Brian Edwards Media

A Gracious Apology from John Campbell

stuff.co.nz

At the top of his programme tonight, John Campbell made a gracious, fulsome and patently sincere apology for the tenor of his interview with Ken Ring last night. I am very aware that such apologies are not easy for broadcasters and I congratulate John for making it. He made a mistake that almost certainly reflected his experiences over the last week of the suffering of the people of Christchurch and his concern that they should not be subjected to further and possibly unnecessary anxiety.

For my part, I believe that my critique of his performance on this occasion was justified, but the manner in which it was expressed may not have been. Like John himself, I was angry.

This matter should now, I believe, be put to rest. Accordingly Judy and I have closed off comments on the original post. Lessons have been learned on both sides.

,

60 Comments:

  1. Well said. I watched tonight on the basis that if he apologised I would forgive him based on the stress he has been under. He did that and we have to accept it and move on.

  2. Well said, indeed. You are both gracious. Both June and I were taken aback at what happened, in particular because John has handled himself so well, been so professional yet so human, speaking with us throughout these tragic circumstances.

  3. For some years I was chair of the TV3 formal complaints committee, letterly including News & CA (which under the attitudinal and non-objective Rod Pederson was somewhat testing). Despite Campbell’s apologies most broadcast professionals will acknowledge there are points at which the tenor of an interview may be recognised and path amended. That John dissappointed to the extent he did surprised me though he willingly displays such subjectiveness in private. Overall a very poor show.

  4. For something a little more substantive than polite manners commensurate with a high-toned afternoon tea party, check out the Big Brains here, dudes.

    http://www.nbr.co.nz/article/scientists-side-campbell-moon-man-quake-prediction-dispute-ck-87208#comments

  5. Great to see lots of replies to the Thread.Although John Campbell may not have acted appropriately it certainly stirred a simmering interest.

  6. I have not seen John’s apology, however watching the interview I was applauding Johns approach this Moon guy is a scammer. He’s full of it, there is absolutely no evidence to back his theory’s up and I congratulate John for his approach I see far to many times, like every day people interviewed and the red carpet laid out, the wrong non probing questions asked just pandering to their message even if its BS.
    I think John’s on the right track, This guy is giving advice to victims of the worse event in NZ history and the advise is simply bogus. He deserves to be yelled at.

  7. I agree Brian, I watched Campbell Live tonight, knowing full well that John would comment – he would have certainly read your blog, plus other comments. ‘To err is human – to forgive is divine’ – which is a bit over the top perhaps, but I’ll keep watching Campbell Live in the meantime, his programme tonight was good.

  8. Good on Mr Campbell for stepping up.

    But I still feel that his ‘editorial position’ undermines whatever future opportunities there may be to explore Mr Ring’s ideas. Let us not forget that, somewhere in the mid 1890s, no lesser scientific authority than Lord Kelvin (or was he still Mr Thompson at the time?) pronounced x-rays to be ‘a hoax’.

  9. Didn’t comment on the previous thread, but I must say the sudden eruption of fisty-cuffs between the Hard News Brigade and the BE/JC gang was highly entertaining. I could see there was going to be tears before bedtime.

    Incidently, we just experienced a sharp tremor here in the Capital. Each one now has an added poignancy.

  10. Fulsome? That means insincere, right?

    JC: New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary: fulsome 1. abundant; plentiful; full; copious; rich.
    Yes, it can be used in other ways, but this is the primary meaning according to the NSOED.

  11. The only thing John needed to apologise for was having that snake-oil selling parasite on Campbell Live in the first place.

  12. @Chris

    You’re right Chris, fulsome does mean insincere. I don’t think that’s what Brian intended.

    See above

  13. The Hard News Brigade — wow, where do I collect my t-shirt and coffee mug?

    Still, I’m glad that I played my small part in amusing someone. The adoration and misplaced sympathy extended to that P.T. Barnum of pseudo-science has just been depressing.

