The Dim-Post

August 18, 2015

The trouble with Mike

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 7:02 am

I think the opposition have confused this issue a bit. The problem with Mike Hosking isn’t that he’s biased, or prolific, if he wants to praise National on his talkback show and in Herald columns then that’s just fine. The trouble with Hosking is that TVNZ is the state broadcaster and they’ve created a current affairs show in which the head presenter gives a little speech every night praising the government, with no balance, and that is a deeply weird and sinister thing to happen in a democratic society.

Happy days.

101 Comments »

  1. Ironically, when John Campell would give little speeches every night criticising the Government, with no balance, but was working for a massive media conglomerate, people were cool with that. (I didn’t want to use the word ‘cool’ but you were the one who brought up “Happy Days”)..

    Comment by Lee Clark — August 18, 2015 @ 7:22 am

  2. Firstly, TV3 isn’t the state broadcaster. Second, Campbell had more credibility because he also criticised the Labour government. Thirdly, holding the government to account is vital to democracy, and not holding the government to account is not. Otherwise, great point.

    Comment by danylmc — August 18, 2015 @ 7:44 am

  3. Fourthly, Campbell Live’s “little speeches” were in fact informing the audience that ministers had been invited on to the show, and had refused. Which they were entitled to do, and which the viewers were entitled to know they had done.

    “Balance” is not doing the politicians’ job for them.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — August 18, 2015 @ 8:00 am

  4. As someone else said, our broadcast news and current affairs media at the moment looks like something Putin would recognise, only it all happened without a single journalist disappearing.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 18, 2015 @ 8:00 am

  5. journos are meant to be tough on those in power – propagandists? – not so much

    and for the JC complaint to stick re: hosking – you need to demonstrate the campbell was attacking only those he was ideologically opposed to, regardless of facts or subject

    what staggers me the most about this isnt hoskings bias – its the utter lack of knowing the difference between a journo and a presenter and the dangers of blurring the lines between the two (especially so for politics)

    Comment by framu — August 18, 2015 @ 8:04 am

  6. Ironically, when John Campell would give little speeches every night criticising the Government,

    Firstly, TV3 is not a state owned enterprise.

    And secondly, it is a journalist job to hold to those in power to account. John Campbell criticised a Labour government as much a National government. And when Helen Clark was in power, he didn’t sing her praises every night.

    Comment by eszett — August 18, 2015 @ 8:09 am

  7. Firstly, TV3 isn’t the state broadcaster.

    Time to dump the whole concept then, as it’s only going to be corrupted further by a future left-wing government – which is to say that it will be converted into Radio New Zealand With Video. Admittedly it’s not worth much now and will be worth less in the near future, so flogging it is probably not possible.

    … because he also criticised the Labour government.

    From a left-wing perspective.

    Thirdly, holding the government to account is vital to democracy, and not holding the government to account is not.

    Same again. Holding the government to account against a left-wing standard, with only the occasional forays into the usual managerial or political incompetence, is not actually the same thing as what your statement implies.

    In any case, for all the blather of ownership bias and editorial bias, it’s the journalists daily narrative that shines through, which is why the privately owned TV3 often comes across as more left-wing than the state broadcaster. According to the theories espoused here the NZ Herald should be doing screamingly well with right-wing readers, whereas they appear to be in the forefront of subscription dumping and simply not reading it. Similarly with TV1/TV3. Perhaps Hosking is an attempt to lure them back?

    Comment by tom hunter — August 18, 2015 @ 8:11 am

  8. I was trying to post this earlier from my phone but couldnt get it to work so excuse me if this gets through twice.

    It’s all very well to take your position however did you happen to listen to National Radio yesterday afternoon when there was what seemed like an international socialist party convention taking place. The English guest, ably assisted by the NZ guest, was gushing about the rebirth of socialism in the UK due to Corbyn running for the UK Labour party leadership, I think its fair to say the general thrust of the messaging was hard left. I’d like to say this type of thing is atypical for National Radio but it’s not. National Radio is a state broadcaster.

    Comment by Richard Williams — August 18, 2015 @ 8:12 am

  9. But the real problem with Hosking isn’t that he’s right-wing. It is that he lacks the most basic requirement for people employed to find out what is going on and tell the public: curiosity.

    A journalist’s instinctive approach should be “Something’s going on, and I want to know what.” This has nothing to do with being left/right, although naturally when National are in power the questioning is more likely to sound “left”. But Hosking already knows what’s going on. He knows everything, and he is utterly unaware of the possibility that he doesn’t. His blissful certainty means he has no need to ask the questions.

    He’s not a baddie because he’s “right-wing”, he’s just rubbish at current affairs. He talks. He reckons stuff. That’s all he needs. But it’s not what the public need from his employer.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — August 18, 2015 @ 8:22 am

  10. Thank you for your response Danyl, however, it was actually a veiled critique of your writing style, not the points you raised because I honestly didn’t think you were being serious. I think I’ll just go back to my corner.

    Comment by Lee Clark — August 18, 2015 @ 8:23 am

  11. “when John Campell would give little speeches every night criticising the Government”

    Rubbish. There was no equivalent of Hosking’s nightly soapbox.

    Hosking and Henry are just the self-regarding monkeys up front. It is the editors and producers who allow this stuff who need pressure to mend their ways. If media do not want to behave like journalists, then let’s strip the legal privileges and access they get by invoking the term.

    Comment by Sacha — August 18, 2015 @ 8:27 am

  12. TVNZ is not a state broadcaster. It’s a commercial broadcaster that happens to be owned by the state. Nearly all of its revenue comes from commercials.

    In this country (and with the exception of Radio New Zealand) public broadcasting dollars are doled out across all broadcasters through NZ on Air.

    Hosking gets lattitude because he rates well and, in a free market of ideas, that’s what counts.

    But it is weird how so much special pleading goes on in defence of John Campbell, whose various exemptions from Leftwing pieties usually seems to boil down to being a case of “that’s different!”

    Comment by Liam H — August 18, 2015 @ 8:42 am

  13. TVNZ is not a state broadcaster. It’s a commercial broadcaster that happens to be owned by the state.

    Silly me.

    Comment by danylmc — August 18, 2015 @ 8:43 am

  14. > Firstly, TV3 isn’t the state broadcaster. Second, Campbell had more credibility because he also criticised the Labour government. Thirdly, holding the government to account is vital to democracy, and not holding the government to account is not. Otherwise, great point.

