Brian Edwards Media

Find an adjective to describe the New Zealand media’s coverage of what happened at Queenstown’s Altitude Bar last Saturday

I’ve been trying to come up with a few adjectives to describe the New Zealand media’s coverage of the alleged impropriety between English rugby player Mike Tindall – husband of the Queen’s granddaughter Zara Phillips – and ‘an unidentified blonde woman at Queenstown bar Altitude last Saturday’. You may care to add some of your own, but here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

  • voyeuristic
  • sad
  • infantile
  • grubby
  • salacious
  • sick
  • destructive
  • cheap
  • keyhole
  • smutty
  • intrusive
  • tabloid
  • prying
  • squalid
  • pernicious
  • pornographic
  • sleazy
  • worthless

So that’s a start to describe coverage of this particular non-story on One News, 3 News, on commercial and non-commercial radio networks, in the New Zealand Herald, the Dom Post, the rest of the Stuff stable, the ‘women’s mags’ and every other ‘news’ outlet in the country, excepting those who might like to put up their hands and say, ‘Wouldn’t have touched it with a barge pole!’ I’ll happily print your denial.

What a tragic indictment of journalism in this country. What a badge of dishonour against the names of every journalist whose by-line or name appeared in one of these print or video nasties.

Turns out the ‘mystery woman’ was an old friend of both Mike and Zara.  Still, Rupert would be proud of you, ladies and gentlemen.

[I’m told that Prime did not cover the story. Well done, Prime.]

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  1. And they couldn’t even score the scoop for themselves! the story was broken in The Sun!

  2. Agreed (probably one of the only things you and I would agree on :) )

    Although the most reprehensible character, and vigilante caricature, in this fiasco is the bouncer who posted the footage, Dixon. While one should never judge people according to collectivist stereotypes, I’m growing very wary of those guys with the manicured iddy-biddy beardy things crawling around their faces. Especially on chiseled jaws. I hope police throw the book at him for playing so loose with the respondent’s privacy, and his employer’s property.

  3. If anything was ever going to prove the utter uselessness of NZ media, this is it. The even sadder part is that people apparently watched this. Another really good reason for never watching the ‘news’ live. By recording it I can get through the one hour of ‘news’ in about 10 minutes…..

  4. 4

    That’s not to mention the potential for the releasing of the CCTV footage to breach the Privacy Act.

  5. Disgusting. Miners dying in Wales were an afterthought to this lead garbage.

    It’s even more embarassing than the interminable bloody haka.

  6. Couldn’t agree more – I never watch news live any more. I couldn’t believe it – on a day where there was so much to be heard about the Pike River Inquiry, or the announcement about the 170-odd teaching positions lost in Christchurch, we have to put up with this crap.

  7. I doubt there are any privacy issues. He was ithemselvesn public area of the bar where his actions could be observed (and photographed) by anyone. No expectation of privacy in such a situation. As for the bouncer posting the video – that’s likely to be an employment issue. Would not be surprised if he is fired, but unlikely to be a police issue.

    I’m interested in the copyright implications of the various news organizations simply taking the footage and housing out

    BE: You seem to see this as primarily a legal issue. I see it as primarily an issue of journalistic standards. I don’t expect security footage from a bar to be used for the titillation of the masses. And neither, and perhaps more to the point, did the proprietor of the bar.

  8. PATHETIC… but then aren’t they most of the time?

  9. One more word to describe this is ‘embarrassing’. I’m mortified these people are New Zealanders who call themselves professional journalists.

  10. Bring back Bob Jones!—bob-jones-punches-reporter-rod-vaughan-1985

    BE: That was an interesting episode. I’m trying to remember the outcome.

  11. Quite. I’m not too sure how a rugby player who buries his head in a woman’s chest can be front page news (really, come on, what do you expect – the English team to be celibate monks?).

