Posted by BE on August 12th, 2015
Now this is unusual. There are a couple of things I’ve never been good at: apologising and eating my words. But yesterday morning I put up a post about the first edition of TV3’s new programme Story which plays in the slot that was Campbell Live.
It was a pretty negative piece of writing that neither the programme nor its presenters deserved. It was picky and hypercritical. And, as I say undeserved.
The thing is I broke the first rule of reviewing – never review the first programme in a series. It’s on that programme that things are most likely to go wrong. Nerves usually. So you have to allow any programme to bed in before you put pen to paper. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on August 11th, 2015
Here’s a free piece of media advice for you: if you or your company are in the gun and you’re invited to appear on a live TV current affairs show like Fair Go or Seven Sharp or Story, either politely decline the invitation, preferably without giving reasons for your decision – that’s giving an interview! – or, if you’re pretty confident you can handle it, agree to be interviewed “live” in the Auckland studio or not at all. The airfare will be worth it.
Don’t agree to be interviewed “down the line”, which can involve standing in the middle of a paddock or sitting behind your office desk with a hearing-aid thingee occasionally falling out of your ear as you try to talk to some extremely hostile person you can’t see. TV interviewers are most courageous when you aren’t sitting directly opposite them. And least courageous when you are. Well, it’s so much easier to cut someone off or talk over them when you’re the people controlling the switch. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on June 25th, 2015
Good news from MediaWorks – their new current affairs programme at 7pm, Monday to Thursday, is to be hosted by Duncan Garner and Heather du Plessis-Allan.
It’s good news because these are, in my estimation, two of the most professional and accomplished reporter/interviewers in the county. And, if we have to make the comparison, both could hold their own anywhere in the broadcasting world.
So what could possibly go wrong?
Well, there are some hints in MediaWorks’ news release about the new show:
First the title: Story. Well yes, journalists do refer to items as ‘news stories‘ and maybe I’m being picky. But when you take the word by itself, it does rather suggest that 7pm Monday to Thursday on TV3 will be story-telling time. Are we all sitting comfortably? Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on September 7th, 2013
Shane Jones is one of only two people I have ever hung up on. Trevor Mallard is the other. I don’t take well to being bullied or abused.
I do Mallard an injustice by mentioning him in the same context as Jones. I have considerable respect for Trevor and nothing but contempt for Jones.
If I ever had doubts that such contempt was deserved, they would have vanished over the past couple of weeks in the face of his numerous appearances on television. This is not a man the Labour Party can ever afford to have as its Leader. This is not a man the country can ever afford to have as its Prime Minister. He would almost certainly bring shame to both offices.
When the story of Jones using his ministerial credit card to pay to watch porn in his hotel rooms first came to light, my primary reaction was that it was evidence of extremely poor judgement. The morality of watching porn concerned me less. Tens of thousands of New Zealand men watch pornography on the Internet every day. Porn-watchers form the Internet’s largest audience.
But I was impressed by the way Jones fronted up to the unacceptable nature of what he had done and, without overdoing it, apologised to his colleagues and the nation.
Jones is no longer apologetic. He is in fact now making capital out of his sleazy reputation. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on April 7th, 2013
[Update: Susan Wood was admirably restrained in her interviews on Q & A a week after this post appeared.]
In the check-out line at Victoria Park New World this morning I bumped into my regular co-panellist on the media review segment of TV3’s The Nation, Bill Ralston. After comparing notes about why men enjoy supermarket shopping and women generally don’t, Bill asked me if I’d watched Q & A which follows the Sunday edition of The Nation on TV1 and is, I suppose, our competitor. No, I hadn’t watched it, but I’d be looking at it later on MySky. Bill thought I shouldn’t miss it. Susan Wood was ‘terrific’, she’d demolished David Shearer and given much the same treatment to National’s Nikki Kaye.
By coincidence, Bill and I had earlier been talking on The Nation to freelance journalist Karl Du Fresne who’d penned an article entitled ‘RNZ must right its lean to the left.’ Karl’s position was that there was strong evidence of endemic left wing bias by Radio New Zealand interviewers and he cited Kim Hill, Kathryn Ryan and Mary Wilson as examples.
I don’t agree with Karl’s thesis any more than I agreed with those who claimed right-wing bias on the part of the media when Helen Clark was running the country. Journalists have, in my view, an obligation to call to account whichever political party or coalition holds the reins of power, to be, if you like, an informal opposition.
Anyway, when I got home, I watched Susan Wood interviewing David Shearer and Nikki Kaye.
So did I think Susan Wood was ‘terrific’? Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on March 6th, 2013
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.
