Brian Edwards Media

Posts Tagged 'Q&A'

On Shane Taurima and why we don’t want political eunuchs as interviewers.

Fearless Lantern-jawed TV Interviewer 1969

Fearless Lantern-jawed TV Interviewer 1969


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 »


John Banks confuses Q & A with Sesame Street and (unwittingly) insults the good people of Epsom

 On yesterday’s Q&A there was widespread agreement that the voters of Epsom –  the Auckland suburb colourfully described in the programme as ‘home to champagne wishes and caviar dreams’ – were nobody’s fools.  According to former National Party Chairman, John Slater, Epsom voters were ‘intelligent people, politically astute and smart’.

Former Auckland mayoral candidate Colin Craig, leader of the newly formed Conservative Party of New Zealand, agreed:

‘Epsom voters are actually relatively intelligent voters. And I’m not sure they enjoy being taken for granted.’

Christine Fletcher, who won the  seat for National in 1996 with a massive majority, wasn’t sure either. ‘The people of Epsom,’ she said, ‘won’t be told what to do.’

What the people of Epsom are being told to do – by John Key, Don Brash, John Banks and, though not in so many words, by the  National Party candidate, Paul Goldsmith, is to give their electorate vote to ACT’s Mr Banks  and not to Mr Goldsmith, who will get in on the National Party list anyway. That’s if they want to ensure that National stays the Government in November and John Key the Prime Minister.

The polite term for this is ‘strategic voting’. True-blue Epsom voters were reasonably willing to do it in 2008, sending Rodney Hide and ACT back into Parliament with five MPs but only 3.5 percent of the party vote. But a recent Herald poll suggests that for many the ‘champagne wishes and caviar dreams’ may no longer include Mr Banks or ACT.  Read the rest of this entry »


Arrival of “The Nation”













One should welcome the arrival of a second real current affairs show, and I do. It is probably kinder not to review the first episode of any new programme, but TV3’s The Nation made a proficient start on Saturday. Host Stephen Parker was understandably nervous and can be expected to relax into his role in coming weeks.

I have grown to respect Duncan Garner’s down-to-earth, no-nonsense analysis of politics, but his interview with Steven Joyce suggested he was more interested in prospecting for headlines than in cross-examining his guest in any detail. He had too many topics and too few supplementary questions, so that the effect was of someone saying, “Try this on for size then!” in the hope of scoring a newsworthy answer. There were none, and when Garner did persist, he ended up flogging several dead horses. It was clear, for example,  that Joyce was not going to say whether Jim Bolger was going to be sacked from his job as Chairman of KiwiRail, and there was very little point in returning to the question again and again. Joyce is not merely unflappable, he appears to have graduated from the Winston Peters School of Advanced Non-Answering.  Read the rest of this entry »


Sorry, did I talk while you were interrupting?

phpz5ahhcthumbnail1OK, 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!

 Respec’, Metiria!


Co-Leader With Charisma

php1yo2sxthumbnail1Late in 1990 Judy and I were approached by members of the then fledgling Green Party. They wanted to know if we could provide them with media advice during the coming general election. We were not then involved with Labour and said that, yes, this was certainly something we could consider. They were delighted and invited us out to dinner to discuss the matter.

The restaurant we were taken to was, perhaps not surprisingly, modest. But the mainly young people who were our hosts were simply charming and their naïve enthusiasm was infectious. It was agreed that we would provide them with media training and direct their television opening and closing. They were over the moon. Read the rest of this entry »


Shearer & Lee on Q&A








TV One’s Q&A not only continues to provide discursive and intelligent  coverage of New Zealand politics but is making much of the political news itself. Check out the metropolitan press any Monday and you’ll find two or three stories credited to the previous morning’s programme. Journalistically Q&A is putting the papers to shame.

Yesterday’s programme featured Paul Holmes interviewing Wanganui MP Chester Burrows and Wanganui mayor Michael Laws on the legislation brokered by Burrows to ban the wearing of gang patches in the city’s CBD and public areas.  Both are articulate and persuasive advocates of  the new law, but the really interesting thing about the debate was that it revealed an entirely different Michael Laws to the frequently irrational, often hysterical and occasionally crazed columnist in the Sunday Star Times. This Michael Laws was both temperate and rational in his opinions and much the better for it.

What this may demonstrate is a point I make in an earlier blog that balanced opinion is the last thing newspaper editors want from their columnists. Getting up the noses of the hoi polloi sufficiently to provoke them into penning irate letters to the editor is the order of the day. Read the rest of this entry »


They Shoot Designers, Don’t They?

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 »


At Last A Current Affairs Show!

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 »