  14. Mr Campbell said he was sincere, but I have my doubts. The apology had the look of his being persuaded to apologise, TV3 no doubt being fully aware of the public outrage. If nothing else, this “interview” points up the very strong need for some reasoned, attentive interviewing, not the interruptive bluster we have to put up with night after night from our media “stars”.

  15. I guess my problem with the Ken Ring Production is that he has turned his niche into a fully fledged commercial enterprise rather than pursuing his theories into the rigour of academic research and study – a more selfless approach to his passionate belief that his observations are on the right track.

    He may be wright he may be rong but this is no way to find out – on a live cross from a ravaged city by a stressed and determined journalist.

  16. It’s not just this side of the Tasman where guests are mauled by aggressive interviewers imposing their own beliefs. I wonder what Brian would have made of Alan Jones’ treatment of Prime Minister Gillard this week: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/alan-jones-lets-rip-at-juliar-gillard-20110225-1b7km.html?

  17. CarJoe:

    You can hardly blame John Campbell for turning Ken Ring into a “fully fledged commercial enterprise”. He’s been that for a very long time. And it would be very nice if our host turned his considerable rhetorical guns on how Mr. Ring has turned pseudo-science (and uncritical media attention) into a tidy little earner; and how that relates to the generally dismal standard of reporting of science. When scientific illiteracy and innumeracy is commonplace in our newsrooms, it’s not only injurious to the quality of media. When it leads to a fraud like Andrew Wakefield getting a clear field to tell already anxious parents that vaccines cause autism junk journalism is a public health threat.

    Now what I’d like to know, Dr. Edwards, is why that doesn’t make you angry.

  18. In all fairness to the doctor, his complaint was less about the verisimilitude of Ring’s expository theories as it was to do with an even playing field between interviewer and interviewee. And, especially, professional courtesy to an “invited guest”. (Judy has already reminded the posters as to BE’s grievance).

    Whatever journalistic yardstick you care to use, we can all agree that this probably wasn’t Campbell’s Finest Hour. But while we, as viewers, have seen the events unfold from the comfort of our living rooms — by way of compressed two-dimensional changing montages on television — John has been right in the midst of this human tragedy; seeing, tasting, hearing and breathing it. This must exact some emotional toll upon him; as with all his colleagues and the rescue-and-support personnel.

    Somehow, I prefer journalists, who, every now and then, may stray from the staid narrow path of “Consummate Best Practice”, and show us some of their human foibles. They become infinitely more interesting, appealing and all-revealing as to their acuity of intellect. And off which, Campbell has nothing to be ashamed of.

  19. The Hard News Brigade? Only three of us here, as far as I can tell. Barely enough to make a squad. Oh well, time to polish my leather boots and get the tank on the road.

  20. John made the decision to apologise and did so without equivocation. Good on him. I wouldn’t have done so — but, then, I would not have given Ring airtime in the first place.

    I do feel the need to reprise one, somewhat lengthy, comment that was cruelly eaten by Brian’s server yesterday.

    Brian, you depicted Ring as a media innocent subjected to an attack by a broadcast professional. This simply isn’t true.

    Ring has been on broadcast media for about 15 years: it’s his primary means of promoting his business. He’s on Radio Live weekly (more than that at the moment, actually) and on regional stations up and down the country. According to Jim Mora, he regularly sends emails seeking yet more free promotional time on Radio New Zealand.

    Almost without exception, the interviews he does are soft and credulous. One hostile interview wasn’t going to kill him. And I can think of a few hundred thousand people more deserving of our sympathy than Ken Ring.

    I actually found yesterday’s discussions quite depressing, to be honest.

    BE: Ring may be all the things you and many others say he is, Russell. But that isn’t the issue. The issue is: was he given a reasonable opportunity to respond to the questions/allegations that were put to him? Compare John’s interview with him to his interview with the scientific expert who followed. Was the tone the same? Were there as many interruptions in the second interview? Was the second interviewee shouted down? Would it be reasonable to describe the first interview as extremely hostile? And the second as neutral or perhaps sympathetic? Is that OK in your book?

