Brian Edwards Media

Why TV3 should hang its head in shame over ‘3rd Degree’ and why I suspect Duncan Garner and Guyon Espiner would agree with me.

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I got home rather late from dinner with friends tonight and tuned into TV3′ new hard-hitting current affairs show 3rd Degree. You’ve no doubt seen the preposterous promos for the show with Duncan Garner and Guyon Espener being the Batman and Robin of current affairs, fearlessly interrogating the bad guys. But their discomfort with the load of codswallop which they were compelled to front last night was as plain as the noses on their faces. Garner is brilliant and Espiner not quite as brilliant but together they should be a force for good. Instead they had the embarrassing task of having to appear enthusiastic about a disaffected car clamper and the beautiful but embarrassingly miscast Anna Guy. Good god, what an appalling waste of two of the most incisive political minds this country has ever seen. But hey, no doubt the execs at TV3 thought it would rate. And it just might. But the cost to your reputation and the reputation of Garner and Espiner may just be too high a price to pay. What is it they say about putting lipstick on a pig?  Let’s hope for better next week.

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  1. caught a glimpse this evening – thought I was on FOX so I went back to The Big Bang Theory

    • If Garner and Espiner are “incisive political minds” what are they doing working for television? Oh right- they’ve sold their souls to the devil for the fat salaries- no sympathy then

  2. When will they (Messrs Garner et Espiner) investigate the reason the Government has not enacted the new Law – Misuse of Drugs (Restricted Substances) Regulations 2008 enacted 06th October 2008 – the day Mr John Key lead his National Party into Government and implement the recommendations made by the New Zealand Law Commission re: NZLC R122.

  3. I was thinking “Seven Sharp” when I was watching the segments in the studio.
    The “off the cuff” (not)comments were forced, it didn’t flow. And the end segment was the worst. So embarassing.

  4. totally agree, as for the wheel clamper,he used a form of blackmail in which he changed and extortion price to remove the clamp, shame on TV3 to present such a load of crap story

  5. “they had the embarrassing task of having to appear enthusiastic about a disaffected car clamper.”

    I’m not sure I saw it that way. They simply allowed him to tell his story. It was revealing to see that police don’t seem to understand the law. At the end of the item, a senior New Plymouth cop appeared to make a serious threat to the wheel clamper. He should face disciplinary action.

    As for Anna Guy, again she was telling her story. Personally, if I were in her shoes, I’d be staying out of the limelight.

    But yes, I thought the show would be different. But it’s a little early to be throwing brickbats.

    • interesting and agree with your comments, but if you drilled into that story you would find that his clamping business was a form of blackmail against his victims and thats where i find the technicality of the Law system these days is breaking down that was once ruled by commense, he was no angel when setting up that business as he saw an oportunity to make an easy buck and I would think reading into His profile image he presented he would have been very agressive in his approach, the police were brought into this by the public for a reason and it was not just one person with connections,

      I have the hightest regards for Duncan Garner and Guyon Espener as being 2 of our top presentors

    • Yes, the clamper item was OK, but not on this show. Has there ever been a better time for an intelligent look at the political environment? And these two are just the guys for the job.

      • I agree, Brian. But there’s plenty of time for the presenters to cover the political environment. I wouldn’t expect them to talk politics in every show.


          Karyn Taylor-Moore

          I would certainly have expected them to ‘talk politics’ on their first show. In fact I would expect them to ‘talk politics’ on most of their shows. Why not? Very few other people are. There is more than enough scope for this kind of pap all over the rest of TV. I don’t watch TV (because I can’t stand the endless load of tripe that is served up to viewers) but I think – given what is going on in this country at the moment – they could have come up with a much better line-up for their first show. And by the way ‘politics’ is actually a lot more important than most people seem to think. It is about how our country is run, what policy frameworks are being set up to take us into the future (and this often happens well under the media radar). Politics is actually central to the way we all live our lives – as the last 30 years should bear ample testimony to. And because of that politicians and their mates need to be held constantly to account. They are our elected representatives and they need to be constantly reminded about that. A show like this should help to hold them to account. It should not be yet more tabloid churnalism.

