Hard News by Russell Brown


More light than heat

I watched this week's Media7 about the media and drugs this morning (I was out Drinking Liberally last night) and I'm really pleased with it. It's in the nature of the hosting role, particularly given the way we try and pace the show, that I tend to have to watch it back to remember exactly what was said and how.

But I think we got this one right. It would always be nice to have longer to talk, but Ross Bell's final point was well made. We're revisiting the 32 year-old Misuse of Drugs Act this year, at the same time as the United Nations is embarking on a first-principles review of its own approach to illicit drugs. We owe ourselves an intelligent, honest debate about this: the usual mantras and the drive-by scare stories won't do it.

We thought there might be some fireworks out of sitting Greg O'Connor and Tanczos together, but, as seems to often be the case, we got more light than heat. When you see the two of them exchanging cards during the break, you think, well, that can't be bad.

Anyway, be my guest and watch. The ondemand version is here, the podcast is here, there are Windows Media clips here, and of course there's our totally worldwide YouTube channel.

The Media7 blog has some relevant links, including to a discussion of the drug harm index we should have had, and to a compilation of Montana Meth Project scare ads, if psycho-horror movies are your thing.

I can also say that the show is travelling well: so much so that you're not going to get rid of us for some time to come (not that I am suggesting, dear readers, that you do want to get rid of us). It's a pleasure working with everyone involved.

But one continuing disappointment: the New Zealand Herald's refusal to engage. The paper's editor, Tim Murphy, told our researcher Sarah Daniell this week that "it is just not a priority for us to spend time chatting about stories on another medium" and that "by and large the paper will let its stories speak for themselves."

The policy isn't targeted at us: it's rare that anyone else can get Murphy to answer a question, and his refusals are polite. But I wonder what his response would be if TVNZ or MediaWorks refused to speak to Herald reporters on the same basis. Anyway, we'll keep politely asking the question every time it's relevant. You never know.


You want some politics? I've been somewhat appalled by both major party leaders in the past couple of days. Clark's attempt to slime Key in the House yesterday was unpleasant, counterproductive and inaccurate. And Key's own evasiveness over, well, pretty much everything this week has been equally unattractive. Talking to Havoc this morning on the radio, he was effectively invited to demonstrate that he was his own man, rather than the spin doctors' creation. And what did he do? Burped out a string of message lines about himself. He actually said "I'm ambitious for New Zealand".

One despairs.


But hasn't the weather been good? Not in the sense of being fair and pleasant, but certainly in the sense of being interesting. Yesterday's storm over Greymouth sounded like a cracker.

I popped along to the Greymouth webcam in the hope of a lightning shot, but there wasn't one. No matter: I thought these two images were almost magically pretty:

Just before dawn.

And just after ...

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