Brian Edwards Media

Confessions of a victim of Hosking’s Disease

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 Mike Hosking is an opinionated chap. He’s paid an enormous sum of money to be opinionated, not only as a breakfast talk-back host on the ZB network, but as a Herald columnist and the co-host of TVNZ’s Seven Sharp. So you can’t really blame him for being opinionated. It’s his job after all.

It was only after the sacking of John Campbell as host of the programme named after him that I took a look at Seven Sharp, the shape-shifter of prime-time current-affairs programmes.

After watching the programme for a couple of weeks and reading his columns I’d had enough of Mike’s opinions and had reached that critical mass of the emotions where I was in danger of putting my foot through the screen and cancelling our subscription to the paper.

I was suffering from what I suspect may be a common complaint in this country: front-person-overload, the medical term for which is Hosking’s Disease. [Note: This can sometimes be confused with Pitt-Hopkins disease, a genetic disorder whose symptoms include developmental delay, a wide mouth, distinctive facial features and intermittent hyperventilation.]

It’s a real disease. Trust me, I’m a Doctor.

Mr Hosking’s role on Seven Sharp appears to be that of lecturer. His class currently comprises only one student, a bubbly and attractive young woman who hangs on his every word. The lectures are, however, telecast to a much larger group of students. The TVNZ calendar lists the lecture series as “Seven Sharp or Everything I Know About Everything – an enthralling series of 2,000 half-hour lectures by one of New Zealand’s most admired long-form interviewers and commentators.”

Having now watched Seven Sharp for two weeks and read several of Prof Hosking’s treatises in the Herald, I am now the trivia king at our local pub quiz. But Judy says I’ve changed – I’m arrogant, up-myself, a bad listener and a pretentious bore! And I speak warmly of John Key.

She’ll get over it!

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  1. I’d be more tolerant of him if I thought he actually believed most of what he said. His is a deeply cynical art.

  2. Believe it or not, Mike Hosking was once a credible and talented journalist. Back in the day when he filled in on ‘Close Up’, when Mark Sainsbury was away, he use to entertain us with some informative and constructive interviews of politicians and other public servants, to which he held them to account and asked the hard questions. He was so good at it, from what I remember he won a Quantas award, and also from what I can remember there were public outcries that he should be on TV more. And now years later, when we needed someone to rescue the dire rating’s catastrophe called “Seven Sharp” Hosking was there to save the day. But little did I know is not only was Hosking once a credible journalist. HE is also a survivor, he does what he needs to do to stay at number one. Even id that is to compromise his journalistic credibility to become a TVNZ lapdog, poodle or what have you. It is a shame because in his more humble days, he was good!

    • Luke, I never would have regarded Hosking as being humble, now or ever in past.

      I will always remember when he was on ZB in Chch some years ago and he was about to move on to another role, he was asked why he was leaving the city and his reply was this – “I am going to bigger and better things ” not much humble about that.
      He went to the National Radio Programme in Wellington as the 9am till noon announcer.

      He has always come across as extremely arrogant but these days he just shoots from the lip without having done his home work on the subjects he finds flavour of the month and comes up well short of knowledge required of a person in his role.

    • I entirely agree with you about the earlier Hosking standing in on Close Up.

  3. I’ve seen Mike Hosking do some extraordinarily good, penetrating interviews. Unfortunately he has been fallen victim to that most insidious of broadcaster infections — he has become the story. There is a form of treatment that has had success in a limited number of cases. It is an antibiotic sold under the trade name “Humility”.

    • Gavin describes it perfectly. Once you believe you are the modern day Delphic Oracle an interview ceases to be a way of eliciting information and challenging conclusions, but merely a necessary precursor – allowing some wrong-headed lesser being to express their (inevitably wrong) opinion – to your sitting back with a smug expression, adjusting your cuffs, and giving your inferiors the benefit of your wisdom.

      That you’ve been provided with a giggling, simpering handmaiden, entirely superfluous other than to your ego, can only serve to reinforce your unfailing self-belief.

      If TVNZ bosses had any nous at all they’d throw Hosking into a “Crossfire” type situation with an equally self-confident but oppositely skewed opponent. I hear TV3 might have to spare. Because he can indeed carry out a good interview… just not in the “bite sized, fun, current affairs lite” drivel they insist on serving up.

      • 3.1.1

        You overlook the simple fact that Hosking took a losing programme and destroyed Campbell Live with it.

        Of course the Left hate him for that.