      • Our national finances for instance … would it be better to print our own money to avoid someone else’s extortionate fees? And what about a significant lowering of the exchange rate?

        • Alternatively, we could follow Cyprus’ lead and just steal 10% of rich people’s bank funds. Would have the same effect as printing money both on inflation and exchange rates. Save the planet at the same time with less paper.

  6. Its amazing how the tabloid story telling has become the norm for supposedly news based shows. Its certainly not hard hitting but all too ‘lite’ (as it now appears to be spelt). Need full fat news to satisfy this appetite.

    We really are crying out for a real current affairs show. I wonder if I may need to set one up myself. Thursday 9pm on Prime would do. Thirty minutes of news … that’s ‘news’ & not celebrity drivel or a cat rescue. Any takers?

  7. Garner and Espiner came to this piece of tabloid drivel with no credibility and now have …even less credibility. Neither of them did anything close to their job as political reporters. Now I guess they are doing their jobs – front men for a TV tabloid.

    • Unfair. I think it was clear they were doing the Anna Guy item at least under protest.

      • oh, come on Brian.
        What a load of twaddle.
        best journos in our time or for decades? you have got to be pulling the proverbial!!
        these guys believe their own myths.
        i’ve seen them ‘work…seriously, Garner is a nice enough guy…loveable rogue. not exactly Mensa material to be kind. funny, personable and a genuine love for the limelight and belief in his own myth. He has zero depth; loves the tabloid and the ‘headlines’ which is why TV3 always failed in the credibility stakes around real issues and the lead-up to the General Elections which you well know were completely skewed to the point of being sensational and just plain biased by TV3 to pull utter disgrace.
        Espiner,on the other hand, is an intellectual with real steel. and respect around the traps. you know this.
        The combination is testament to what NZ does NOT have to offer to top class journos…esp political ones. the fact they brag about them being the be-all and end-all of political/TV/you name it journalism in NZ now is terribly sad not to mention frighetining.
        I’m sure the John Armstrongs and Audrey Youngs; Ian Templetons, Jane Cliftons, Brian Gaynors of this world would shudder at your assessment of their talent.


  8. 8

    before long Garner and Espiner will need to take ownership of editorial content much like Holmes did in his heyday. They need to be seen to be running the show, not simply fronting it.

    • It’s THE most common problem in broadcasting of any nature, Jeremy.

    • 8.2

      I agree. It struck me while watching the show that they are effectively doing this show as a part-time gig – show up, put your well-known mug on it, and then back to the Listener or Radio Live for the day job. That’s where the mismatch is between the actual product and the advertising, which promotes the Garner-Espiner line-up as some sort of journalistic dream team for a “new kind of current affairs”.

  9. Based on last night’s show it looks like Seven Sharp may finally have a rival….

  10. Whilst the Anna Guy item was, for me, cringe material, the clamping item was a good story and well reported. The police had plenty of opportunity to give their side. 3rd Degree is promising and overall it was a good debut episode, in my view.

    • It was rather late when I wrote this, John, but I’m sticking to my view. These guys are the top political interviewers in the country and their skills in that area have never been more needed. So yes, the clamper story was well done, but not at the expense of at least one national politics story and not alongside Anna Guy.

      • 10.1.1

        and not at an exhaustive 25 – 30 minute treatment as the launch story on a flagship show. What will next week look at – dodgy parking tickets?

      • It definately says something when these two idiots are classed as “Top political interviewers” what I wouldn’t give for David Exel, Simon Walker etc all those wonderful ’70’s and ’80’s interviewers who would ask and keep asking the questions. We used to have interviewers that politicians were scared of! Even Kim Hill or you!! Maybe someone should go into interview techniques for the interviewer – there may not be a market but there is a need.

