Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Reporting Afghanistan

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  • Bart Janssen,

    "I'm not prepared to send people to a destination that I'm not prepared to come myself."

    I thought that was one of the more stupid things to dribble out of Mr Key.

    Sending a suit wearing desk riding executive into that environment is quite different from sending a combat trained soldier. The whole point of the training the soldiers receive is so that they don't get themselves into trouble, or worse put their colleagues at risk as a result of their own ignorance.

    A real leader would have pointed out that showboating photo opportunities only put those soldiers at greater risk and the responsible thing would have been to leave them to do the task they were trained for ... but that wouldn't have got him on the news.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4460 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    The People's Referendum on the Super City, and the slightly mysterious Our Auckland group behind it.

    Slightly? Oh hell, I'm going to seriously pissed if any mayoral or council candidate (let alone political parties) are sock-puppeting 'Our Auckland'. I certainly hope Ewan Macdonald is going to get a richly deserved ballocking for complaining about a democratic deficit in a manner that;s not exactly open and transparent.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • MikeE,

    "The People's Referendum on the Super City, and the slightly mysterious Our Auckland group behind it."

    Isn't it linked to "The Standard"? I'm sure someone had something to do with the websites all being run off the same servers, same contact details etc (can't remember exact details tho)

    Washington DC • Since Nov 2006 • 138 posts Report Reply

  • Ian MacKay,

    _"I'm not prepared to send people to a destination that I'm not prepared to come myself."_
    This implies that he put himself right in the thick of a war. What a brave man is Key. Except the risk for a guided visit is minimal. George W did similar things with similar intent. Fraud!

    Bleheim • Since Nov 2006 • 498 posts Report Reply

  • Michael Stevens,

    I'm still amazed at how much the big guns in the media seem to be in love with the PM and everything he does.

    At the best Espiner and Garner offer an uncritical report of his performance, and at worst they operate almost like his PR hacks.

    This is not to say they won't criticise the govt, at times, but they seem to still be in the grips of a bromance with the PM.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 230 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    _"I'm not prepared to send people to a destination that I'm not prepared to come myself."_

    If he promises to give mining an actual go, I'd be tempted to let them carve the national parks up at will.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Isn't it linked to "The Standard"? I'm sure someone had something to do with the websites all being run off the same servers, same contact details etc (can't remember exact details tho)

    Yeah, Lynn Prentice who manages The Standard is involved. I was just holding out for someone to just front up and say so.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22839 posts Report Reply

  • George Darroch,

    Yeah, Lynn Prentice who manages The Standard is involved. I was just holding out for someone to just front up and say so.

    They create plenty of sticks with which to whack themselves, don't they?

    It would be nice if they just operated openly and honestly sometimes.

    WLG • Since Nov 2006 • 2264 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I forgot that Newstalk ZB's Barry Soper went to Afghanistan too. I gather he got wind of the trip and demanded to go.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22839 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    A good wrap-up of Afganistan trip media machinations on the other week's Mediawatch.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Robeson,

    I thought it was an indictment of our media that both TV1's and 3's story were so similar, shot for shot, quote for quote, and made no attempt to investigate or provide any alternative analysis or views.

    Last year Campbell reported that the PRT was potentially to be scaled back:

    "Along the way, he seems intent on shutting down the Provincial Reconstruction Team effort in Bamiyan – just when that province is being widely cited as almost the only success story that the corrupt and discredited Karzai government has had in its struggle with the Taliban."

    Did this happen? Was the focus changed from reconstruction to commandos?

    If so this would explain why there is some dissatifaction with the reconstruction.

    Since Feb 2008 • 87 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    "I'm not prepared to send people to a destination that I'm not prepared to come myself."

    Which is an interesting pledge to make, especially since Key keeps saying his Government is tough on crime and will send more crims to jail.

    I always knew he'd go bad.

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Alan P,

    Key's declaration that "I'm not prepared to send people to a destination that I'm not prepared to come myself."

    - Yes, I found this to be a typically self-serving, and disingenuous comment from our PM.
    I mean, it's not like he's actually donning a uniform and going up against the Taliban. He's just a VIP swanning around between photo ops and lunches - snuck in to the country unannounced, no less.

    I'm still dumbfounded that so many New Zealanders don't seem to have seen through the John Key show yet. Apparently the majority of us still think he's a bloody nice bloke, and er, actually competent to run a country. Now that's a news story - headline: "NZ IQ Shocker" perhaps?

    Auckland • Since Jun 2009 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Key's declaration that "I'm not prepared to send people to a destination that I'm not prepared to come myself."

    (I fear I'm going to turn into a defender of John Key).

    The quote is fair, as long as 'destination' is the general area. It's not like he said "I'm not prepared to make people do a job [fighting] that I'm not prepared to do myself."