  12. Brian I agree out was a shitty sorry to start with, I was just responding to the privacy point. Of curse it turns out the police did get involved and he has been charged with accessing a computer system without authorisation.

  13. You mean we actually have media in this country? I thought we just had a biased National Party publicity machine!

  14. Some of those adjectives could posibly be applied to Mr Tindall. Whether or not the lady concerned was a family friend or not (and blonde family friends in any marriage are dangerous), Mr Tindall’s hooter was in a place where no married hooter should venture, especially when his mother in law has death ray eyes and his wife is renown for her temper. I think Mr Tindall may find the scrum the safest place to be when Mrs Tindall arrives with rolling pin at the ready.

    I suppose the journalism was rather grubby but if you are ‘prominent’ (and I do not just mean the nose) and you happen to be married into the royal family then I am afraid you must expect your indiscretions to become public.

    I also suspect, Brian, that if you were photographed with your nose down some woman’s cleavage, it would cause a titter (no pun intended) amongst your loyal fans but JC would not be amused.

    JC: She would, however, be amazed!

  15. I can’t see what the kerfuffle’s about. The story had nimble legs, so the journos (quite rightly) took off the leash and let it run.

    For the life of me, I just can’t understand your moralistic harrumphing.

  16. One word springs to mind: “BRITISH” and that’s pretty damning!

  17. Why is the New Zealand media’s coverage of this non-story any worse than any other country?

    Wendyl Nissen, who knows a thing or two about packaging gossip and trash for the public reckons this non-story had Pommie tabloid sting written all over it.

    Why the hand-wring over our media?

  18. Those same adjectives could be used to describe the bouncer. What a destructive thing to do. Absolutely I think Mike Tindall behaved badly, but he doesnt deserve this. The bouncer is now saying if he goes to trial he wants MT to appear in court too. It seems he is out to do as much damage to Zara and Mike as possible. What a lowlife!

    BE: I’m inclined to agree. Very strange fellow.

  19. Marie, you are shooting the messenger

  20. Monday morning now, and TV One were still showing that CCTV footage on their breakfast show “news”. As the bouncer is facing a criminal charge of accessing a computer system for dishonest purposes, one has to wonder if TV One is also committing a crime by continuing to broadcast the footage after it has been withdrawn.

  21. Prime News did not cover this story.

    BE: Thanks for that. Thought they did. I’ll adjust accordingly.

  22. “Prime News did not cover this story.”

    Of course they didn’t; not from any journalistic principles but from the fear that Sky Sport would find themselves persona non grata with the England rugby team. Self interest reigns supreme.

  23. You have a fairly comprehensive list of adjectives Brian , I would ad Hollow and vacuous.

    And its an editorial decision – there will always be young reporters keen for any story but the tone of any media channel should be kept by the news editors.

    And there are those that will say the media’s role is not to judge or set morality – it’s just to reflect back what is happening – and then the ultimate cop out, it sells so people want it, we are only giving people what they want. But I didn’t want this shit.

    It brings up the question should the media have a moral base in choosing stories and what are the moral bottom lines we expect from our media?

    BE: No doubt the publishers of this tabloid sleaze see it as Episode One of a continuing story. Episode Two: Arrival of Zara. Episode Three: Zara and Mike domestic. Episode Four: Zara and Mike announce separation. Episode Five: Zara and Mike announce divorce. Media and bouncer live happily ever after.

  24. I can’t say I thought much of John Hudson’s performance on Sunday last night. A homicide investigation is ongoing, meanwhile he’s chasing the main suspect.

    BE: Hmmm. Yes, the wife was rather tried and found guilty by the programme.

  25. The outcome to the Bob Jones punch-up is printed below the clip…
    he infamously punched reporter Rod Vaughan, arguing later he would fight any charges in court, since the journalists had subjected him to intolerable harassment. When fined $1000, Jones asked the judge if he paid $2000, could he please do it again?

    BE: My memory is that Bob was fishing in Taupo at the time. Or was that a separate occasion?