        • too bloody right. when did you, Brian, get sucked into this completely inane, lowest common denominator form of ‘journalism’? surely, you can see where it’s taking us as a nation? do we continue to feed our very few populus who are interested in real new, a diet of low-lite, haha reporting? come on…they’re ‘having a laugh’, surely? we are indulging fools, hence, producing fools. your kids may be grown up but there are future generations that, arguably, have a lot more at stake than we do; they’ll demand more truths, more choice, more REAL news, ie: the un-varnished truth. these 2 clowns won’t give us that. they don’t give US that. they’re milking their fat salaries for all they’re worth because the TV networks who pay their salaries blindly, have been successfully hoodwinked by the myth these blokes are selling. i bet they’re peeing themselves every time they get a bank statement. i once knew an honourable, amazing, incisive, clever, smart, intelligent journalist by the name of Andrew Heal who would, if alive today, put these charlatans to shame.

          enough said.
          I’m sure you knew (of) him too.

    • Their story stopped short. In their Ad they said they would dig in behind the story. So why no legal opinion from a big firm to say the Police were wrong. Why no interview with the police. Why not confront the police on the street/at their home like John Campbell does with the ‘baddies’.

      It was a one sided story with no extra digging.

      The interview with the Mayor was gold though. He was blindsided. He thought the story was anti clamping, not about him being clamped and having to apologize for his behavior!

      • 10.2.1

        I agree it missed out badly on exploring the legal aspect which is arguably crucial to judgment of the whole story.

        Which leads me to the angle I think it is most important. Brian enthuses about the political skills of Garner and Espiner but in my view the critical skill required is to use technical experts properly to expose the truths and complexities of issues rather than merely political spin.

        I’m not sure these two have it.

  11. for a 1st, I managed to sit thru it, couldnt do that with tv1.
    Agree, anna guy should go now, and live her life away from media, do wish her well.
    Hope this programme does go to exposing and questioning all things political.

  12. The clamping story was good. Primarily for the light it shone on the police, which was not good. Surely they sign a code of ethics and throwing out comments like ‘you’d better not ring me’ was dodgy to say the least.
    I hope this story gets some traction.
    The Anna Guy story…please? She’s there due to the hideous murder of her brother by her husband, and she’s giggling like s school girl and getting rewarded by being given a TV show to host.
    Seriously she would not be hosting a cardboard box normally. But hey thanks to Paris Hilton and Kim K, this is the new world order.

    • Sarah,

      Her husband was accused of murder, but was acquitted. Maybe that’s what you meant?

    • Valid points Sarah – technicalities aside. Ms Guy does seem to be somewhat lacking in mana in the shameless cashing in on her brother’s fate. Very poor form indeed.

    • I understood Anna Guy’s husband was acquitted of murdering her brother?

  13. Wow, so I was really looking forward to 3rd degree and after about 5 minutes into the Anna Guy story I couldn’t take anymore.

    A. That clamping story. What a waste of time. I felt sorry for the whole town of New Plymouth and my own eyes/ears for sitting through that. The fact that the police were pissed with him made me dislike the guy even more – so it was sad that 3rd Degree had to take on the role of being behind him.

    B. Anna Guy singing “We built this city” in the car. ‘Nuff said.

    Fingers crossed next week is about the real issues. Thank god this isn’t on every night, either (*cough*sevensharp*splutter*)

  14. I don’t agree the clamping story was well done. Again we have a show labeled as current affairs that lacked basic facts and context. What do the regulations (or lack of them) cover? What is this ancient practice that was briefly referred to as being what the law covering this sort of operation is based on? What do the car park owners think about the furore happening in their names? How about similarities with incidents in other parts of the country? Etc, etc, etc.
    Turns out from some basic research on the web that there’s a lot of information around about this and the police interpretation looks more correct than the clamper’ does.
    Even if the reporter wanted to stick to one man’s story, aided by lots of footage filmed by the clamper which made it look like a reality tv show, then perhaps the bigger story could have been more usefully chatted about by the hosts. Or do we just accept that with the current state of our TV “current affairs” viewers have to do their own digging?

  15. There is a certain notoriety factor with Anna Guy appearing on the show.To be blunt, it’s as if both her and TV3 are leveraging off the murder of Scott Guy; for one to advance a career in television and the other to boost audience ratings.

    The show mignt not be tabloid in content, but it does come with a contrived lurid curiosity component in its design and intent. And that just makes it tacky as well as tasteless.