    On the issue of location, I’m going to pull rank on you. Judy and I have been professional media trainers working together since 1984. We were advisors to Helen Clark and her Cabinet from 1996 to 2008. I mention this because, during that time, we became very familiar with the difficulty politicians had in performing well from the Beehive studio when their interviewer was in Auckland. Not being able to look your questioner in the eye, having to wear an earpiece, loss of control when your opponent was with the presenter in the Auckland studio, increased nervousness, a general sense of isolation. And these were professionals who, virtually without exception, performed worse ‘down the line’ than they did when they were with the interviewer in the studio. To this you have to add in Ring’s case, a near hysterical questioner, constantly interrupting and shouting you down.

    It’s perfectly clear that a significant majority of viewers took my view that this was not an acceptable piece of interviewing and that John approached it with a transparent bias. On reflection, he evidently took the same view.

    I’m not at all interested in sympathy for Ring. But I’m passionately interested, as you are, in retaining and fostering balance and fairness in the delivery of news and current affairs. This interview was neither balanced nor fair. And it was counterproductive in its intention.

    Given John’s gracious apology, it should in my view now be treated as a perhaps understandable error of judgement.

  21. John is not alone in doing this. Broadcasters/Journalists/Entertainers all know when they are going too far, but it’s worth their keeping going because the resulting profile boost does them no harm.

    Remember the old sayings – there is no such thing as bad publicity, I don’t care what they say about me so long as they spell my name properly, and I don’t care what they say so long as they say it about me.

    Causing offence then expressing contrition rarely fails.

  22. I look forward to more of John Campbell’s interviewing. He was quoted a year or so ago that he would like to do interviews with more substance and depth. I thought that this year he was getting closer to doing so and I have been making a point of tuning in. Can’t think of anyone else who is doing so within my TV range, but National Radio is great for info and interviews.

  23. 23

    fulsome·ness n.
    Usage Note: Fulsome is often used to mean “offensively flattering or insincere.” But the word is also used, particularly in the expression fulsome praise, to mean simply “abundant,” without any implication of excess or insincerity. This usage is etymologically justified but may invite misunderstandings in contexts in which a deprecatory interpretation could be made. The sentence I offer you my most fulsome apologies may raise an eyebrow, where the use of an adjective like full or abundant would leave no room for doubt as to the sincerity of the speaker’s intentions.

  24. Russel “John made the decision to apologise and did so without equivocation. Good on him. I wouldn’t have done so — but, then, I would not have given Ring airtime in the first place.”

    You’ve hit the nail on the head. Campbell tried to justify that poor decision by roasting the guy. Two wrongs made some very ugly TV

    You probly couldn’t care less, but sorry for slagging you off…I’m just kind of sick of Media Names abusing the public…I s’pose Moonman is a player so deserves some sh*t for putting his head above the parapet…but…he just shouldn’t have been invited on. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

  25. “…I actually found yesterday’s discussions quite depressing, to be honest…”

    mr brown..what i found somewhat ‘depressing’/surprising was your citing of an anti-ring source..

    ..that seems to be naught but a one-person soapbox…

    ..that amongst other oddities..

    ..is very gung-ho in support of the use of animals to test cosmetics/household products on..

    ..what possible validity/credibility can such a site have for you…?

    ..so much so you cite it as ‘evidence’…?

    ..and campbell apologises/realises he screwed up…

    ..but no mea culpa from you on what was the point of the original criticism.

    ..namely that as an exercise in interviewing..

    ..it was dire..

    ..but you are still staunch in yr defence…?

    phil

  26. My post disappeared but enough to say that I have been watching Campbell Live this year because they have stepped up the depth and quality of the interviews. I look forward to more especially in Election Year.

    JC: Strange things are a-happening on the site. Trusted commentators are being booted into spam on a random basis, along with the nutters and Viagra salesmen. We have the website mastermind coming round this evening. He may be able to untangle things.

