In May 1970 I was interviewed by a Truth reporter called Martin Smith. The conversation revolved around my interviewing on the top-rating current affairs programme Gallery.
Smith’s story duly appeared on the front page of Truth and began as follows:
TV personality Brian Edwards admits he has a political bias.
There was ‘no interviewer around’ who did not have a political bias, he told Truth.
‘Like the viewers, we are only human beings,’ he said.
And he has allowed this bias to colour some of his interviews, he told Truth.
Next to the story was a photograph of me with the caption ‘Brian Edwards… political bias’
Rob Muldoon once said to me that he was often misquoted in the media and invariably complained. ‘There are some things I just know I could not possibly have said.’
I knew I could not possibly have said I was politically biased and had allowed this bias to colour my interviews. It was not merely entirely untrue but would have been professionally suicidal. What I had said was that I had political opinions, as every interviewer did.
Within 24 hours I had received a letter from the Deputy Director-General of the NZBC, Lionel Sceats, making it abundantly clear that, if the story were true, my contract with the Corporation would be terminated. I had no alternative but to sue Truth for defamation. Read the rest of this entry »
‘Absolutely heroic!’ That was Brad Pitt’s description of his wife Angelina Jolie’s decision to have a double mastectomy and subsequently to tell the world about it. I thought the description entirely apt. No one, least of all one of the world’s most famous and glamorous movie stars, makes a decision like that lightly. And it is hard to imagine any woman deciding on such a drastic course of action without compelling cause.
That cause, in Jolie’s case, was that she had been diagnosed with the faulty BRCA1 gene, a common predictor of breast cancer and ovarian cancer. Her doctor put the risk of her developing breast cancer at 87 percent and of ovarian cancer at 50 percent. The assessment was in part based on hereditary factors. After a decade-long battle with cancer, her mother had succumbed to the disease at 56. Jolie is 37.
Last Wednesday the Herald republished a Telegraph Group story in which Jolie told of her reasons for having the double mastectomy, described the process in detail and explained her reasons for going public:
‘I wanted to write this to tell other women that the decision to have the mastectomy was not easy. But it is one I am very happy that I made. My chances of developing breast cancer have dropped from 87 percent to under 5 percent. I can tell my children that they don’t need to fear they will lose me to breast cancer.
‘On a personal note, I do not feel any less of a woman. I feel empowered that I made a strong choice that in no way diminishes my femininity.’ Read the rest of this entry »
Rod Emmerson’s cartoon in The Weekend Herald 11/5/13
[After Question Time in the House today (Tuesday) , Aaron Gilmore made a considered speech, in which he expressed regret for the events which had ultimately led to his resignation from Parliament. He apologised to the Prime Minister, his colleagues in the House and the National Party at large for any embarrassment his conduct had caused. His words were without rancour, accusation or blame. They were greeted with applause from all members. It was, in my view, a dignified exit.]
It’s possible that only the Germans, whose language is full of nouns composed of (sometimes several) other nouns joined together, could have invented the term ‘Schadenfreude’. Schaden means harm and Freude means happiness or joy. So the two joined together can be roughly translated as ‘joy at other people’s misfortunes’.
There was, it seems to me, a significant degree of Schadenfreude in the nation’s response to the downfall of Aaron Gilmore. It was combined with the righteous indignation of a populace seemingly without sin and therefore more than willing to cast not just the first stone but a positive volley of stones. The Germans could no doubt produce an exceptionally long word to describe this phenomenon.
Prominent among the righteous were Gilmore’s former friends, colleagues and acquaintances a number of whom, preferring to shun the limelight, took to dobbing him in for a variety of past crimes, real or invented, via the honourable device of the anonymous leak. Read the rest of this entry »