    Seven Sharp has just gained much-needed traction.

  16. Just goes to show there isn’t actually anything going on here in NZ that’s worth reporting…

    • Thsnk God. We don’t need more ghastly murders, horse meat scandals, tales of fiscal woe, bankruptcy, rape, fraud and pillage just to pad out the news. But sadly TV companies must, once an hour of news is scheduled, fill it.

  17. The figures tell the story, 260,000 watched it with 7 Sharp doing 347,000. Mind you Fair Go remains a fortress with 501,000.

    • 17.1

      The figures do tell the story. 3rd Degree had bigger numbers than both TV3’s preceding and following shows.

      • Never mind the quality, feel the width! Actually, I’ve very little doubt that the 3rd Degree team will take note of the widespread criticism of the programme. BUT I think Anna has a couple more shows to come. Not sure what they can do about that.

        • Just quietly shelve any more Anna Guy stories. I’m sure she’s a very nice person but that was starting to get embarrassing and I think we’ve seen enough of her for now, no matter how much more material TV3 may have in the can.

          The clamping story actually worked for me. He was a strange man but not half as nasty as the local newspaper had led us to believe. Seeing the police threaten the clamper and knowingly lie when they told members of the public that his actions were illegal was revealing. Listening to uniformed officers encouraging the public to illegally destroy his property was shocking and heads should roll in the police force over that nonsense. And Harry Duynhoven made a complete fool of himself… again. Nothing new there, then.

          It’s not a bad start for 3 Degrees and I’ll certainly keep watching the series. After all, now that TVNZ has thrown out any notion of serious current affairs there’s not a lot of local tele left for those of us with IQs greater than 10.

  18. Unfortunately these guys will not be allowed to probe very deeply into the more controversial political stories. Remember the bail out of Mediaworks by the Minister of Everything, Stephen Joyce. Very nice investment.

    • I am hopeful that Duncan Garner has enough gorm to not let this sway him. He certainly appears to on his radio show

  19. Truly disappointing . Far beneath the talented Messrs Garner & Espiner. Please get on with what your program title would suggest and leave the twaddle to others less able.
    So far it has confirmed what we all know – that zealous clampers like the chappie on the ptogram are understandably reviled
    And please stop being a bandwagon for Anna Guy – Unless- dear lord no- TV 3 is planning on giving her a job!!!!
    I mean the woman has the nation’s commiserations but this is just becoming silly

    There is so much to examine out there and so many to be given the “third degree” so go do it to justify your ability and the audience intelligence

    • Mind you , p’haps a ploy to get attention and therefore promotion? which has worked- I am sure all that watched will , along with more, watch again- in that case well done chaps but now that you have our attention, earn it by giving us something with substance- and we shall forgive the occasional fluff on your show

  20. 3rd Degree? Barely a Chinese burn in sight.

  21. Is it just me, or does anyone else find piggy’s voluptuous lips, perfectly kissable? (It’s the lipstick gloss that causes the stirring in my pork loins).

  22. A single Google search leads to this.

    Why was this so hard for TV3 to do? The report had no discussion of the law and painted the police as the bad guys and the wheel clamper as some sort of freedom fighter. This is a legal grey area which has not been tested in court. The link above shows that the wheel clampers are on very shaky ground, for example appealing to some ancient law (Distress damage feasant) which only a court can decide on. The report gave the impression that Mr Clamper had the law on his side.

    This was a very biased report. The “butter would not melt in is mouth” look of the clamper probably hides something. I’m sure he is very selective in the video he offered to TV3. And, of course, everybody loves to hate the police.

    This was dreadful reporting in a awkward programme. I’ll give it a miss next time.

    • Interesting. Thanks for that.

    • According to that website courts have ruled it is not legal to clamp a car for trespass while the owner is present. In that case Clout was clearly acting illegally in some of the confrontations videoed.

    • It’s interesting that you excuse shocking behaviour by police and instead focus on Mr Clout.

      Wheel clampers operating within the law are not on shaky ground at all. There is no reason to suggest that Mr Clout was acting outside the law.