    Firstly and thirdly, the state broadcaster has very little bearing on the matter. TV One is not a public broadcaster only – it does both commericial and public broadcasting (not entirely sure how that works, but still). Seven Sharp’s job is not to be some kind of democracy-saving let’s-hold-the-government-to-account investigative news journalism. Seven Sharp is basically an extended half-hour of the old final news story of the night, the equivalent of “And now, a raccoon on a skateboard!”. It’s a commercial program with commercial aspirations. If Hosking were pretending to be some hard-hitting journalist holding the government to account, then maybe. But he’s an entertainer only. And there are no rules about entertainers supporting the government or not.

    Secondly, Hosking has said many times that he approved of Helen Clark. Did he actually shit all over the last labour government? I don’t actually recall, but nor do I really remember him doing so.

    Fourthly – I would ask, seriously, whether you would hold the same opinion if it were someone other than Mike Hosking doing a 5 minute rant, if the rant were about how great the Greens were, for instance. Would I really see you and others complaining? I highly doubt it.

    Look, I don’t like the guy – he’s an entitled shitbag. But he’s entitled to his opinions, and he’s entitled to air them, and there’s nothing abnormal at all about him airing them on a TV show like Seven Sharp. He like the National government – so what? Plenty of people don’t, and they air their opinions all the time on TV and in papers – take Dita De Boni, for instance. She wouldn’t have a nice thing to say about conservatives if they cured cancer. Where would the complaints be if the situation was reversed?

    Comment by nightform — August 18, 2015 @ 8:47 am

  15. it is weird how so much special pleading goes on in defence of John Campbell

    I’d defend any journalist who tries to do the job. Again, that IS the difference, however much you cling to the false analogy.

    What’s really weird is how these discussions take place on a media island, as if none of us ever consumed international news, or even read books. We do actually have some idea about how this reporting lark can be done. Like Paul Henry who failed in Australia, Hosking would fail anywhere in the world he was asked to work on news and current affairs. Because he doesn’t.

    Comment by sammy 3.0 — August 18, 2015 @ 8:51 am

  16. A journalist’s instinctive approach should be “Something’s going on, and I want to know what.”

    That gets to the heart of what modern journalistic bias is all about; not the blatant cribbing of a Hosking or Campbell, but the simple choice of which stories are “newsworthy” and which are not.

    I’ve long ago given up on the idea that journalists will follow their nose, although admittedly I pay far greater attention to US media than to our local weedy variant. As such I could identify any number of US stories that, by any reasonable measure of “news”, should have had the media all over them for days or weeks on end, but which provided plenty of ammunition for those who attack left-wing institutions, ideas or politicians (or activist groups), and as such, were buried under the rubric of “editorial judgement”. And their have been plenty of stories of which the exact opposite was true.

    If media do not want to behave like journalists, then let’s strip the legal privileges and access they get by invoking the term.

    I could not agree more. I dream of the day when some “reporter” from Dimpost/Kiwiblog/Public Address, gets the opportunity to attend the PM’s press conference to ask some real questions. Similarly I’d love it if a future US President simply turfed out the standard crowd of timeserving hacks and Democrat operatives-with-bylines at the WH Press Conference and went with an all-blogger crowd. I’m sure Maddow could do better than the craptastic hacks I see there at the moment: I’ll allow for Jake Tapper, who appears to be the only actual journalist present at the moment.

    Comment by tom hunter — August 18, 2015 @ 8:58 am

  17. Would we be happy if Hosking was criticising the government from a right-wing perspective?

    Comment by kalvarnsen — August 18, 2015 @ 9:05 am

  18. too many people are forgetting that its not just the bias – its the bias + the air time + the saturation coverage + the way modern political PR works

    yeah were all entitled to our opinions – but if your going to be put front and center, everywhere, to regularly comment about those in power – you better have A) some professional ethics, B) speak from a position of facts and knowledge C) exercise responsibility and D) actually know what a journalist is meant to be

    Comment by framu — August 18, 2015 @ 9:06 am

  19. Yes, silly you. It’s neither funded by the state nor a licensing fee and it operates at arm’s length from the state. It is a commercial proposition. You make it sound like TVNZ is TASS.

    I don’t really watch the show, but I do clearly remember reading that Hosking got the job because the previous Seven Sharp ratings were struggling and that things were really turned around under his tenure.

    What you may see on your Facebook wall or Twitter feed notwithstanding, there’s not a lot of data suggesting that the people at large have soured on the government in any material way. Perhaps when that does happen – as it inevitably will – Hosking will come under real pressure because it’s likely he would then be pushing viewers away. Until then, however, it’s hardly surprising that somebody who generally positive about the direction of the country will rate higher than somebody who thinks New Zealand has become a Dickensian dystopia.

    Comment by Liam H — August 18, 2015 @ 9:09 am

  20. klaqv – i would be happier if we stopped calling hosking a journalist (not saying your doing this – but its a common thing all of a sudden pretty much everwhere)

    Comment by framu — August 18, 2015 @ 9:09 am

  21. “there’s not a lot of data suggesting that the people at large have soured on the government in any material way.”

    – golly, its almost as if they have someone regularly saying how awesome they are isnt it

    Comment by framu — August 18, 2015 @ 9:11 am

  22. its the bias + the air time + the saturation coverage + the way modern political PR works

    Oh yes! Those are the keys alright.

    Funnily enough there’s a (so far minor) controversy brewing in the US, where supporters of Bernie Sanders have been talking about the links between the various #BlackLivesMatter groups and George Soros, and the fact that the former are yet to turn up at an HRC event to disrupt it so their voices can be heard.

    You’d think that would be a story worthy of a number of journalists following their noses on – but so far nothing. We will see what happens if the Sanders-Clinton gap closes further: The Nation? MotherJones?

    Comment by tom hunter — August 18, 2015 @ 9:17 am

  23. Yes, silly you. It’s neither funded by the state nor a licensing fee and it operates at arm’s length from the state. It is a commercial proposition. You make it sound like TVNZ is TASS.

    Oh, you didn’t pick up on my dripping irony. It was built up by state funding for many decades, the taxpayers are liable for its losses and its governence is decided by the government. It’s a state broadcaster.