  27. @ Craig Ranapia
    We don’t have a Ben Goldacre in the media in this country. And he is a very lonely voice, anyway, in the UK. Grounded information, Craig, is either not “news”, or is boring, or is beyond the ken of journalists, or perhaps isn’t allowed by their owners – probably because of the previous three options.

  28. John Campbell excepted, of course.

  29. I enjoyed JC’s interview more than I did BE’s job on Lynley Hood a few years back.

    BE: Not sure what the point of that comparison is. Ms Hood was told she would be cross-examined on her book, then complained when she was. The BSA threw out her complaint. As it happens, I believed then and still believe that Ellis was totally innocent of the charges made against him. Ms Hood failed to register that fact.

  30. Disgraceful all round. If Ken Ring didn’t deserve to be heard (and he didn’t), why put him on telly in primetime?

  31. Number Eleven:

    Too damn true – but it would be really nice if Dr. Edwards’ widely-read blog and his media training company (which apparently had access to the Prime Minister and Cabinet for nine years) would take a few hints from Dr. Goldacre.

    I’ll keep asking this question, but have given up hoping for an answer: Why doesn’t junk science and junk journalism inspire in him the kind of furious indignant ion he directed at Campbell. As far as I’m concerned “balance” for charlatans and falsehood is merely journalism abdicating its most fundamental responsibility. And as Goldacre has eloquently said on more than one occasion, it’s an abdication that quite literally puts lives at risk.

    BE: ‘As far as I’m concerned “balance” for charlatans and falsehood is merely journalism abdicating its most fundamental responsibility.’ An argument for unbalanced journalism. Plenty of countries where you can find that, usually dictatorships and totalitarian regimes. Your starting point, as is the case in such dictatorships and totalitarian regimes is that some opinions are so worthless as not to be worthy of being heard, but worthy of being repressed. Presumably you would have taken the view that we ought not to allow Holocaust deniers into the country. Best to keep their offensive views in the dark. Try thinking!

  32. @ Crayg Ranapia – Its great yr working on your skills here.
    I said Rings enterprise is a fully commercial venture without the bones of research to build it upon.
    John has nothing to do with the creation and maintainence of the Ringworld and I don’t suggest that.
    Read, think then write.

  33. Its a pity that John Campbell’s interview will only give more publicity to this snake-oil salesman who is cashing in on people’s fears at a time of great public anxiety.

    I find it hard to tell if he’s a genuine but misguided fool, or a cynical humbug – normally I favour a wide interpretation of free speech, but I have doubts when it comes to people like him.

    He certainly needs a professional interviewer to show him for what he is – John Campbell tried to, but sadly he misfired badly.

    BE: ‘normally I favour a wide interpretation of free speech, but I have doubts when it comes to people like him.’ Doubts about free speech! For people who say they can predict earthquakes! My god, a lot of people with much more dangerous claims better look out when you become world dictator.

  34. Number Eleven:

    QFT. Dr Edwards runs a media consultancy that has (or had) the ears of very senior politicians and who knows how many other political/business/media movers and shakers on the client list, he should read Dr. Goldacre’s excellent debunking of junk science journalism very carefully.

    Folks like Brian and Judy (whose opinions are taken very seriously) can be part of the solution, or perpetuate the problem. Their call.

    BE: Totallly and completely misses the point. I expressed no view on Ring’s claims, merely on his right to be heard if he is invited to take part in an interview. Try thinking.

  35. The only thing that Campbell should apologise for is allowing his emotions to get in the way of exposing this charlatan. His weather forcasts can be dismissed as the work of an eccentric, but when he starts claiming to be able to predict earthquakes he is downright dangerous and causes untold distress to those already feeling vulnerable.

    It is about someone in the media did some homwork, exposed him and then ignored him.

  36. Craig, as much as I enjoy reading your posts (this thread as well as the previous one), on this occasion, your foot-tapping is not in synch with the beat of the music.