      • 22.3.1

        Yes there is and I’ve just given it.

      • 22.3.2

        Ross, you obviously have not bothered to look at the link I posted. The link is to a government website with as much authority to state to situation as you will find. The link you have posted does not counter this in anyway. Instead the link is to a blogger stating an opinion, and an opinion is all it is, that Mr Clout was threaten in the police station. The transcript in the link could equally be interpreted as a statement that a clamped police vehicle is unable to attend an incident putting people at risk. And of course all the footage leading to this statement is not shown losing all context.

        • I did indeed read what was referred to in the link. It suggests that what Mr Clout did was legal. You have not explained how Mr Clout has broken the law. I am not aware he has been charged with any offence.

          Again, you excuse shocking behaviour by police.

  23. I agree with you and this is the review i wrote

  24. What’s with the standing? Can they not afford chairs? Seeing poor, uncomfortable-looking Guyon having to stoop down to Duncan’s level must have the ACC bods cringing about a future back injury claim. I can barely stand (pun intended) seeing John Campbell prance around the studio like he’s got ants in his pants but accept Campbell Live is intended to be light(er) in tone. I turned 3rd degree off about 10 seconds after it started. Bring me intelligent current affairs debate. Bring me meat. Bring me the Post Office Go Slow dispute resolution. Bring me Gallery. Bring me . . Oh, that’s right, bring me YOU!

    • Spare my blushes!

    • Dream on Helen. You would need a time machine to go back to the good old days when a few young broadcasters like Brian were in their hay day and were bold enough to take on the stranglehold that the government had on the media. Nowadays, these veterans have become part of the establishment and offer their services to the government as media experts.

  25. How about an investigation into TV execs and why they are so dumb arse? God I must be getting old but the absolute rot on TV these days…

    • Hardly worth the expense going digital. I hardly bother to watch tv these days, but when I do, I can’t help but notice a deterioration in the quality of programmes on offer. Most of it irritating crap.

  26. Espiner bothers me. He has a strange hand wringing posture. Looks like Uriah Heep.

  27. I think Garner and Guyon work well together. They are a dream team. They just need to get the content right, but that will come.

  28. It’s not Mr Espiner’s hand-wringing that bothers me; nor Mr Garner’s posture.

    What bothers me is the judgment of the producers who decided to run these stories as the opening salvo in a programme claimed to be hard-hitting investigative journalism. Hard hitting, my backside! Investigative? How are you spelling that?

    I’m don’t doubt Anna Guy is a lovely person who deserves every sympathy. But this sort of nonsense is turning her into a middle class Chloe of Wainuiomata. Remember Chloe? The fact that Ms Guy cheerfully allows herself to be exploited is no reason to pretend her story (well past it’s use-by date now) has any place in a serious current affairs programme.

  29. PS here’s an idea for the 3rd Degree producers: how about a hard-hitting investigative story on whatever happened to Chloe of Wainuiomata? Better be quick before Seven Sharp beats you to it!

  30. I was initially surprised at the seemingly lightweight topics up for investigation on debut. Looking forward to the ‘wheel-clamper’ story as it had made frontpage in the local rag several times I settled in to watch. I liked that they appeared to rise above the usual take on this story, i.e. the evil and obnoxious man ruining innocent victims days by illegally clamping their cars. They revealed to me a cynical use of the media by the police to push public opinion along the path to crowd bullying. The local paper has been complicit in this behaviour coming off looking to me like the goading bystander. As for the Mayor, his flustered appearance was tell-tale. The reporting was very good and trapped him perfectly to the point of self-realisation that his past re actions had been misguided. The story should be followed up to uncover the underlying issue as I see it of police impartiallity in dealing with all matters pertaining to the keeping of the peace and upholding the laws of the land.Not acting like the school bully and ruining a mans business (as unpopular as it may be, it is legal) and besmirching his reputation through dubious and immoral practices.
    The Anna Guy story was better suited to any one of the ‘womens magazines’ that generally run such fodder.

