equivalence is. Sir, I will now observe that wise internet maxim regarding the feeding of cyper-jötunn.

  161. 161

    One question that has failed to be addressed properly so far is, Brian, how you can even suggest that someone interviewing a delusional charlatan can be held up to the same standards as normal journalism, or indeed why Ring should be given any time by a reputable journalist at all. And Brian, I’ve never seen you be gentle with a ticking fruitcake in an interview during your glory days, so “Yo Pot! This is Kettle! Wazzup my Nigga” as the kids say.

    I find it more disturbing the number of commentors here who think Ring’s equivalent of tea-leaf reading should be given balanced attention. It’s like someone asking a lunatic who believes themselves to be Napoleon their opinion of Waterloo.

    My only criticisms of John Campbell are that it was a bad idea to have Ring on in the first place, and to interview him by link. I do, however, applaud his spirited attack of Ring and his flimflam. JC has little to apologise for aside from his dreadful mannerisms. Reading the above comments, I am very disturbed by the general scientific illiteracy and gullability expressed. By the way, I have this bridge I want to sell you, and while you think about it I’ll read your Tarot cards.

  162. Absolutely agree Brian…..i think people are missing the point somewhat…..when one is invited to be interviewed…one expects to be able to answer…..I personally like Campbell Live compared to Closeup..but must be stressed cause i learned zero…except you like the sound of your own voice!

    God..i thought Paul Holmes was bad enough!

  163. Ken Ring’s claims, background or credibility needs no discussion compared to the worst example of reporting I’ve ever seen. John Campbell owes Ken an apology.

  164. 164

    Dear Craig,
    I was just commenting on your comment slagging off other comments.

    The media game is all about perceptions so sorry I wasn’t “in” enough to grasp the ins and outs of your relationship with the wonderful Emma – but then again I might get in the way. Perhaps some things are best kept between friends.

    By the way – I really enjoy your stuff on PA. Keep it up – you have a nice fresh angle on things.

  165. Seems to me that BE is more concerned about covering up for a fraud than anything else. The last thing Christchurch needs right now is liars and frauds. If they need exposing with bluntness let’s do that.

    As for the idea that Ring should complain – great, I would love him to do that and have is stupidity exposed again.

  166. @Paul Litterick: Ianmac:“The JC scientist said that he he knew no scientist who agreed. He did not say they disagreed.”
    Don’t read too much into it but it is the difference between “Not Guilty” and “Innocent.” A scientist should not be dogmatic in condemning an idea. More likely would be,” There is no evidence at this time to…..”

  167. I can’t believe how the public have managed to perceive this interview so badly. It’s absolutely ridiculous, I’m embarrassed to be a Kiwi today. John Campbell was and is one of the most solid people we have in the media, you d!ckheads have no idea. He’ll probably be forced to make a public apology, which he or I will never understand why. Ken has fooled you all into thinking he’s worthwhile to hear. He has the makings of great con-artist & you’re all lining up with open wallets. Maybe you think John was being rude because it was so frustrating to interview the idiot that is Ken Ring. Did you all miss the part where John quoted his absurd, baseless nonesense?? Several times in fact, eg the Full moon and no moon and the week either side = a whole month???!!!! WTF NZ !!!!!!???? Ignore these negative comments John, you’re awesome keep doing what you do :-)

  168. ” “The only people who could support John Campbell must be scientists working for NIWA.”

    Bryan-with-a-Y: You might want to save the actionable defamation for your own corner of the internet where you’re the only person liable for the consequences.”

    Craig: I think Ken Ring’s activities in the last week have been those of a disgusting fradulent ghoul capitalising on human misery, and if I had the chance to interview him he’d be wishing he was back in front of John Campbell getting an easier ride. And if this has me called “a scientist working for NIWA” by his little fan club, I’ll take it as a compliment, considering the source.

  169. Tonight John Campbell said he felt Christchurch didn’t need Mr Ring, apologised and said he offered Mr Ring a fairer go, but Mr Ring declined.

  170. 170

    Is the time to be testy? Do people really need to send cheap shots In Craig’s direction? I know he can defend himself but some of the comments resemble the kind of verbal rudeness Brian would abhore.

  171. This is NOT about the guys theries it is about how Campbell spoke and handl the whole thing. Those people commenting here saying good on you John and other comments I feel you have lost your touch with common decency, politeness and even if the guy was a terrible person why lower yourself down to this level? Alls that happened here is John Campbell has lost a lot of credibility as a journalist by the way he handled things the way he spoke and his nasty unprofessional manor. Come on John you should at least apologize to the public, not for what you may feel is right or wrong with this guys ideas but for things like the way our kids looked shocked and even scared as he was yelling aggressively on the TV.