  4. Thanks for the column, Brian, which, By-the-by, is my first read after RNZ’s Media Watch this morning, where, this fellow Hosking appeared to get several sizeable mentions. Sadly, I can’t now recall if they were related to your subject matter.. though “opinionated” would certainly characterise the guy.

    Anyways, once upon a time, Hosking appeared upon the Morning Report(RNZ) and in so doing appeared to lose the rather glib gabble-style of commercial radio broadcast. And there, said I, once upon a time, (to myself) is a talent to behold. To wit – and was he quick off the mark – at last New Zealanders would know from this fount the game plan it has been on since let’s say 1980.

    And, in more recent times, has returned to under a lock-and-Key arrangement whose talent is so prominent in the required arts. Of such attainment/s.

    Anyways, nary a clue emerged, either back then, or in 2008, or recently. Which disappointed me. Greatly. Talented journalism – fourth estate in particular – had known back in 1929 what the US Steel Corporation both represented and constituted for so-called modern economies, and economics.

    And just what it did to bring on the Great Depression.

    That Fonterra is the kiwi ‘biggie’ appears to have been lost in comparative terms. So badly, I found myself observing, that adrift without an anchor would conjure a fools all image on the international stage.

    I am in need of reassurance that I am wrong(incorrect); as indeed you have related a similar sense of Mr. Hosking’s opinions.

  5. Jane Kelsey deserves a medal(TPPA)view. Mike Hosking needs to get back on the side of the people and fight the fight for the people and be a voice for the people, instead of behaving like he is John Key’s best mate.He needs to get back into his own bed…

    • Mike Hosking “needs to get back on the side of the people” …? When was he ever on our side? Too much money has stunted his personality … I’m afraid it’s the Gated Village for him.

  6. I agree Gavin .
    The sad part for TV3 is that humility is what John Campbell has a huge amount off, so sad that the powers that be there were too shallow to recognize this.
    I cannot understand why producers at TV1 think that it is a good idea to give the front persons’ SO much time to lecture us all. For me I do not have enough respect for the views of either of these people for it to be of any value and I have grown very tired of both of them. The only thing I miss about Seven Sharp
    is what Tim Wilson’s next quirky story is.

  7. You’ve watched “Seven Sharp” for two weeks? What dedication!

  8. I would agree that if you speak warmly of John Key you must be arrogant, up-yourself, a bad listener and a pretentious bore!

    Streaming internet allows you to cut through the crap of mainstream TV and the drivel of commercial radio, a sure way of avoiding “Hosking’s Disease”.

  9. My problem with Hosking is, as you suggest, the pompous, psuedo-academic tone with which he imparts such mediocre information, cut through with a biting, contempt-laden right-wing edge.

    Worst Hosking point in my mind: his Herald column lauding NZs globally ridiculed Auckland housing bubble. (have you ever seen what a million dollars worth of real estate is in Philadelphia? Palatial). . .Hosking explained that “success is the outworking of demand” – that was REALLY his quote on the issue.

    I guess Rabobank and Hoskings other string-pullers think he’s hypnotized the country with his awful opinion pieces?? Obviously there’s dozens, if not hundreds of more reliable information sources out there than the irritating, stinky gas that Mike Hosking releases into the atmosphere on a regular basis.

  10. If one really wants the public opinion on Mr Hoskings then one need look no further than to Radio Hauraki, Jeremy Wells and @likemike

    re John Key and pony tail pulling

    re the TPP

    Accurate informative and entertaining.

    Like Mikes not.

  11. Its the bird thatch on his head that disturbs me the most as his opinions are not worthy of any serious thought.


    Be careful what you wish for.

    • Well spotted. But I’ve already said that I thought Hosking was an excellent stand-in for Mark Sainsbury. Different times, different programme.

  13. A lot with short memories eh? just reflect on the long line of pretentious TV front men and women who have gone before. All believing in their own publicity and self importance, espousing their opinions just as Mike Hoskings does, but with differing political viewpoints. Most even believed they were the most insightful interviewers, real journalists. Yes his shows are mostly shallow, lacking in what some of the more informed ( or so they might believe they are) would suggests lacks true professional journalistic skills. But whether we like it or not that’s what rates and he and his bosses know that and I’ll bet a pinch of salt to the proverbial knob of goats dropping that Mike Hoskings is smart enough to capitalise on this. Why not, after all it doesn’t take a brain surgeon to see there are significant financial benefits adjusting the acting skills required to be a TV talking head to meet the masses demands. Mike Hoskings is simply following the well worn path of some real egotistical big heads who I would suggest should take a good look in their mirrors and think back on their own involvement before dishing up the self righteous criticism which I would suspect is mostly based on political bias than any real concern about lack of deep meaningful journalism.