    The issue was never about subscribing to King’s credibility as it was about how the actual forum was conducted to test said credibility. You’ve arrived at the somewhat erroneous conclusion: where BE’s lambasting of John Campbell is being construed as tacit support to what Ring claims. Friend, there is no connection; they are mutually exclusive, so to speak.

    Let’s all wait till March 20th, before disembarrassing Ring of his “credentials” as predictor of quakes and the date where the Robinson family’s spaceship, finally, lands on Alpha Centauri.

    And let’s not roll out the barrel of tar — and keep the goose feathers in the sack — until after that date.

  37. You (BE) claim that whether or not Ring is a charlatan is not the issue. I don’t think it is so easy to dismiss the nature of the interviewee.

    Imagine that John Campbell wasn’t interviewing Ring, but instead was interviewing one of the nutjobs who insist, whenever anything bad happens, that it is god punishing us for tolerating gay people. Unfortunately, there really are such people, the odious Westboro Baptist Church are the posterboys. Imagine that Campbell was just as hostile to them as he was to Ring. To be honest I would expect and demand him to be. Would you be asking Russell Brown these questions in that case;

    BE “Compare John’s interview with him to his interview with the scientific expert who followed. Was the tone the same? Were there as many interruptions in the second interview? Was the second interviewee shouted down? Would it be reasonable to describe the first interview as extremely hostile? And the second as neutral or perhaps sympathetic? Is that OK in your book?”

  38. I find it interesting that you (BE) do not even see the point of the comparison between Campbell’s interview with Ring, and your own interview with Lynley Hood. You say you “are aware that such apologies are not easy for broadcasters” And you have sufficient awareness of the shortcomings of another interviewer, even to be “angry” at their performance.

    Just as Campbell fell into the trap of starting to believe in his own self importance, and abused his power of being an interviewer, you did a very similar thing with Dr Hood. Both interviews were characterised by the interviewer trying to show how clever they believed they were. You may have escaped censure from the BSA, but your interview with Dr Hood still stands, in my opinion, as the lowest point in your generally illustrious career

    And I’ve no idea why you should think that because you believe that Peter Ellis is innocent of the charges made against him, that should have any relevance to how you behaved in your interview. Why should Dr Hood have “registered” that “fact”? Her complaint was about your interview with her, and not about whether you believed or not in the innocence of Ellis. This sounds more like a schoolboy excuse, and a hint of admission that at some level you have a little self awareness.

    A gracious apology from Brian Edwards would have been better.

    BE: I had no reason to apologise. Dr Hood had been told beforehand that I would be assuming the role of devil’s advocate in the interview and had accepted that fact. She complained to the BSA about the interview and her complaint was rejected. End of story. I have no idea why you want to bring this up again. I have believed from the start that Peter Ellis was innocent of all the charges brought against him, but it was not my function as an interviewer to promote my own beliefs. I think Dr Hood may have expected that, given my support of Ellis, she would be given a patsy interview. Not my style. I suggest that you move on now. What has astonished me over the years is the capacity of people like yourself and Dr Hood to convert their supporters into antagonists.

  39. I’m completely unqualified to comment on any journalism stuff, really, and I agree that civility goes a long way in interviews like this, but I just wanted to go on a bit of a tangent and throw my 2c in on the claims that Campbell didn’t do enough to *promote* Rings theories:

    Why does “unbiased journalism” mean we have to give equal portions of time/respect to one single instance of charlatanism as we do to established, falsifiable, testable science? As an honest skeptic, I won’t rule out Ken’s theories 100% just yet, but just because his theories oppose conventional geology doesn’t make them equally likely of being true as conventional geology.

    This is like claiming that the theory that earthquakes are caused by radioactive moles living beneath the earth’s crust is as worthy of discussion as plate tectonics. It just isn’t.