    Yes, it's a PR job, but I'm guessing that the soldiers appreciated the Prime Minister coming over to see what they were doing and thank them for their work. Given that their job runs some risk of being blown up, if they want their PM to come see them every few years, bugger what the rest of us think.

    And if the media fall for the PR job, as Russell points out many have, more fool them and us for watching them.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    There's a piece in the latest North and South (offline) from Guyon Espiner, on Afghanistan. He says (paraphrase) that he has formed a considered opinion on the conflict, because - get this - he has now been there.

    I thought "jet in jet out" journalism had been mercilessly mocked off the news pages years ago. The idea that Guyon Espiner, or anyone else on the PM's jaunt (was it 3 days?), has some sage and profound insights into that quagmire, is absurd. All the more so, when you consider that the war has been going on for years, and has produced plenty of in-depth, insightful analysis by long-term (international) reporters, who might really have something worthwhile to tell us. How much of this has reached our TV screens? The media had to cover the Vietnam war with museum technology, and yet it penetrated our living rooms more than Afghanistan has.

    "Afghanistan: it's just not there unless we are. Guyon Espiner, One News."

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1330 posts Report Reply

  • Alan P,

    if they want their PM to come see them every few years, bugger what the rest of us think.

    .

    Yes, and I'm sure that's exactly what Key was thinking when he made his asinine comment to camera... ;-)

    Auckland • Since Jun 2009 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Robeson,

    Do you think it works both ways?

    Can the SAS look forward to gruelling campaigns on the beaches of Hawaii, the bars of Ireland and in the board rooms of merchant banks?

    Since Feb 2008 • 87 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Yes, it's a PR job, but I'm guessing that the soldiers appreciated the Prime Minister coming over to see what they were doing and thank them for their work.

    Indeed -- and if that makes him a preening chickenhawk, then it would be only fair to start running through Phil Goff's overseas travel diary. Wouldn't it?

    Yes, and I'm sure that's exactly what Key was thinking when he made his asinine comment to camera... ;-)

    Alan: Just as a matter of interest, could Key do or say anything that wouldn't have you taking a pound of laxatives and squatting on his head?

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • 3410,

    Come on, Craig. It was pretty asinine.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2007 • 2618 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Can the SAS look forward to gruelling campaigns on the beaches of Hawaii, the bars of Ireland and in the board rooms of merchant banks?

    No, but on the other hand, the SAS aren't rich, so aren't important to the economy.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Alan P,

    Craig, I don't recall if I've commented directly on Key on here before.
    Have I been unfair?

    Certainly I don't claim to have your razor sharp political sensibilities(or way with words), but I'm definitely not impressed by the man, no.

    I don't think much of his cabinet either for that matter, although I am inclined to think Bill English is not too much of an incompetent - even though he is obviously bound to support Key in whatever current f**kup he is presiding over.

    Auckland • Since Jun 2009 • 35 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Come on, Craig. It was pretty asinine.

    Well, yeah but no but come on... I can be as jaundiced as anyone -- my personal bug-bear is the flying Prime Ministerial visit to the latest domestic disaster zone to state the bleeding obvious and heal the wounded and dispossessed with a few kind words. (All on the six o'clock news naturally.)

    Of course, Key wasn't going to be doing a meet and greet with the Tali-tubbies. Of course, there's a healthy dollop of political theatre for domestic consumption. But I've also got servicemen and women in my family, and they actually don't mind the Prime Minister and Defence Minister dropping in on occasion and getting some sense, however fleeting, that what they do isn't just bullet points on a briefing paper.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I'm far from a champion of smiley, but any national leader will have obligations relating to their armed forces and are bound to enjoy the odd photo opp with all those dangerous people and weapons. Nothing particularly partisan about it.

    There are far more significant derelictions of leadership going on, closer to home.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19729 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    All the more so, when you consider that the war has been going on for years, and has produced plenty of in-depth, insightful analysis by long-term (international) reporters, who might really have something worthwhile to tell us.

    The only way you're going to do that from New Zealand is to be like Jon Stephenson -- ie, obsessive. I don't think many people grasp the way he's been working in the region over the past eight years, funding himself with loans from friends and whatever miserable sum a freelance newspaper gig pays.

    Which made Garth George's column last week, slagging off Jon for only interviewing 100 Afghans for his Star Times story (vs a total of zero for the four New Zealand journalists who accompanied the PM) particularly absurd, even by Garth's standards.

    No one else was going to do that story. Least of all Garth.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22839 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    There are far more significant derelictions of leadership going on, closer to home.

    Such as spin like this:

    He added that those on the top rate, expected to be cut from 38 per cent to 33 per cent, consumed more and therefore paid more GST.

    Resist the lies. GST is regressive, full stop - as Key and his media minders know full well.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19729 posts Report Reply

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