Posted by BE on October 15th, 2012
One of the pleasures of our daily morning walk around Ponsonby/Herne Bay is stopping and chatting to other locals enjoying their long blacks and flat whites outside the numerous restaurants and cafes. Politics is the most popular topic with left and right more or less equally represented. There are few arguments and, remarkably, few disagreements. While we each have our loyalties and preferences, none of us is one-eyed. This also goes some way to explaining why Michelle Boag and I rarely disagree when we’re on Jim Mora’s Panel. Reasonably intelligent people… an example of false modesty, since I actually think I’m hugely intelligent and Michelle is quite smart … reasonably intelligent people are likely to agree on most things.
Until recently the talk has been around David Shearer’s leadership of the Labour Party and his chances of being our next Prime Minister. The left/right consensus has been that Shearer is the wrong man for the job, but if he survives beyond mid-2013, he’s likely to get it anyway. A Labour-led coalition will win by default.
But the really interesting development among the Ponsonby/Herne Bay political intelligentsia is the number of right-wingers who expect John Key to stand down in the middle of next year. While I’m not going to risk $5 on iPredict, I’m reasonably sure there’s a more than 50:50 chance that they’re right. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on August 14th, 2012
On December 7 of last year, around the time the Labour Caucus was considering which of the two Davids, Shearer or Cunliffe, would make the best leader for the party, I wrote a post entitled ‘Shearer or Cunliffe? Why I’ve changed my mind.’ The post basically said that I’d initially thought Shearer was the man for the job, but I no longer thought so.
Well, that’s almost nine months ago, a reasonable gestation period one might have thought for the most diffident political butterfly to emerge from the chrysalis of anonymity. But it hasn’t happened. David Shearer has been branded ‘invisible’ by the commentators, while his opposite number, John Key, continues to bask in the warm sun of electoral approval.
I understand that the Labour Caucus is meeting today and that there may be mutterings about a recent speech in which Mr Shearer made an unfortunate reference to beneficiary ‘bludgers’ – not a term that normally sits comfortably on the lips of Labour leaders.
Meanwhile, Duncan Garner tells us that David Cunliffe is reviled by his caucus colleagues, who would not elect him leader if he were the last bee in the beehive. That, and convenient changes to the way the Labour Party can dump a non-performing leader, would seem to ensure that Mr Shearer will lead his disciples into the next election.
So is it time for me to change my mind again? I don’t think so. You don’t change your mind when you’re sure you were right in the first place. And I’m pretty sure I was right in the first place. Have another read. See what you think. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on May 26th, 2012
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 »
Posted by BE on May 14th, 2012
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 »
Posted by BE on November 21st, 2011
OK, I’m one of a number of people advising Phil Goff and you’re entitled to think I’m incapable of being objective. So I’ll stick to the demonstrable facts.
I was worried about ‘the worm’. TV3 had made the indefensible decision to allow viewers at home who could afford a particular type of phone to vote on who was winning at any particular time in the debate. ‘Indefensible’ because the owners of those phones would come from a social group much more likely to support National than Labour. They then decided to combine the indefensible with the defensible – an audience of 65 uncommitted voters who would be given meters to record their preference for what each leader was saying during the debate.
Here’s the outcome: for three quarters of the debate, Phil Goff registered approval and John Key disapproval. For one part of the debate, where Goff spoke of the possibility of an arrangement with Peters, the worm favoured Key.
More significantly, the economically-biased ‘rich folks’ worm produced virtually the same result.
Those are the facts. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on November 2nd, 2011
I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m the supermarket shopper in our family. It struck me as a rather nice example of serendipity, when Judy and I got together some 29 years ago, that she hated supermarket shopping and I loved it. It’s always been my view, you see, that women don’t understand the purpose of going to the supermarket, which is not to buy one of each item you need, but to stock up in anticipation of your future needs. What is the earthly point of buying one small can of baked beans when, within a month or less, you will certainly need another can, or quite possibly two? I rest my case.
Anyway, the regularity of my visits to the local supermarket have produced the result that I am reasonably well known there and, I think I can say without exaggeration, know and like several of the staff who know and (seem to) like me.
This accounts for an experience I had about half an hour ago in the aforementioned supermarket. I was approached by a member of the staff who was quite clearly in high dudgeon. This is how the conversation went: Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on August 23rd, 2011
Is John Key such an inspirational leader that he deserves to enjoy the support of 57% of New Zealand voters? Is Phil Goff such a hopeless leader that he deserves the support of only 8% of New Zealand voters? Has the National Party’s record in office been so impressive that it deserves to enjoy the support of 56% of New Zealand voters, including one might surmise, a significant number of Labour defectors? And has the Labour opposition been so feeble that it deserves the support of only 30% of New Zealand voters?