  31. I’m another who was really disappointed. If they are going to keep that format, they don’t need two presenters. It was trying to be 60 minutes but with the walking studio presenters taking the place of the sombre-looking 60 minutes presenter.

    I wonder if part of the problem is that Campbell Live has taken over some of the stories that should be in a show like this? The in-depth analysis of the Novopay debacle, asking questions about Solid Energy, looking at poverty and the effects on school children – these are meatier issues that should be the mainstay of a proper current affairs show. The Campbell Live people even did a better job of the 3rd Degree promo, with their spoof before the tour of the Marmite factory.

  32. Daer heaven, if they are that hard up for story ideas, why not read bloggers such as No Right Turn who almost daily offers up new examples of government sleight of hand and dirty dealing that should get any investigative reporter’s blood pumping.

    There’s stories aplenty there going begging. He’s practically doing the hard yards for you.

    Now get cracking, you idle lot at 3rd Degree, and earn your salaries.

  33. I’m not too enthused about The Vote, either. Garner, Espiner and Linda Clark are all very good in their element, but it sounds like it’s going to be a political commentariat circle-jerk. I’d rather it be a forum where the powerful must account for themselves, instead of from secondhand positions from journalists who are not wedded to their arguments.

    It also buys into the “equal time for nutjobs” school of reporting. That there are two sides (and only two sides) to a story and they are both worthy of support, instead of journalists exercising some editorial judgment, exploring the nuances and exposing what is patently absurd.

  34. Totally embarrassing. I was shocked by the Anna Guy segment – it appeared to be some sort of audition for a job. I suppose they are trying to see if she will pull an audience. The interview with her by the two of them was laughable. She is hardly a politician – why did they feel the need to grill her? A total waste.

  35. I have to agree pretty much 100% with BE. I love current affairs and politics and am sick to death of the BS that seem to clog up our screens these days with absurd women’s magazine stories and tabloid journalism. I yearn for someone, something to do some real investigative, tough, research into the “big ticket’ items that REALLY affect our nation but get ignored or swept under the carpet because they’re just a bit too difficult or the TV station/journalist don’t want to upset their political or corporate mates or it may affect their funding. OMG.

    This program promoted itself brazenly for “asking the tough questions”, “getting to the bottom of the story” etc. How embarrassing it must be to then screen the drivel and claptrap rubbish they aired on Wednesday night! Simply rubbish.

    Of the hundreds of hard hitting, important stories they could have launched with – they choose a now retired wheel clamper from New Plymouth for their NATIONAL launch. 1% of the population gave a damn and even they didn’t “get to the bottom of the story”, resolve the issue of police bullying or even look at accountability. Why not confront the Police Commissioner or the Police Minister. Maybe they ran out out time because they needed to promote Anna Guy another Mediaworks employee!!!!

    Give me a break – this is crap and we all know it. New Zealand still waits desperately for a REAL investigative journalism, hard hitting current affairs program …….. unfortunately 3rd Degree is NOT it!

  36. For me good journalism answers questions that may be relevent to the report.In this case I thought it could have been prudent to speak to or solicit a comment fronm the car park owners,the tenants to which the car park services ,and anyone who is disadvantaged by the clamped vehicles.
    As for clamping ,it really doesnt achieve what it should-freeing up space for authorised users.It really has become a source of revenue with some very debateable ethics.Its time the Government moved again to ensure a level playing field.

  37. I find the “lipstick on pigs” metaphor a bit unfair to pigs. Given that it’s mostly women who wear lipstick, it’s a bit unfair on them as well. As far as animals go, I think humans tend to denigrate their characteristics so that we feel more comfortable eating them or killing them for other reasons. Not that this is an admonishment to you Brian, just a personal observation on the phrase.

  38. In with Barry on that one

  39. Big improvement last night. Hopefully they’ve worked out their teething problems.

    • Agreed. This was more like it, although I’m still not convinced that they need both presenters in this format.

  40. Right on Brian. Just another ‘show’ on TV broadcast in a desperate attempt to improve the ratings. A real disappointment, when the opportunity was there to give TV1’s Sunday and Seven Blunt a run. Bring back real current affairs!