Hard News by Russell Brown


Self-satisfactorily Yours

I presume there are a few Herald folk a little embarrassed that their paper has chosen to give front-page space to the quasi-literate account of another paper's gossip columnist of something someone from another media company said at a private gathering a week ago.

The source of the Herald's news story (headlined TV chief under fire after attack on critic online and 'TV chief's angry swipe at critic earns him his own bad review' in print) is an item by Rachel Glucina in the Spy section of the Herald on Sunday ("New Zealand's best gossip pages," folks) in which Glucina admonished Andrew Shaw for comments in what was meant to be a comic speech (clue: he was wearing a lei) at the launch of the new comedy, Diplomatic Immunity.

Glucina-watchers will know that she is at her most unintentionally hilarious when she attempts serious advice, as was the case in the brief headed TV exec commits career suicide?

I wasn't present, but I am reliably informed that Glucina wasn't listening very closely. Shaw didn't describe the Dominion Post as "a waste of good shit paper". He said it was "a waste of good chip paper", which makes a bit more sense.

And yes, he was rude about DomPost TV reviewer Jane Bowron. Quoth the Gluck:

You added self-satisfactorily: "I don't give a s*** about shares or making money or columnists. I just care about comedy... If you don't laugh at this [show] you are f***ing dead. I will find you and kill you ... [This speech] might cost me my job, but hell, I have options."

That's fighting talk, Andy, for a man who works for a company needing to carve a whopping $25 million from the books. I'm thinking you may say you don't care about columnists or reviewers, but the way you attacked Bowron clearly shows you do.

"Self-satisfactorily?" Pardon? I'm inclined to think the real story is that that such a spectacularly awful construction not only made print, but that Herald editors deliberately drew attention to it. Glucina signed off in her sternest prose:

But heck, I'm not working for a company with an enforced multi-million-dollar cull in the works. Good luck.

Oh, Andrew. Why couldn't you have listened to Rachel while you had the chance?

Bowron, for her part, had been extremely rude about another new South Pacific Pictures show for TVNZ, Go Girls, which she described as "so awful," in a review (not online), declaring that "[n]ot since the awful Melody Rules has a locally made comedy been so embarrassing to watch."

The idle comparison with Melody Rules is, of course, the traditional recourse of the lazy reviewer, but it seems particularly inapt in this case.

I saw the first episode of Go Girls on a preview disc a couple of weeks ago. I'm struggling to believe it was the same show that Bowron dumped on so royally: because the show I saw crackled along nicely. It struck me as having the potential to be an Outrageous Fortune for the North Shore. TVNZ has, over the years, brought some deeply misconceived programmes to air. This really is not one of them.

Anyway, feel free to make your own assessment: it's on TVNZ ondemand.

Also ondemand: what turned out to be a pretty good episode of Media7, featuring a discussion of the modern trade union message in the media (assuming you can find it) and a chat about chequebook journalism with New Idea editor Hayley McLarin and Sunday News editor Chris Baldock. (NB: Since the show aired, Baldock has apparently been let go from his job. Fairfax now seems intent on operating both its Sunday papers without editors.)

It's also on YouTube.

We have another show lined up to record tomorrow. The lead panel topic is the Law Commission's "issues paper" on suppression of names and evidence -- covered here by Steven Price. (I'm also on a panel at a private New Zealand Police talking shop on Thursday, which addresses suppression orders and other warrants on media, so there seems to be something of a buzz around the issue at the moment.)

On a somewhat related theme, we'll also be discussing sportsmen who fall from grace in the media. If you'd like to join us just after 5pm tomorrow at The Classic in Queen Street for the recording, hit Reply and let me know.

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