    That said, I guess Ken’s doing the right thing by making predictions.. if he gets it right enough times, maybe even the hardened skeptics like me will listen. He’ll need more than a couple of lucky hits, though.

    BE: Does it occur to you that you have no difficulty is assessing the merit of Ring’s claims, but you apparently think others would be unable to do so? Does it occur to you that that might be slightly arrogant. And is there any historical evidence that the censorship of ideas (which is what so many of the commentators here are advocating) is a good or productive thing? I think not.

  40. Well done JC for the public apology. You listened to the people and stepped up. This gives you more kudos after your mistake.

  41. Brian, as a scientist I like that John Campbell (and Russell Brown) have taken a pro-science stand here. One could see it as a counterbalance to the usual shoddy, soft and uncritical coverage of science in much of the New Zealand media. Witness the deeply pointless televised square-off between Gareth Morgan and Ian Wishart on climate change. Gah.
    Radio New Zealand are an honourable exception in their commitment to good science coverage. They have exceptionally good interviewers such as Kim Hill and Alison Ballance, who are interested in and well-informed about science.
    I would have more sympathy for your point of view if you were equally outraged every time a shyster like Ken Ring gets a soft and uncritical reception from the media. Where is the spirit of Fair Go and its commitment to exposing fraud?

    BE: I don’t recall that the spirit of Fair Go ever involved shouting people down. Generally these views favour the censorship of bad ideas. I don’t.

  42. Go Merv.

    Jeez CAROL…there’s only so much “outrage” one person can give out without having some sort of embolism…give Brian a break.

  43. Bravo, Carol, bravo.

  44. Merv, even if there is an earthquake on 20 March (and I will predict that there definitely will be an earthquake on 20 March just because of the string of aftershocks makes such an event highly likely) it does not make Ring the greatest seer since nostradamus, nor the greatest scientist since Einstein.

    It is easy to make these sorts of predictions, especially with a gullible and non-critical news media. If nothing happens everyone has forgotten that you have made the prediction. If it does occur it’s; “OMG, how fantastic” as the fawning media queue up for interviews. Even if, God forbid, Chch is flattened by an earthquake on 20 March, Ring will still be a charlatan.

  45. Merv…here’s a question…do you think these supposed “pro-science” people are actually reading what’s been said by the supposed luddites – or have they spent so much time studying Excel Spreadsheets that they can’t understand English?

    I can’t believe I’m on Merv’s side…it feels nice.

    PS Alison Balance ROCKS!

  46. Back at ya, Ben. Well said.
    It is also easy to make these sorts of predictions if you hedge your bets to the extent that Ken Ring does. He does this with his weather forecasts too. As many others have noted, his predictions are so vague in time and space (his prediction for the 18-25 Feb window was somewhere on the Pacific Ring of Fire!) that he can claim practically anything as a success. And he does.
    His belief system simply doesn’t stand up to any kind of critical scrutiny.
    I think I can agree with Brian that the infamous interview could have gone a lot better if JC had approached it with a bit more guile.

  47. The Real Tony:

    Thanks for the concern about my health. If I ever do have an embolism, I’ll be putting my life in the hands of reality-based surgeons rather than the Ken Rings of medicine.

    Merv:

    I ignored your condescending and impertinent lecture about the “real” topic of discussion the first three times you dished it out. What makes you think the fourth would be effective.

  48. Craig: I’m not concerned about your health…i think I was talking about Bria…wait a sec…you are Brian…you must be suffering some sort of alter ego/United States of Tara thing.

    Craig/Brian…i would love to recommend an enima of homeopathic tadpole sputum and a nice backrub…shiatsu of course. Get well soon. Both of you.

    If you pass away…can I have your PA Crew Teeshirt?

    JC: If you’re going to be revolting, at least learn to spell. It’s ‘enema’.

  49. Thanks JC. I’ve been confused about that word since Toyota bought out the Emina people mover…it’s played havoc with my internal Spell Checker.