  26. Just another example of the prurient drivel our media cobbles together to fill an hour of news when at most, we have half an hour’s news actually worth reporting – and that’s on an eventful day.

  27. Everyone sems to be getting hot under the collar and censorious about journalistic standards. If Tindall and those like him kept their hands and their noses to themselves there would be nothing to report. What other activities would you like the media to stay silent on? Perhaps a landlord who evicts a pharmacist leaseholder does not deserve the hysterical attention of the media and the great and the good of f Herne Bay.

    < em>BE: Looks to me as though you are the one who is getting “hot under the collar and censorious”, Ben. Looked to me like a drunken cuddle at worst And Tindall’s head approaches her cleavage when she pulls it down to kiss him on his bald pate, a motherly rather than a sexual gesture. If this titillates your voyeuristic brain-cells, then fair enough. Enjoy. To me it’s just another example of tabloid sleaze designed to injure rather than inform.


    Our media have been thoroughly vindicated as per above link. It WAS a legit story, so an apology is forthcoming by Brian Edwards.

    Hell will freeze over before the media vultures behind this piece of tabloid sleaze get an apology from me. And you seem to have missed this part of the story:

    “As far as Zara is concerned nothing has changed, she wants to go to New Zealand to be with her husband,” the source said. “But the fuss caused over Mike’s night out has been unsettling for her, so she wants to see Mike as soon as she can.”

    So what has actually happened is that Zara Phillips has been upset by the media reports from New Zealand and those same media now feed off the fact that she is upset. Stolen video; grainy pictures of Tindall giving a friend of his and his wife a drunken cuddle; friend pulls his head down and gives him a maternal kiss on the top of his bald head; grainy pictures enlarged and printed and reprinted again and again and again in New Zealand’s and the world’s media. And you think I should apologise for criticising this destructive and gratuitous vileness. Get a life! Small wonder I object when people refer to me as “a journalist”. I regard it as an insult.

  29. Actually all the details are there with the Bob Jones clip…..
    In July 1985 New Zealand Party leader Bob Jones and president Malcolm McDonald surprised many by announcing the nation’s then-third most popular party was taking an 18 month recess. TVNZ went searching for comment, and after chartering a helicopter, found Jones fishing near Turangi. Jones was not amused; he infamously punched reporter Rod Vaughan, arguing later he would fight any charges in court, since the journalists had subjected him to intolerable harassment. When fined $1000, Jones asked the judge if he paid $2000, could he please do it again?

  30. Dyalan said : “I doubt there are any privacy issues. He was ithemselvesn public area of the bar where his actions could be observed (and photographed) by anyone. No expectation of privacy in such a situation.”

    Of course there’s a privacy issue:

    Surely there’s a difference between the taking/keeping of CCTV for security purposes (i.e which would only be viewed if a legal enquiry was being made later), and some self-righteous prat stealing it and posting it on YouTube? It doesn’t matter if he was in the establishment’s employ or not.

  31. Kakapo said : “on a day where there was so much to be heard about the Pike River Inquiry…we have to put up with this crap.”

    No we don’t – just turn the tv off.

  32. Sad, pathetic,sure. but what else to expect from a news media seemingly obsessed by RWC ? a drunk english player, a drunk All Black, so what? We must be the only country on earth where the main news hour is led for TEN minutes of rugby trivia shrieked by that slightly hysterical blonde woman ( she of david bain verdict fame). God help us if the third world war starts before late october. we shall only hear of it if it affects the relatives of some of the overseas players.I know television one is no longer to be taken seriously by anyone not interested in cooking shows,reality trash,or the God Rugby, so no reason whatsoever to be surprised by the tindall thing. for those of us who believe news equals information on important subjects, will TV one ever return to bedrock? with your background BE, do you think TV news reporting is now as dead as the dodo ? or have aw shucks emotive items finally replaced NEWS ?

  33. Brilliant.