    Comment by danylmc — August 18, 2015 @ 9:20 am

  24. If its was sold, then, apart from its ultimate ownership, what would really change? Maybe it wouldn’t have to run election year party political broadcasts – something that it already is desperately trying to get out of because they get in the way of it making money. It’s a commercial broadcaster.

    Comment by Liam H — August 18, 2015 @ 9:29 am

  25. If its was sold, then, apart from its ultimate ownership, what would really change?

    The board would no longer be appointed by the government!

    Comment by danylmc — August 18, 2015 @ 9:33 am

  26. Yeah – it would be appointed by the shareholders. And as with any company, the board would be bound to act in the best interests of the enterprise and not the owners – as is the case with the current TVNZ board.

    Comment by Liam H — August 18, 2015 @ 9:36 am

  27. It’s kinda funny that Danyl is criticising Hosking for playing the game, when yesterday he was criticising the Greens for not playing the game.

    News is not about facts. It’s about emotions. And political parties, while they exist to create policies that change reality, must do it through the medium of emotion-creation, using people like Hosking and Gower and Garner. This is why National are so successful – they map out our hearts before they go forward.

    We don’t set the rules, and we cannot be disappointed. We had the opportunity to do so, but Cullen decided that TVNZ’s revenue stream was worth more than having a state broadcaster. Probably the biggest mistake of their entire 9 years in government.

    Comment by Moses — August 18, 2015 @ 9:37 am

  28. Wait a minute – I thought you were skeptical of public choice theory? I suppose “it’s different” in this case.

    Comment by Liam H — August 18, 2015 @ 9:38 am

  29. So if the government changed Labour could sack the board, stack it with flunkies and have Labour party flacks in the newsrooms censoring and rewriting every news story and that’d be fine, because it isn’t a ‘state broadcaster’?

    Comment by danylmc — August 18, 2015 @ 9:40 am

  30. where supporters of Bernie Sanders have been talking about the links between the various #BlackLivesMatter groups and George Soros, and the fact that the former are yet to turn up at an HRC event to disrupt it so their voices can be heard.

    That sounds about as legit as the “Trump is a false-flag operation being run by the Clinton camp” theory.

    Comment by Phil — August 18, 2015 @ 9:43 am

  31. The problem isn’t that he’s biased, or prolific and with no balance. And it isn’t that he’s on the state channel. It’s that he is deceitful (or at best exceedingly incompetent).

    Face it, the truth has a left-wing bias.

    Comment by Korakys — August 18, 2015 @ 9:44 am

  32. I find it disturbing that Little and Shaw are backing Peters.

    His attack Hosking is just his usual anti-media schtick he does in every interview. He’s always portraying himself as the peoples voice fighting journalists to have the truth be told.

    It’s not a bandwagon anyone else should get on.

    Little and Shaw didn’t make these criticisms of Campbell – opinionated and biased. And it’s a bit much to have Little trying to determine what objective is.

    Personally, I don’t watch Hosking just as I didn’t watch Campbell but it seems to me whether one has a positive or negative view of them has a lot to do with where you are on the political spectrum and everyone chains their view is objective and based objectively on what journalism and the truth are.

    Comment by NeilM — August 18, 2015 @ 9:50 am

  33. It would depend if the flunkies abused their power to dictate the political content of programming. Is that what’s happening with the current board?

    Comment by Liam H — August 18, 2015 @ 9:52 am

  34. It would depend if the flunkies abused their power to dictate the political content of programming

    No it wouldn’t. That would simply be an awful outcome for the country no matter how it came about.

    Comment by danylmc — August 18, 2015 @ 9:53 am

  35. “As someone else said, our broadcast news and current affairs media at the moment looks like something Putin would recognise, only it all happened without a single journalist disappearing.”

    Damn, they were going to snatch you this morning. You were supposed to be in the same group as John Campbell, John Roughan and John Armstrong. Typical public service, can’t organise a piss up in a brewery

    Comment by Tinakori — August 18, 2015 @ 10:01 am

  36. No question it would be an awful outcome, that’s not the same thing as saying it’s a state broadcaster.

    To be more precise, it’s not “state media” because it’s funded by the sale of advertising and not public funds. It’s also not a “public broadcaster” because it’s primary objective is to make money.

    Now you might make the public choice theory argument that because the government, as the present owner, appoints the directors those directors would exercise their discretion to manipulate public opinion in favour of the governing party – but I think in this case there’s probably a simpler explanation.

    Comment by Liam H — August 18, 2015 @ 10:22 am

  37. In terms of Hosking’s TV prominent role on state TV my view is it should be viewed in the overall media context.

    And there isn’t exactly a dearth of criticism of the govt or of left wing views.

    I think all one can expect is have a broad range of opinions across the media spectrum and have to put up with the individual situation of prominent bias. And any remedy for that might not work out well given that it would be driven by politicians who have such a grip on objectivity.

    My personal problem with journalist/pundits is they mostly all say exactly the same thing time and time again. There’re so predictable I don’t find a reason to read them.

    Comment by NeilM — August 18, 2015 @ 10:23 am

  38. I don’t watch or listen to any of this crap, which is what you need to do. If you don’t like what you’re seeing or hearing, turn it off. What’s wrong with you that you can’t just switch the dial? MSM has nothing anyway. Once you turn it off, you’ll realise it was all bullshit anyway. Same goes for Radio New Zealand. Just switch the whole damn system off. They only keep doing what they’re doing because you’re tuning in.

    Comment by Redbaiter — August 18, 2015 @ 10:26 am

  39. I think its fair to say the general thrust of the messaging was hard left. I’d like to say this type of thing is atypical for National Radio but it’s not.

    You must miss mysteriously miss all the daily stuff with Espiner and Jim Mora then.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 18, 2015 @ 10:27 am

  40. You must miss mysteriously miss all the daily stuff with Espiner and Jim Mora then.

    I’ve occasionally come across their meanderings when crossing the car radio channels and neither one has struck me as being hard-left.

    But they’ve not come across as being ideologically right-wing either. Since I don’t listen to either on a regular or lengthy basis perhaps you’d be willing to provide some examples of their right-wing take on things – or is it merely their sin that they’re not left-wing enough?