  50. Craig re: “What makes you think the fourth would be effective.”

    Clearly, with a blockhead, like you — none.
    This thread is not about the merits of crystal ball gazing and tea leaves reading; it’s about someone being invited on to a programme to explain his — bizarre — theory. Crackpot as he may be.

    I’m no adherent of Ring, and everything I’ve written is weighted against him. But I do believe in the notion of elemental courtesy. Ring, did not ask to appear on Campbell Live, he was asked.

    Another thing: I don’t recall addressing your posts up until now. And I certainly don’t see anything “condescending and impertinent” with what I’ve written. I just seem my typo: off which, Campbell has nothing to be ashamed of.

    You come across as the ugly incarnation of a Judge Thomas Danforth. No one’s “conjurin’ up the devil, here”. But you’re willing to hang ‘em all, anyway, to satisfy your own tyrannical insecurities.

    JC: Enough, boys. Any more ad hominem abuse will have the cajones edited out of it!

  51. “BE: Does it occur to you that you have no difficulty is assessing the merit of Ring’s claims, but you apparently think others would be unable to do so? Does it occur to you that that might be slightly arrogant. And is there any historical evidence that the censorship of ideas (which is what so many of the commentators here are advocating) is a good or productive thing? I think not.”

    If I sounded arrogant I apologise.
    I’m no geologist and I have no special insight to this case. I’ve stated that I’d change my mind if the evidence got strong enough… that’s the beauty of science.

    I think we both agree it’s not the media’s job to tell us what’s true and what isn’t. At least, we get offended when they try. (and especially when they’re rude about it)

    Rather than propose Campbell give the guy half an hour to basically make his sales pitch to the public, though, I’d be happier if Campbell reported on the results of experiments conducted to test/falsify Ring’s theories, relayed peer reviews of his theories by leading geologists, etc.

    Then we get information as well as some informed [if biased] opinion.

    I disagree with treating a theory as though it were already tested and accepted in the geological community (eg. treating Ring’s theory as equally valid to the tried and tested theory of plate tectonics, which itself is relatively recent).
    Test and try it *first*. A couple of hits does not make evidence.

    (I don’t see where I advocated censorship… TV3 only has a handful of hours per week to air interviews, so I assume they have to make a choice as to who they invite and who they don’t)

  52. > What has astonished me over the years is the capacity of people like yourself and Dr Hood to convert their supporters into antagonists.

    You said you played devil’s advocate in your interview with Dr Hood, but your put down of her here suggests otherwise. Dr Hood has done the criminal justice system a huge service by drawing attention to its weaknesses. She should be appluaded for that. I’m not sure she deserves such a pathetic comment.

  53. I think JC’s true colours came out in the interview – a small chicken could have conducted a better interview

  54. Brian,

    I find it curious that you should be so hypocritical. You said that Campbell bullied Ring, but that’s exactly what you did to Rodney Hide in 2003. TVNZ, of course, caned you over that interview. Your bosses said that you had shown a lack of impartiality and had advanced a personal matter. They apologised to Hide but you did not. At least Campbell had the grace to apologise and to admit he made a mistake. When you were asked to apologise to Hide, you said hell could freeze over. Why you ever interviewed Hide when there was a clear conflict of interest remains a mystery.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=3519135

  55. By the way a friend of my wife had rented out her house on the Port Hills for a year. The stressed (hysterical?)tenant has negotiated a rent freeze with her too-kind landlord until after the 20 March in case the house is earthquake demolished as “predicted” by Ken Ring. Not sure which is the important bit of that authentic story.

  56. 56

    Ross’s Revelation

    I do believe I can hear muffled taunting chatter from behind the kitchen cupboards, between the pot and the kettle.

  57. BE: ‘normally I favour a wide interpretation of free speech, but I have doubts when it comes to people like him.’ Doubts about free speech! For people who say they can predict earthquakes! My god, a lot of people with much more dangerous claims better look out when you become world dictator.

