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 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 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 November 1st, 2011
Well, I won’t keep you in suspense. It wasn’t Goff. And it wasn’t Key. It was you and me – the voting public. We were conned by Television New Zealand into thinking that for an hour-and-a -half last night the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition would debate the serious issues that confront this country, the channel’s Political Editor, Guyon Espiner, would keep order and, by the end of the 90 minutes, we would all be better informed.
We should have learned from history not to trust that promise. Television New Zealand has never treated the Leaders’ Debates as anything more than an entertainment. Its remit to sell audiences to advertisers, its suspicion that viewers are fundamentally uninterested in politics, its conviction that the attention span of the average television consumer is seven minutes tops and its paranoia about doing anything that might bore that viewer into switching channels, all contribute to the entertainment ethos that drives the Leaders’ Debates.
‘Debates’ is of course a misnomer. A real debate requires an extensive exchange of views between the parties. Three or four minutes on a topic, some part of that time spent in an undecipherable cacophony of moderator and leaders talking at once, cannot be called a debate. But that is precisely what TVNZ wants and the programme is structured to ensure that result. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on October 30th, 2011
There’s general agreement that the three televised debates between John Key and Phil Goff scheduled to take place between now and the election could play a significant role in changing voter perceptions of the two contenders.
Television viewers have seen a lot of Goff over the last three years primarily because he has, on principle, made himself available for cross-examination. He regards that as something any politician aspiring to the highest office in the land ought to do. Key, on the other hand, has been largely unavailable for media interviews, preferring, it would seem, to be seen rather than heard. It’s interesting that the video which preceded National’s phoney debate TV opening was a montage of the Prime Minister’s photo ops with famous people.
If the polls are anything to go by, not being available to answer questions is a more effective strategy than being available to answer questions. But it can hardly be described as a more responsible strategy.
The televised debates thus assume a particular importance since they represent the first occasion on which the PM will be available for media interrogation before a large audience and the first occasion, outside Parliament, when we will see him in a face to face encounter with Phil Goff. 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 October 10th, 2009
In a recent post Judy praised Metiria Turei’s performance on last Sunday’s Q & A and had this to say about interviewer Guyon Espiner:
‘The wee fox terrier of politics produced the most appalling exhibition of interruptive interviewing in years.
‘The joy was that his guest, Metiria Turei, had him on toast. She handled the endless, non-stop, verbal diarrhea of interruptions with humour, grace and steely determination. In terms of handling interruptive interviewers, this is a master class.
New Zealand Herald media commentator John Drinnan strongly disagreed. In his column in Friday’s Business Herald he wrote:
‘Last week this column noted Paul Henry’s solid performance on Breakfast interviewing Civil Defence spokesman Colin Feslier over preparations for a potential tsunami. And on Sunday TVNZ political editor Guyon Espiner showed a new edge interviewing Green Party leader Metiria Turei. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by JC on October 4th, 2009
OK, there are interviewers, there are interruptive interviewers and there is Guyon Espiner. This morning on Q+A the wee fox terrier of politics produced the most appalling exhibition of interruptive interviewing in years .
The joy was that his guest, Metiria Turei, had him on toast. She handled the endless, non-stop, verbal diarrhoea of interruptions with humour, grace and steely determination. She waited him out, and she finished what she was going to say. In terms of handling interruptive interviewers, this is a master class!
Posted by JC on April 15th, 2009
I spend most of Q+A with my eyes closed. It’s not that the people are exceptionally ugly, or pull hideous faces, or have annoying tics. It’s just that the moving lines on the background drive me nuts. I can’t concentrate on what anyone is saying; my eyes are riveted on those hypnotic orange stripes. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by BE on March 30th, 2009
The past two weeks have seen the welcome return of Agenda, now renamed Q & A and fronted by Paul Holmes. Holmes is a considerable improvement on previous host Rawdon Christie, who was fine on Dragons’ Den, but completely out of his depth as a political interviewer. But Paul will have to remember that Q & A is not Holmes and not an appropriate vehicle for his personal opinions. His role on our only significant political programme should be as a facilitator – a role in which he is unsurpassed – and not as a contributor to the debate. Read the rest of this entry »