    Comment by tom hunter — August 18, 2015 @ 10:34 am

  41. I find it disturbing that Little and Shaw are backing Peters.

    Concern-trolls be concern-trolling. It’s boring, NeilM.

    Deeply. Boring.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 18, 2015 @ 10:34 am

  42. Fourth Estate, wasn’t John Cambell fair and impartial and bought balance to the debate, sadly, he was TV3 s champion of the people often keeping the coercive power of the State Broadcaster in check, what’s even more ironic is that he has been replaced by an ex TVNZ reporter running stories on the same format. Didn’t one of JKs mates secure a top position at TV3 then like Hudini Cambell disappeared, if the was any real justice Cambell should have taken the 7 spot at TVNZ.

    Comment by Woz — August 18, 2015 @ 10:37 am

  43. Peters’ attack on Hosking will be good for both of them. Peters has picked a fight with a prominent and popular media personality and will get huge coverage of the sort he likes. There’s no interest in it for him in any real debate about the role of the media in democracy.

    And then one gets Little and Shaw running along behind because they don’t wont Peters to get all the attention.

    Comment by NeilM — August 18, 2015 @ 10:39 am

  44. @ tom hunter – whether they a hold explicitly right wing positions or not is immaterial.

    I was pointing out that the notion of “hard left” commentary (whatever that is; Maoist? Syndicalist?) not being atypical on RNZ is silly, given that there is generally quite a broad spectrum of opinion across various shows, mostly centre-left / social democrat in tone with the occasional Blairite homilies from Mora’s guests like Pagani, with plenty of airtime for other political operatives like Hooton and Farrar, regardless of their axe to grind.

    RNZ have never seemed to have been shy in holding the govt. of the day to account, particularly the no-shows by Ministers.
    Whether Ministers turn up is more reflective of whether they regard RNZ’s audience as relevant.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 18, 2015 @ 10:49 am

  45. Perhaps I should just go back to this quote …

    … and that is a deeply weird and sinister thing to happen in a democratic society.

    … and ask whether this really matters, in the sense of viewership and influence?

    I’m familiar with Campbell because he was the dominant current affairs guy when I still watched this stuff over a decade ago. I’m barely aware of Hosking but from what I’ve seen the support he gives to National seems to be little more than a bloke hug. In other words there does not seem to be much ideological thinking or argument present at all.

    As such he may well swing to Labour, should another competent leader appear in its ranks. A longer version of the 24-hour news cycle of cats up trees?

    Actually, should that not be the real concern here? That Hosking is perceived as helping National because he’s a “celebrity”? Is this all just part of the Trump/Obama race to the bottom for Western politics: a layer of puffery on top of an emotional sea with no real, substantive ideas or arguments present on either side, nor wanted?

    Comment by tom hunter — August 18, 2015 @ 10:54 am

  46. …plenty of airtime for other political operatives like Hooton and Farrar, regardless of their axe to grind ..

    Farrah appears occasionally on The Panel and Hooton gets his 15 minutes a week on The Week in Politics and …

    …. mostly centre-left / social democrat in tone with the occasional Blairite homilies …

    Such breadth!

    Comment by tom hunter — August 18, 2015 @ 10:59 am

  47. Farrah appears occasionally on The Panel and Hooton gets his 15 minutes a week on The Week in Politics and …

    What’s your point, tom?
    It’s not like RNZ is a 24hr Marxist propaganda machine. Not much of the content is overtly political. Only a minute percentage of that could possibly categorised as ‘hard left’.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 18, 2015 @ 11:05 am

  48. “little more than a bloke hug.” –

    That is full of inaccuracies and propaganda that gets repeated across all the channels and mediums hes given air time on –
    With the result being many consider him a journo whos views are based on facts and research just because of the saturation exposure
    IE: his poor knowledge, narrow world view and outright lies, become the truth in many peoples eyes which then influences how they think about society and govt – and what they then expect from the media re: adequate and proper journalism..
    Which becomes a self reinforcing feedback loop because of ratings, which then drives the whole sorry state of things lower with each turn of the handle

    im pretty sure thats the actual concern for many – it is for me

    Comment by framu — August 18, 2015 @ 11:15 am

  49. Lets take today’s schedule for example:

    12am-6am – Music and nightbird stuff that no-one listens to
    6am-9am – 30m of news, bookedended by the incredibly socialist Rural and Sports news, and a newspaper roundup
    9am-12pm – Potentially Kathryn Ryan reading verbatim from the Communist Manifest, likely not though
    1pm-4pm – Jessie Mulligan rabbiting on, but generally not a petri dish of Pinko ideas
    4pm-5pm – Jim Mora rambling about some shit
    5pm-7pm – Mary Wilson covers topical stuff ***RED ALERT!***
    7pm-10pm – Stultifying guff from Bryan Crump
    10pm-11pm – Late news that no-one listens to
    11pm-12pm – The shed, Anarcho-Syndicalist music show

    Comment by Gregor W — August 18, 2015 @ 11:16 am

  50. @Moses “It’s kinda funny that Danyl is criticising Hosking for playing the game, when yesterday he was criticising the Greens for not playing the game.

    Yeah, but the Greens are a political party. Hosking is purportedly a journalist.

    Comment by RJL — August 18, 2015 @ 11:23 am

  51. I admire all you guys who try to engage in a discussion about this because everything in our current media environment is designed not to – since National got elected in 2008. It’s like with Trump – he’s the winner, and everyone disagreeing the jealous winging loser. And anyone disagreeing with the National Government or god forbid trying to talk facts or values is left. Far left. And left is bad. Negative. Move on, be positive. Make money – the only value that matters.
    I am following politics for 45 years, never have I seen such a bias media in a so called democratic country as in NZ since 2008. I grew up near the fence to East Germany, I could tune into their broadcasts and their messaging was just as one-sided as what we have here now.
    The entire MSM is bias, really really scarily bias. Hosking is just one of the ‘useful idiots’, flat and shallow, doing what’s expected for the money. And yes, only under a National Government can I guy like that get a job like that with our state broadcaster.
    But – with all the coverage he gets, on radio and TV and in the papers, enough people are listening and adopting his simplified slogans as ‘that’s just how things are’ and vote accordingly.

    Comment by Martin-L — August 18, 2015 @ 11:35 am

  52. Ironically, when John Campell would give little speeches every night criticising the Government, with no balance

    So holding the Government to account is a no-no? To be fair, National MPs were often invited onto the show but seldom turned up.