    My doubts relate to the wisdom of allowing a charlatan to shout “Fire!” in a crowded theatre, which any reasonable person (and the US supreme court) agrees is beyond the limits of free speech. Are false predictions of earthquakes a public safety issue?

  58. BE: Does it occur to you that you have no difficulty is assessing the merit of Ring’s claims, but you apparently think others would be unable to do so? Does it occur to you that that might be slightly arrogant. And is there any historical evidence that the censorship of ideas (which is what so many of the commentators here are advocating) is a good or productive thing? I think not.

    My reading of what Kim S. was presenting was a fairly standard issue of the inability of “he said, she said” journalism to work well with matters of fact, such as with science issues. It’s widely considered one of the key problems in general mainstream media (MSM) reporting of science, compared to that of specialist science communicators.

    This is widely discussed in science communication circles and I’d end up writing a huge essay covering all the aspects, but suffice to say that it is
    not a matter of “censorship”, but the lack of critical thinking involved in the typical MSM approach that is the nub of the issue.

    Or, alternatively, that specialist media should handle specialist issues. (I realise staff cuts have dropped many of these people over the years and that NZ more-or-less has never had much of a science-focused media outside of Radio NZ and a few small areas e.g. agriculture.)

    BE: I don’t recall that the spirit of Fair Go ever involved shouting people down. Generally these views favour the censorship of bad ideas. I don’t.

    I distinctly recall at least once instance of this occurring on Fair Go. I think you would stand corrected if you talked to the producers, etc. Certainly it was not their usual practice, but you’ve trapped yourself in writing “ever”!

    Rather than propose Campbell give the guy half an hour to basically make his sales pitch to the public, though, I’d be happier if Campbell reported on the results of experiments conducted to test/falsify Ring’s theories, relayed peer reviews of his theories by leading geologists, etc.

    I agree. One of the scientists whose views are on the SMC briefing for this pointing to a resource that accepts earthquake prediction methods. The appropriate “media” to ultimately resolve science matters is really the scientific literature in the end. Ideally it’d be resolved there first, with that then reported upon.

  59. A fulsome apology from Campbell, no doubt about that.

    Just wondering, Brian, in the light of your excoriation of Campbell’s attack on Ken Ring, whether you apologized to Lynley Hood after you served as the government’s attack-dog in the following ambush….

    http://www.peterellis.org.nz/docs/2003/HoodComplaint/2003-0816_TV1_BrianEdwardsWithLynleyHood.htm

    BE: The complaint was thrown out by the Broadcasting Standards Authority, as it properly should have been. Not only was there no ‘ambush’, but I had forewarned Lynley Hood that, though I was a supporter of Peter Ellis and firmly believed and continue to believe that his conviction was unjust, I had to set aside my personal views and take the role of devil’s advocate in the interview. Which is precisely what I did. Lynley made no complaint to me or anyone else on the programme after the interview. On the contrary, the following statement by Denise Montgomery, my researcher on the programme, was included in my written evidence to the BSA.

    ‘After the show, as I realised it was probably one of the first times Lynley Hood had been challenged, other than in the Herald article by Emma Davies and Jeffrey Masson, I went down to collect her from the studio.

    ‘I walked with her and said words to the effect of: “Excellent. That was great. It wasn’t too hard was it? He’s good at playing devil’s advocate.” She replied “No that was fine. I much prefer that style of questioning actually, as it makes it easier to answer than if the person is just agreeing with you the whole time.”

    ‘She also said “That will certainly get a few people in Christchurch going”. I gathered she was talking about the things she had said about Christchurch and its people.

    She didn’t seem remotely concerned about the interview.’

  60. “She didn’t seem remotely concerned about the interview.”

    God grief, it’s the heresay defence.

    BE: Nothing ‘hearsay’ about it. A first-hand account from a reliable witness of a conversation with Lynley Hood. Read the BSA judgement, for heaven’s sake, which totally rejected Ms Hood’s complaint, concluding that she knew what to expect and was given a fair opportunity to respond.