  14. What pisses me off about Mike Hosking is not that he is a right-winger, so am I, but that he spends so much time talking at his off-sider, not to the audience, and sharing in jokes with someone to his right. Add to this the constant clothes adjusting, ball point pen fiddling and lack of a comb, with his apparent having done everything a la Kim Jong Il……I think I’ll have to stop watching and waiting for a change which will never happen.

    • Um, but wasn’t that meant to be the “feel” of the original Seven Sharp” when it launched with 3 presenters back at the start of 2013?

      It sits in the niche between a hard-news discussion and magazine show.

  15. Kat> I would agree that if you speak warmly of John Key you must be arrogant, up-yourself, a bad listener and a pretentious bore!

    What a strange world view. I understand that you not only dislike John Key’s politics, but you choose to dislike the person as well. Personally, I rarely indulge in that leap, (some politicians I make exceptions for) but it’s a free country.

    But. Dozens, possibly hundreds, of people (people who actually know him) have spoken warmly of John Key over the years. A range of people from his mum to Barack Obama! You thoughtlessly write all those people off as collateral damage with your silly words.

    For what it’s worth I’m no fan of Mike Hosking, and agree that he’s arrogant, up himself [this especially], a bad listener and a pretentious bore!

    • Bill, having to explain the word play is always tiresome so I won’t, but in relation to what I typed please read BE’s piece again, carefully.

  16. I have not been able to take Hosking seriously as a journalist of any sort of deserved repute since watching him interviewing Julian Clary on Breakfast many years ago. Clary was in Australia and could not see who he was talking to, so he asked Hosking what he looked like. Hosking responded “Well I’m very good looking….”. I think that says it all about him really.

    • 16.1

      Actually it just says that either you have absolutely no sense of humour or you just hate Hosking’s politics or most likely both.

  17. With Channels 1 and 3 both having ruled themselves out of watchability at 7pm (or actually TV3 at any time, I’m still seething about their ugly treatment of John Campbell), I have found the cure for Hosking’s disease.

    Channel 13 (Jones) which at 7pm each night gives one the treat of classic comedy – intentional comedy, not the Hosking sort.
    Why wouldn’t you?

    (Actually, I’d rather watch an Australian shopping channel than spend time with Hosking. And that’s saying something.)

  18. I have been watching Seven Sharp recently. Better watch it before criticising it I thought.
    Distracted by Mr Hosking’s fidgeting.
    Annoyed by his arrogant commentary.
    Annoyed by the pointless conversations.
    Rather admired Pippa’s tolerance of Hosking.
    Rather liked Pippa’s succinct worthy commentary.
    Rather liked the current woman’s effort to stick to the issue.

    And I wonder if just one person fronted, then maybe it would leave another 15 minutes to cover worthwhile topics.
    (Of course if there was only one person and that was Hosking, would we be better off? Can see why John Campbell refused the offer to be a joint presenter. 3D TV3 last night was done by one woman and so without Garner. Refreshing. But next Monday TV3 at 7pm will have Garner and another woman to copy TV1 format. Oh dear!)

  19. If John Key has any nous then he probably regards Hosking as a useful idiot.

  20. You all,pay this man too much attention. He’s just Paul Henry lite!

  21. Mike Hosking is the new Paul Holmes. Not quite as successful, as Holmes was quite good at being a conservative disguised as a populist. Hosking is a bit too upmarket to be convincing as one of the common people.

  22. It took you two weeks to work it out………….

  23. Can someone tell me, who in NZ is a better interviewer than Mike Hosking

  24. 24

    I guess Hosking is crying about his critics all the way to the bank.

    • Yes, most likely the same bank that this corrupt National govt agreed to pay a “capital contribution” of $11.5 million, of taxpayers money, on Saudi businessman Al Khalaf’s private farm in Saudi Arabia.

      Whats the big deal with a few mil and some sheep Hosking said.

    • 24.2

      The world is full of ghastly, rich people.

  25. 25

    Are you speaking Yiddish, Kat, because that first sentence certainly isn’t English? And that’s just the grammar let alone the content.

  26. Agree with your article and most of comments.

    The same critique could fairly be laid at Campbell’s door…puff headed egotists both !

    Campbell’s vociferous supporters lacked the objectivity and honesty to admit this though…..

  27. Ahh. The prose Brian, the prose. One of your best yet, keep it up!

  28. If only NZ had a broadcast journalist with the clout of Jeremy Paxman.