    Comment by Ross — August 18, 2015 @ 11:46 am

  53. … and ask whether this really matters, in the sense of viewership and influence?

    I have a similarly skeptical view on how the media influences public opinion. I don’t think it does much, or if it does at times not in the way political parties and their supporters think.

    Fortunately and unfortunately people are to a degree contrary and immune to influence and I suspect know an entertaining loud mouth when they see one.

    That said I think it overall better to have a diversity of opinion and do have a residual belief in the media holding politicians to account even though the truth to power speakers often don’t give me the impression they’d put up with a lot of dissent if they were in power.

    Comment by NeilM — August 18, 2015 @ 12:03 pm

  54. I couldn’t give a toss about Mike Hosking’s personal politics. I do get riled, though, by his habit of having an opinion then looking for data that he can interpret as supporting his point of view, while ignoring data that undermines it. I know he says he isn’t a journalist but he’s in a job that’s dealing with facts and opinion and he badly needs to get the ‘facts’ bit right.

    Comment by Ataahua — August 18, 2015 @ 12:11 pm

  55. Well, who would want to turn up on a show with Campbell ? He asks stupid loaded questions, constantly interrupts answers (except Greens, gives them patsies and shuts up), sneers, edited interviews against those he didn’t like, has zero ethics as regards journalism, and was typically an entitled arrogant tosser with no redeeming features. But he had the “right” political slant so he was OK !

    And Danyl, didn’t notice the sarcasm above, but the dripping was pretty obvious.

    Comment by Ed Snack — August 18, 2015 @ 12:15 pm

  56. That is full of inaccuracies and propaganda that gets repeated across all the channels and mediums hes given air time on –
    With the result being many consider him a journo whos views are based on facts and research just because of the saturation exposure
    IE: his poor knowledge, narrow world view and outright lies …

    Implication: that left-wing journalists like John Campbell:
    – are not inaccurate
    – do not indulge in propaganda
    – do not get much air time
    – base their views on facts and research (Ideology, prejudice, bigotry? For shame sir)
    – have great knowledge (all those books and edumacation via Pilger and company)
    – have a wide world view &@((#kdjdlkwehflkwhfewlkfjweq …

    Sorry, started laughing so much at that last one I had to stop typing.

    With such a farcical Black Hat/White Hat view of the world, I’m not surprised that Hoskings drives you into a carpet-biting rage.

    I suspect Hoskings knows at least that much.

    “narrow world view” Fuck me, that’s a keeper.

    Comment by tom hunter — August 18, 2015 @ 12:16 pm

  57. What’s interesting is the blurring of the journalist’s role. Hosking seems to be saying that it’s fine for him to express whatever views he likes, because he doesn’t pretend to be a journalist (and therefore fair/balanced/systematically based upon fact). He’s a *broadcaster* rather than a journalist, and not bound by prissy journalistic conventions, so his job is to broadcast stuff – it doesn’t really matter what that stuff is. Media across the board have been altering the balance between journalism/reporting and opinion for a long time now. The Independent in the UK was one of the earlier conscious shifts towards a “viewspaper” rather than newspaper in the 1990s. And the Guardian is stuffed with predictable and tedious opinion pieces (along with the genuinely interesting ones, which seem to be decreasing as a proportion of the total). I think the shift towards less traditional journalism and more recycling ill informed blather probably applies across the political spectrum, though by volume and prominence in the schedules there’s probably more right wing flavour in NZ. Personally I haven’t owned a TV for nearly 15 years, and would rather gnaw my arm off rather than watch TV for current affairs.

    Comment by Dr Foster — August 18, 2015 @ 12:19 pm

  58. Only a minute percentage of that could possibly categorised as ‘hard left’.

    I’m not concerned about “The Hard-Left” (these days, who is?), although I can appreciate that they’d hate that lineup as well.

    As much as I can laugh at Framu’s view of things, it actually may not be so different from my own (or perhaps anybody’s) view of the world, in that I regularly trashed Campbell for much the same things, especially … “poor knowledge, narrow world view… – unless you assume that reading Pilger and Chomsky but not Hayek, Mises, or Coase amounts to gaining a broad-view of the world.

    It’s not like RNZ is a 24hr Marxist propaganda machine. Not much of the content is overtly political.

    The key is that word – “overtly”. But you’re comparing it with Pravda? Really? We’re not talking reductio ad absurdum here. In any case, as I said, the bias is as much in choosing which stories will be covered and which will be ignored.

    What’s your point, tom?

    I pay taxes to support this crap, yet I see my right-wing ideas and views given short fucking shrift on NatRad, let alone TVNZ, unless as a punchline, which is doubtless how it’s Daily Show audience wishes it to be. The natural order of things of which clapter is the supreme achievement (I can just imagine the pursed lips, sniggering and chuckles that previous line will have invoked), so my reaction to all this left-wing whining and crying about a lightweight like Hoskings is pretty much, “Meh”!

    Decades ago PBS produced Free To Choose: I cannot imagine them doing something similar now, and I can’t imagine NatRad ever doing it. I was living in the US in the 1990’s and heard about a TV show in NZ called Revolution, that apparently annoyed a lot of left-wingers as right-wing propaganda. When I eventually saw it years later, it struck me as having talked to people from both sides, and if it did covertly promote the view that Rogernomics was needed, I’d say that was a rarity in a sea of nostalgic longings from the likes of Brian Edwards and company. Certainly on the rare occasions I’ve glanced at boredcast TV it’s all consumerist fluff, and I can see the argument being made that this is the ultimate triumph of the right-wing in media world.

    But as far as ideas are concerned, the debates about them, their implementation, and alternatives, I see far more left-leaning than right-leaning stuff being promulgated, whether “overtly” or covertly. I would not object to 1 hour of Chomsky or Pilger droning on, if it meant I could have one hour of even an old recording of Mises or Freidman, dead as they are, or Michael Totten on the journalistic angle.

    Now that would be a traditional radio / TV media source I could support. Unfortunately I think that world is gone forever and we’re looking at internet-based, narrow-cast stuff from which one will cherry pick.

    Comment by tom hunter — August 18, 2015 @ 12:28 pm

  59. I recall when Campbell turned up on RNZ in the Saturday morning slot.

    Didn’t really know much about him but his fawning interviews with people like Chomsky quickly gave me an impression of his political leanings.

