Hard News by Russell Brown

No Debate

Small children howled as my car sprayed them with gravel on its headlong, desperate dash to Christchurch Airport. Their mothers held them tight, faces frozen in in rictuses of fear, and burly rugby players blanched and sobbed like silly little girls. My own jaw was clenched. Nothing, but nothing, would keep me from the TV3 leaders' debate.

Actually, I lie. I did make the journey to Christchurch Airport as dusk gathered yesterday, and my jaw was clenched, but we were not hurrying. Indeed, it appeared that my taxi driver was deliberately trying to prolong our fascinating conversation about the relative merits of various radio talkback hosts. At one point, in the midst of what passes for rush-hour in the Garden City, we sat stationary at a green light while he looked across at the elderly driver in the next lane, who appeared to be having a bit of dementia moment. I had a chardonnay when I finally got on the plane, and played Goldenhorses's 'Emptied Out' three times in succession on my iPod.

In truth, I was never going to catch the leaders' debate. I'll watch it on tape. But fortunately, agents K and T of the oriental insurgency group Big Embedded Asian Underground (BEAU) were smuggled into the green room and have filed reports on Public Address today. I am concerned about K's apparent familiarity with porn industry jargon.

No Right Turn, who watched Doctor Who, has rounded up the responses from blogland. Apparently Don Brash lost and John Campbell talked a hell of a lot. Francis Till has a rundown from the NBR perspective.

But it was a wholly satisfactory trip south yesterday. In the morning, I spent two hours explaining the Big New Media Picture to students of the New Zealand Broadcasting School (I am slightly shocked at my ability to talk for two hours) and in the afternoon I nailed something I've been working on for a long time. Details next week. You'll like it.

And although I'm not quite ready to reveal the lineup, I will say that if media frontiers are your bag, you might want to clear a space in your diary for Sunday November 13, the date of the final Public Address Karajoz Great Blend for 2005 …

So what about that judge then? Pardon me while I thunderously equivocate, but when the media go all hive-mind in their own interests, it does bring out my contrarian side. It is extraordinary to have a court direct the editorial choice of a private media organisation. But when a private media organisation seeks to play an important public role, perhaps its responsibilities extend further than what fits its format.

Now here's a way to blow your monthly JetStream limit in a week: the first beta of an open-source Internet TV app that effectively offers video podcasting. The clever part? It handles both conventional downloads and torrents. Cool.

Locally, The Voice Booth is open for podcasting, with Election 2005 coverage.

From 95bFM, available via podcast or plain ol' download, my interviews with Wilson da Silva of Cosmos magazine, and Finlay Macdonald on the making of the Lange book.

The New York Review of Books has Peter W. Galbraith's Iraq: Bush's Islamic Republic. The new Harper's magazine has a wonderful essay by Bill McKibben; 'The Christian Paradox: How a Faithful Nation Gets Jesus Wrong'. The full essay is print-only, but there's an except here. Pogblog is calling it "one of the most important watershed moral upheavals of our generation."

McKibben, a former New Yorker staffer and current Methodist Sunday School teacher, has also been interviewed in a piece headed What Would Jesus Drive?

A soldier's videoblog from Iraq. Two minutes' noise, confusion and chaos.

And, finally, MSNBC's Tucker Carlson has explicitly endorsed terrorism: so long as it's French. He said, on air, that the fatal attack on the Rainbow Warrior in Auckland made him "respect" France and "won me over". I've always thought he was a tosser, but …