Well, if the polls are right – and there is no great difference between one and another – then the answer to all of these questions would seem to be Yes. But are they right? The extremity of their findings – the adulation of John Key and the seeming invisibility of Phil Goff; National having twice as much support as Labour – seems curious, given the parlous state of the economy, the high level of unemployment and the near-Third-World conditions in which so many of our citizens, both adults and children, are currently living.
As a nation we seem to have closed our eyes to these realities, so dazzled are we by the luminance of the Prime Minister. The mirror image of ourselves as a people which the polls present seems to me less than flattering. Are we really a nation more impressed by style than substance? Are we really that shallow? Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on July 12th, 2010
I’m not finished with Duncan Garner yet. Having just caught up with TV3’s Political Editor hosting Saturday’s (and Sunday’s) The Nation, I’ve got quite a lot more to say about the man whose interviewing skills I dismissed as nonexistent a couple of months ago and whose suitability for his job I have more recently questioned.
On the basis of his showing on The Nation over the weekend, I conclude:
*That Garner is extremely good ‘to camera’. He looks comfortable and relaxed and conveys a natural authority. He ‘comes through the lens’. These are rare enough qualities among television presenters and both TV1 and TV3 currently have newsreaders less professional in their delivery than Garner. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on June 29th, 2010
With more than 100 comments posted , I am putting a full stop to this debate. I will not publish any more comments. Too many contain little more than abuse of one party or the other.
The incontrovertible facts are as follows:
*Garner and Carter had a confrontation in the Auckland Koru Club roughly 11 months ago.
*Carter claims that later, on the plane, Garner said to him: I am going to fucking get you, Carter. If it takes me to Christmas I am going to fucking destroy you.
*Garner responds: I ’swear’ I did not say to Chris, “I am going to fucking get you, if it takes me to Christmas I am going to destroy you.”
*Whatever the actual words used by Garner, they were overheard by Dame Margaret Bazley who was seated directly behind Carter. Dame Margaret was appalled by whatever it was she heard and said to Carter: What a disgraceful man. You don’t have to put up with rubbish like that on a plane, Mr Carter.
We will leave it there.
Posted by BE on June 26th, 2010
It will come as no surprise to readers of this blog that I am no fan of TV3’s Political Editor, Duncan Garner. I have written several posts about him. They include a post on April 7 in which I raised the question: Should TV3 be considering whether their Political Editor is fit to hold the job? I headed the post Duncan Garner on Chris Carter – Journalism or Personal Campaign? I believe I now have the answer to that question and it comes from Garner’s own lips.
But first a little history. It is no secret around Parliament that, roughly 11 months ago, Garner and Carter had a verbal stoush in the Auckland Koru Club. Following the release of the report detailing the 2008 travel expenses of Labour Ministers, Garner had run a TV3 story alleging that Carter was a big-spending Minister whose travel could not be justified in what was essentially a domestic portfolio – Education. The story also referred to Carter’s long-time partner and travelling companion, Peter Kaiser, and included the name of the primary school of which Kaiser is principal.
Not surprisingly, there was bad blood between the two men. Carter and Darren Hughes were in the Koru Club waiting for their flight to Wellington to be called when Garner approached them. He is reported as having said, ‘Travelling on the fucking taxpayer again, Chris.’ Carter told him to ‘fuck off!’ Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on April 7th, 2010
Mark Mitchell/NZ Herald
In returning to the topic of Duncan Garner, I am in danger of being accused of conducting a personal campaign against TV3’s political editor. That would be doubly unfortunate since it is my view that he, and/or TV3, is conducting just such a campaign against Labour ‘s Foreign Affairs spokesman Chris Carter.
On last night’s bulletin, Garner devoted 2’17” – a long item in television terms – to a 2½ week trip Carter will make later this month to Europe. It was the third item in the bulletin, suggesting major significance in that day’s news. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on March 28th, 2010
Watched the second episode of The Nation. Two fairly simple conclusions: Stephen Parker can’t chair; Duncan Garner can’t interview.
Parker was completely unable to rein in Radio Live’s Mitch Harris, who seemed to think that the best form of interview is where the interviewee is not allowed to answer the question.
Garner’s interview with Gerry Brownlee exemplified the scattergun approach to cross-examination where you fire at random in the hope that one of your projectiles will hit the mark.
Duncan’s interview philosophy appears to have three aims: to demonstrate that he is a fearsome interrogator; to show that he is a mate and the equal of the person he is interviewing; and to score a few headlines in tomorrow’s papers. Read the rest of this entry »