    My thoughts were at the time that the Left is slightly more diverse than Fisk, Pilger, Greenwald etc.

    He’s got as much bias and as anyone else and is not above using a position of power to promote his personal views.

    He did some good with his TV show but he also pushed his own barrows.

    Don’t quite know where I’m going here, perhaps if we’re taking about diversity I’d like to see a diversity of left wing opinions.

    Comment by NeilM — August 18, 2015 @ 12:32 pm

  60. thanks for shoving a pile of shit in my mouth tom

    Comment by framu — August 18, 2015 @ 1:01 pm

  61. @NeilM: “I have a similarly skeptical view on how the media influences public opinion.

    You would view of utter ignorance then. Inform yourself about how propaganda and/or advertising works.

    Comment by RJL — August 18, 2015 @ 1:01 pm

  62. In any case, as I said, the bias is as much in choosing which stories will be covered and which will be ignored.

    Except you didn’t make that point, although I totally agree with you.
    Case in point, Mike Hoskings editorialising masquerading as journalism. Saying that, IIRC, Hoskings himself has gone to some lengths to point out that he isn’t a journo, so…

    I pay taxes to support this crap…

    Well whoop-de-fucking-do!
    Welcome to democracy – where everyone get’s to pay for shit they don’t like.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 18, 2015 @ 1:16 pm

  63. Case in point, Mike Hoskings editorialising masquerading as journalism.

    As if Campbell didn’t, just like most other “journalists” nowadays.

    I must admit that we right-wingers are succeeding in one key aspect of this debate; since we’re unable to get right-wing ideas or arguments presented, we’re more than happy to do what the Punks did and trash the whole fucking thing.

    thanks for shoving a pile of shit in my mouth tom

    There’s a thought. Years of slowly Kardashiafying a left-wing institution, though I’d suggest it’s more like being a waiter at some stuck-up, snotty party and dropping a turd in the punchbowl.

    Now on to NatRad.

    Comment by tom hunter — August 18, 2015 @ 1:43 pm

  64. so your not done with being a jerk just yet it seems.

    and the punks trashed nothing – not even GG allen

    Comment by framu — August 18, 2015 @ 1:49 pm

  65. …and the punks trashed nothing …

    Oh I don’t know Framu, they effectively trashed the traditional British Left wing when they cranked up in ’76/77 and spat on all the institutions that were supposed to have taken them from the cradle to the grave, years before Maggie even became the leader of the Conservative Party.

    Market forces my boy. Market forces.

    Comment by tom hunter — August 18, 2015 @ 1:56 pm

  66. Thank you Martin L. As someone who also emigrated from Europe, I find it very hard to not be constantly angry at the state of affairs in media/journalism in NZ. Is this an Anglo thing? The complete rubbish and biased drivel that we are supposed to just accept?

    In little Denmark – pop 5.5mio – there are 4 or 5 serious daily broadsheet papers, and long in-depth interviews and analysis on the news (which isn’t interrupted by ads). Neither print nor tv/radio media are driven by heartstrings/hip pockets journalism – that stuff is relegated to the tabloids.

    Mike H would not get even a 2min slot anywhere in Scandinavia, unless he bought it as ad space. He’s a jaded buffoon, bored to death with himself and life, except when JK is there or when he can go on one of his tirades.

    We really do deserve better, but I think it would take a huge shift, not just in the media, but in what NZ citizens accept.

    Comment by madsnaeraa — August 18, 2015 @ 1:57 pm

  67. your making even less sense than when you started

    Comment by framu — August 18, 2015 @ 2:01 pm

  68. There isn’t so much a free market of ideas, as there is a cartel/monopoly of ideas. Anyone can voice an opinion, but it takes money and connections to make it heard far and wide and have meaningful influence – in other words, the best free speech money can buy. The Internet hasn’t proven to be the much-touted leveller of the playing field… yet.

    As for Hosking himself, he isn’t so much the issue, rather he doesn’t have a matching counterweight, so he can basically get away with dressing up propaganda as journalism. It’s a bit like Sean Hannity fronting NPR or PBS, or Lord Monckton or Andy Coulson fronting the BBC.

    Comment by Kumara Republic (@kumararepublic) — August 18, 2015 @ 2:31 pm

  69. What hasn’t been addressed is the connection between Hosking’s editorial agenda and his personal wealth/self-image. National are the “party of the rich” and Hosking the highest paid current affairs presenter in the country (AFAIK). It is clear that he considers his success to be the deserved result of his singular hard work, talent and intelligence. Of course you can be well paid and not be sycophant but it is much easier to accept the neolib orthodoxy kool aid when you’re a 1%er with a Ferrari and 2 lucrative salaries (both of them much higher than 99% of his audience, and not to mention odd jobs on the side for Sky City).

    For Hosking to criticise National’s ideology would be to criticise the very fundament of his own self belief. He has constructed himself in the image of what success looks like in the neoliberal age and any attack on National would be tantamount to an attack on the righteousness of his deserved position in society.

    Now I’m not saying you can’t be well paid and not be sycophant but it is much easier to accept the neolib orthodoxy kool aid when you’re a 1%er. And much harder to challenge it when this means biting the hands that feed and pet you…

    Of course Campbell is well-paid also and this hasn’t prevented him attacking the government, because his self-image is not about his wealth or material success, but to his competence, professional regard and journalistic ethics. It also hasn’t prevented Key’s mates at mediaworks from canning him.

    Happy Days indeed

    Comment by nommopilot — August 18, 2015 @ 2:55 pm

  70. oops excuse the cut & paste fail

    Comment by nommopilot — August 18, 2015 @ 2:57 pm

  71. Anyone can voice an opinion, but it takes money and connections to make it heard far and wide and have meaningful influence – in other words, the best free speech money can buy. The Internet hasn’t proven to be the much-touted leveller of the playing field… yet

    I think Pete spoke to this more than three decades ago …

    Anyone can have an opinion
    Anyone can join in and jump
    Anyone can pay or just stay away
    Anyone can crash and thump

    But did you read the stuff that Julie said?
    Or little Jimmy with his hair dyed red?
    They don’t give a shit Keith Moon is dead
    Is that exactly what I thought I read?

