On Wednesday an email arrives in your inbox from the court. It tells you that you have been charged with a range of offences. The charges arise from complaints to the court made by a number of named individuals and one unnamed person who wishes to remain anonymous. The offences, some of which may go back several years, are outlined.
To assist the court you are asked to respond in writing to a list of questions relevant to these offences. You are told that your case is to be heard in court next week and your evidence will be taken on Tuesday or Wednesday. It is indicated to you that the trial will proceed whether you choose to appear in court or not. You are given the option of delivering a written statement of defence, though this is discouraged.
You panic. The charges against you are serious and could destroy your reputation. You are also extremely busy and the deadline for the trial allows you very little time to research the cases or prepare a defence. You seek the advice of a lawyer.
The lawyer can offer you very little comfort. He tells you that in this particular court the accused may not be represented by legal counsel but must mount their own defence. What’s more, there is no judge, none of the prosecuting team are lawyers, the normal rules of evidence do not apply, and objections are pointless. Read the rest of this entry »
Duncan Garner and I haven’t always been on the best of terms. We had a very public spat a couple of years ago about whether or not Garner was running a personal campaign to discredit Chris Carter. It included my asking whether TV3 ‘should be considering whether their Political Editor is fit to hold the job’ and stating unequivocally elsewhere that, ‘Duncan Garner can’t interview.’
I’m somewhat embarrassed today by those earlier comments. My embarrassment has in part been occasioned by getting to know Garner better over the last year or so, when we have both been appearing on TV3’s The Nation. Not only did he seem to hold no malice against me for my earlier disparaging comments, he was positively welcoming of his new colleague.
More importantly, I was drawn to the conclusion that, far from being unable to interview, Garner had become the best political interviewer in New Zealand by a country mile. I’ve found no reason to change that view. Read the rest of this entry »
[This post produced some strong responses from readers who considered I was being unfair to the producers of Target by accusing them of deliberately appealing to the prurient interests of viewers in order to gain higher ratings. The following piece appears in today's Sunday Herald - along with a photograph of the cleaner masturbating. We're told that the item, described by the show's producer as 'just so dramatic we thought we really can't not show it', has gone viral on the Internet.]
Regular watchers of Target, TV3’s answer to Fair Go, will know that hidden camera footage of tradesmen doing various jobs in the ‘Target house’ while the actor/owners are out, has been a regular feature of the programme. My guess is that these segments are the principal, if not the only reason why people watch the programme.
The tradesmen, you see, aren’t just judged on their workmanship or pricing, but on how they behave when they think they have the house to themselves. And, on that score, Target has certainly been an eye opener. Fossicking through cupboards and drawers and reading owners’ diaries and personal mail are at the lower end of their invasions of the owners’ privacy. Somewhat more serious is perving over and occasionally sniffing the lady of the house’s bras and panties. And, to cap it all, masturbating.
If you got out of bed early enough on Saturday or Sunday to watch TV3’s The Nation or its counterpart on TV1 Q & A, you might have noticed something interesting: No Labour Party spokesperson appeared on either of television’s principal forums for political analysis and debate. The Nation had SOE Minister Tony Ryall being cross-examined on asset sales by Duncan Garner; Q & A’s Paul Holmes looked at where the economy is or should be heading with the Greens’ Russel Norman and New Zealand First’s Winston Peters. The two are increasingly filling the media space left by Labour as the official Opposition.
The absence of anyone from Labour on The Nation was explained by Garner at the very start of the show. The programme had invited Labour’s Spokesperson for Economic Development and Associate Finance Spokesperson, David Cunliffe, to discuss more or less the same things that Norman and Peters were discussing on Q & A – the future direction of the economy. Cunliffe was happy to appear but, conscious of the current sensitivities in the parliamentary party over Labour’s leadership, sought an assurance that that topic would not be canvassed in the interview. He received that assurance in writing from Executive Producer Richard Harman and Garner himself. Read the rest of this entry »
The story was about Don McDonald, a Wellington beneficiary who had become a thorn in the flesh of the BSA as a result of his numerous complaints to the broadcasting watchdog about inaccurate reporting on radio and television.
The final straw for the Authority was a complaint by Mr McDonald about an item on One News.
In its bulletin of 6 January the network had reported on the discovery of a supernova by a 10-year-old Canadian girl, Kathryn Gray. The report included the following statement:
‘The Canadian Astronomical Society says Kathryn’s supernova was in a galaxy 240 light years from Earth.’
Mr McDonald complained to TVNZ that the statement was inaccurate because ‘a supernova star at such close distance would barbecue the earth.’ He said the distance from the earth to its neighbouring galaxy Andromeda was at least two million light years.
He was right. What’s more, TVNZ agreed that he was right. Kathryn’s supernova was in a galaxy not 240 but 240 million light years from the earth. In other words, a million times further that TVNZ had reported. Read the rest of this entry »