    Typewriter tappers
    You’re all just crappers
    You listen to love with your intellect
    A4 pushers
    You’re all just cushions
    Morality ain’t measured in a room
    He wrecked

    Comment by tom hunter — August 18, 2015 @ 3:14 pm

  72. “But did you read the stuff that Julie said?”

    Or if your main interaction is through something like Facebook, you probably don’t even get an opportunity to know that Julie said something because the medium is engineered to decide what you’ll want to see based on how you’ve interacted with what it’s shown you previously, and then show you nothing else.

    Comment by izogi — August 18, 2015 @ 3:19 pm

  73. Yeah, but the Greens are a political party. Hosking is purportedly a journalist.

    The job of a political party is to develop and push useful policy. The job of a journalist is to entertain us.

    Comment by Moses — August 18, 2015 @ 3:33 pm

  74. @Moses “The job of a journalist is to entertain us.

    Which is why “journalist” is one of the most popular acts in Cirque du Soleil.

    However, in the real world, “journalist = entertainer” is a pretty extreme (and recent) view. It is exactly the view that propagandists (like Hosking, for example) have conditioned you / us to believe.

    Comment by RJL — August 18, 2015 @ 4:15 pm

  75. What we are missing in all this is the debate about Hosking’s obvious bias is not just in his rather totalitarian role the protection of National’s hard power, but also how he is representative of the current near total dominance of neoliberal and right wing wing soft power. National’s soft power reach into the middle class (which itself is increasingly resembling something Marxist as just that section of society that is immediately below the ruling class and above the precariat and poor) is remarkable, and an indication of just how unequal our society has grown. This links back to Danyl’s previous post about the quality of MPs the opposition parties attract. For the left, the problem of middle class capture of it’s political vehicles has always been a problem, but it was a problem largely rendered moot with good social mobility and a consensus on the welfare state. Social mobility has now, across the Anglosphere, ossified and now aspirational materialists understand only one political party offers a socially mobile vehicle for elevation to the movers and shakers. Hoskings is just most obvious expression of this new class reality – and he dispises those beneath him. His message contains a clear underlying narrative. If you want to be successful like Mike, you have to be one of them.

    For the parties of the left, increasingly cut off from the money and social connections of the ruling classes, are being thrust back onto being reliant on what is now an utterly disorganised, atomised and marginalised precariat and rump working class, and therefore only have a remnant of middle class liberals drawn from narrow backgrounds to provide the leadership parliamentary cadres.

    The answer – both to Hoskings and the recruitment of suitable candidates into left wing parliamentary political parties – is to use the left’s time in power to rebuild alternative political vehicles to exercise the soft power for the socially mobile to seek high office. Once there is a parallel soft power structure for the left again in place, Hosking becomes a complete non-event, just another prat who hangs with an unpleasant group of toffs.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 18, 2015 @ 4:27 pm

  76. PS I think an instinctive understanding of the need for the left to rebuild it’s soft power is at least partially behind the Corbyn phenomena in the UK Labour party. The UK Labour activists understand in a way the Blairites (My God! What a just awful, arrogant and nasty bunch Blair, Brown, Mendleson, Kendall etc are being made to look all by themselves in their anti-Corbyn hysteria!) don’t that to carry as normal will simply see the playing field tilted further and further against them, and the time is now to shake off the carapace of the establishment and become a party of revolutionary change, peaceful if at all possible but by other means if necessary, again.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 18, 2015 @ 4:36 pm

  77. Yes, Corbyn is the light, the truth and the way. Surely he will deliver a massive landslide for Labour at the next general election, and herald the dawn of a new socialist order with justice for all. He can’t fail.

    Comment by Nick R — August 18, 2015 @ 4:43 pm

  78. I am not sure Corbyn’s role is win the next election, given his age. I am guessing he will groom a replacement for about three years from now. His primary role is to restore hope in Labour’s followers, re-invigorate the parties ideological compass, and remind the British voter that Labour means substantial change, not just a pale version of the Tories. That might fail, but it offers at least the chance it might work, and failure will at least be suffered with heads held high. The Blairists offer no hope, just a vague belief in Tory-lite managerialism and a gradual decline under the vacuous expediency of the Blairism.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 18, 2015 @ 5:01 pm

  79. Isn’t the Government of the day and sitting politicians supposed to represent the Will of the People, if you read their Bios practically all of them have degrees and many are lawyers, they have disassociated themselves from reality and once in that private club do everything they can to maintain their position. Jeremy Corbyn is an interesting character, poor working class rides around on an old bike and really appeals to the general masses, he reaches out to them at their own level, much to the disgust of Blair ,Corbyn makes that connection the left here has no such person. Who wants to be on the outside looking in, we want some too.

    Comment by Woz — August 18, 2015 @ 5:01 pm

  80. It always fascinates me that the right consider the appointing of aging right wing fruit loops like Don Bash to lead Conservative parties as a great thing that, in NZ, brought them back from the abyss but consider Jeremy Corbyn as leader of a left wing party as an foolish idea completely without merit.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 18, 2015 @ 5:24 pm

  81. I suppose it must follow that as the UK Labour Party is allegedly enjoying a renaissance under the socialist leadership of Corbyn that what NZ Labour needs is a bracing round of hard left socialism to galvanise the youth and lead Team Red to glory.

    Comment by Richard Williams — August 18, 2015 @ 5:26 pm

  82. Oh, I am sure Corbyn will remind the British voter of many things. The 1970s, for example. And how the Conservative Party isn’t really so bad after all.

    You won’t find a sober Tory in London if he gets the leadership.

    Comment by Nick R — August 18, 2015 @ 5:34 pm

  83. not just in his rather totalitarian role

    the protection of National’s hard power,

    representative of the current near total dominance of neoliberal and right wing wing soft power.

    that section of society that is immediately below the ruling class and above the precariat

    aspirational materialists

    Hoskings is just most obvious expression of this new class reality

    an utterly disorganised, atomised and marginalised precariat and rump working class,

    only have a remnant of middle class liberals drawn from narrow backgrounds to provide the leadership parliamentary cadres.

    the soft power for the socially mobile

    Once there is a parallel soft power structure

    just another prat who hangs with an unpleasant group of toffs.

    I can only hope that some stray mental health therapist seeking their PhD material passes by this blog – because this is platinum-wrapped, diamond encrusted, gold.

    Comment by tom hunter — August 18, 2015 @ 6:00 pm

  84. You won’t find a sober Tory.

    Comment by Grant — August 18, 2015 @ 6:03 pm

  85. @tom, you’d need to find an aspirational mental health therapist because dealing with the mind that produced that lot would be a challenge to say the least.

    @grant, not after celebrating the godsend that is Labour rediscovering socialism no I imagine not.

    Comment by Richard Williams — August 18, 2015 @ 6:34 pm

  86. “You won’t find a sober Tory.”

    It didn’t exactly work out too well for Rob Muldoon on Bastille Day 1984.

    Comment by Kumara Republic — August 18, 2015 @ 6:35 pm

  87. @Grant – they’ll be right at home alongside all the Chardonnay Socialists that inhabit this place.

    Comment by Phil — August 18, 2015 @ 6:36 pm

  88. a current affairs show in which the head presenter gives a little speech every night praising the government, with no balance, and that is a deeply weird and sinister thing to happen in a democratic society.
    I find it mildly reassuring that nearly 23,000 people over at Stuff news are happy to acknowledge Hosking’s bias “clearly” with another 5,000 agreeing “on some issues” so I guess the brainwashing is taking a bit longer than expected to kick in.
    I did wonder the other day if Judith Collins has any appreciation of irony after she labelled RNZ as “Radio Albania” or somesuch. Clearly she doesn’t realise that media in Albania would have parroted the government line with passionate and unwavering enthusiasm; RNZ is the only media organisation that DOESN’T do actually do that.

    Comment by McNulty — August 18, 2015 @ 9:10 pm

  89. Mike Hosking can relieve himself of being a journalist (even though he presents a current affairs show) but even as a mere broadcaster he has an obligation to be balanced. Or his producers have an obligation to balance him out.

    His pro govt message is prominently displayed on NZ’s most popular TV channel, commercial radio programme and newspaper. Now that Newstalk are advertising him there really is no escape.

    If Hosking were hard left instead of hard right, I’m pretty sure the right wingers would be way more incensed than the left are now and wouldve driven their tractors into TVNZ reception years ago.

    The other factor is the intrinsic difference in style between left wing and right wing commentators. The right wingers are often more strident with simplistic put downs and pithy slogans whereas the left wingers tend to play fair and not nail their colours blatantly to the mast (eg Hooton and Williams in Nine to Noon). So much so that it’s hard to name many openly left wing commentators in MSM whereas the right wingers seem to be everywhere.

    Comment by Myles T — August 19, 2015 @ 12:23 am

  90. I took an instant dislike to Hosking when he abused an elderly woman for accidentally damaging his beloved Maserati. He even went on radio and referred to her as a moron. Classy.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10818146

    Comment by Ross — August 19, 2015 @ 7:16 am

  91. Police confirmed it was an offence under the Land Transport Act for a person not to give their name and contact details if they were involved in a non-emergency car accident.

    Hosking, who was off-air this week for school holidays, said that was not an issue: “No, no, no. It was a non-event. She admitted fault, I took her details, end of story … Why would she need [my details]?”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10819659

    Comment by Ross — August 19, 2015 @ 7:21 am

  92. @Myles T: “…but even as a mere broadcaster he has an obligation to be balanced.”

    Touting balance as the be-all-and-end-all is missing the point of journalism (and purportedly factual broadcasting that is somehow not journalism).

    The journalist primarily has an obligation to provide clear, factual, honest information and explanations / interpretations of that information in their article/broadcast. When those facts are genuinely contestable, then one of the tools the journalist has to resolve this problem is to provide a balance of the different perspectives. But it’s not the only approach — and obviously this approach cannot be taken if one of the sides refuses to front. This was the point of National’s approach to Campbell. Refuse to front and then Farrar and the other useful idiots dismiss the story due to a lack of balance.

    Of course, if the facts are not genuinely contestable (making that judgement accurately speaks to the honesty, and knowledge, of the journalist), then there is no need to provide a “balance”.

    Comment by RJL — August 19, 2015 @ 12:05 pm

  93. However, in the real world, “journalist = entertainer” is a pretty extreme (and recent) view. It is exactly the view that propagandists (like Hosking, for example) have conditioned you / us to believe.

    Have you watched New Zealand television in the last twenty years? It’s entertainment, that’s why it still exists on our state-owned commercial network.

    Real journalism (Campbell Live, Native Affairs, most of RadioNZ) is an abberation, and only exists in a commercial vacuum or because it offers something to the institution that funds it. That value usually the respect of their peers and the impression that the institution is a ‘real’ television station.

    Comment by Moses — August 19, 2015 @ 12:23 pm

  94. The issues around balance and objectivity are fairly complex and the difficulties are compounded by most people being inclined to think who they agree with is balanced and objective.

    I tend to believe (!) that there are less facts out there waiting to be uncovered when it comes to politcal issues than we like to admit.

    Most issues are often processs rather than a fixed state of affairs and processes of an unpredictable nature to an extent. The TPPA for example. It’s easy enough to construct an agrument one way or the other seemingly based on fact if the assumptions are static.

    At least that’s my current theory of how people can disagree and all claim to be right based on fact, reason, objectivity etc.

    Comment by NeilM — August 19, 2015 @ 12:27 pm

  95. Congratulaion NeilM.
    You’ve just discovered the observer-expectancy effect.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 19, 2015 @ 12:54 pm

  96. oops, confirmation bias rather.

    Comment by Gregor W — August 19, 2015 @ 12:56 pm

  97. @NeilM – The only issues around balance and objectivity are that they don’t exist, we only have the illusion of balance and objectivity peddled by people like Hosking.

    Comment by Martin-L — August 19, 2015 @ 1:14 pm

  98. I don’t really expect balance from Hosking but I do expect it from his producers who no doubt would claim to be journalists.

    Comment by Myles T — August 19, 2015 @ 9:25 pm

  99. What more is there really to say about Hoskings than that he chokes daily on JK’s balls? If you listen to him, you get a vicarious choke. Enjoy!

    Comment by Ben Wilson — August 20, 2015 @ 8:32 pm

  100. Yes that’s what it really is Ben. Yes. People you don’t like must be homo’s. Correct?

    Comment by Richard Williams — August 23, 2015 @ 10:24 pm


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