Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: About Campbell Live

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  • Sofie Bribiesca, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    I also wonder about how rarely National MPs appear on the show, as if there was some directive to only appear on shows where the questions make National look good.

    It seems to be that way in Radio as well, and lets face it , Campbell often says ,"we invited so and so on the show to respond..." and they declined. So yeah if one is National friendly they get interviews just as Seven Sharp does. Paul Henry will too. Everyone else who questions them is rejected.Thing is tho' a concerted effort to do that by a Government especially in a Country so small as ours will ultimately end in media being manipulated by the Government to such a point that it is just propaganda.
    I'm glad John Campbell is Lawyering up on this one as the Papers are reporting this morn.

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie, in reply to Cecelia,

    Fran O'Sullivan is marvellous this morning. Looks at the political angle.

    It's worth adding a link to Fran's story. In this well-written and considered piece of journalism, O'Sullivan adds some much-needed context -- what's happening to the Campbell Show is straight out of the Dirty Politics / Crosby Textor manual on political manipulation.

    Nice work, Fran.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1440 posts Report Reply

  • Alfie,

    Fran O'Sullivan points out the drastic change of direction in Mediaworks management.

    Campbell Live's producers — and the MediaWorks news hierarchy — have stood staunchly by their star during the periods of occasional outright Government hostility.

    But with new management at MediaWorks, the driving considerations have changed. Within the senior commercial world, it is said that when Mark Weldon applied for the top job at MediaWorks he drew on his relationship with Key and the public-spirited work he did outside of his prior role as chief executive of the stock exchange such as chairing an economic summit after the GFC to help build credibility for a role in a sector in which he had no prior experience.

    In my experience, the best current affairs shows need management support and backing if they're to produce any stories of substance.

    When I worked for TVNZ, the Holmes Show intended to run a story on Christchurch Deputy Mayor, Morgan Fahey. They had evidence proving that Fahey had sexually abused a number of his patients. But as soon as Fahey called in the lawyers, TVNZ management backed down and canned the story.

    A couple of years later I was fortunate to be working for TV3's 20/20 programme when we finally succeeded in exposing Fahey. Same story, same lawyers, same threats. The difference this time was TV3 management who stood behind us 100% and allowed us to produce a powerful story.

    After the story aired, there was a huge anti-TV3 backlash in Christchurch. However as a result of the programme, several more victims came forward and TV3 bravely gave us the green light to make a follow-up story. Fahey managed to injunct this piece for a while until the Appeal Court ruled that it was in the public interest. It was this story which eventually led to Fahey's arrest, conviction and jailing for rape and sexual abuse.

    Mark Jennings must be in an invidious position at the moment. He's a true newsman, but he's stuck between the public value of Campbell Live and TV3's new right-leaning, "lowest common denominator" style of management.

    Despite numerous petitions demonstrating an outpouring of public support for CL, Ben Uffindale pretty much sums up the inevitable result of this affair in TV3 heeds public feedback; will replace Campbell Live with show about petitions.

    While that's a cynical attitude, it's probably very close to the mark.

    In the same way that Nicky Hager's shocking revelations failed to ignite public disgust for National's dirty tricks brigade, I fear that the demise of the Campbell Show is a fait accompli.

    Dunedin • Since May 2014 • 1440 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to Alfie,

    ...what’s happening to the Campbell Show is straight out of the Dirty Politics / Crosby Textor manual on political manipulation.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/bbc/11515070/Did-BBC-help-win-Labour-the-1964-election-by-cancelling-Steptoe-and-Son.html

    BBC archive reveals Harold Wilson begged for Steptoe and Son to be removed from schedule on 1964 election night, fearing working classes would stay in instead of voting.
    When Harold Wilson learned that the BBC planned to broadcast an episode of Steptoe and Son on the night of the 1964 general election, he sensed disaster.
    The Labour leader feared that working class voters would stay at home to watch the comedy, which in those days drew audiences of 26 million, instead of heading to the polls. In an extraordinary intervention, he visited the home of the BBC director-general, Sir Hugh Greene, and pleaded with him to pull the show from the schedules.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    It seems to be that way in Radio as well,

    I'm not so sure. In the past year the PM has been regularly interviewed on Morning Report (though that is probably prompted by DPF / Curia polls). Also, I'm sure you're aware of the number of Nat toadies turning up on The Panel, etc.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 760 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    It'll be really fascinating to see what Campbell and his team actually end up doing once this has all been settled one way or the other.

    Ideally he / they'll still have some broadcasting / print outlet, rather than drifting into obscurity or PR. Let's wait and see...

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 760 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Lucy Telfar Barnard,

    I’d assume your assessment is correct except… for a few stories, while the pieces themselves may be fluff, they’re probably bringing attention to more serious broader issues.

    Thanks for that, Lucy. "Fluff" is one of the many things that is very much in the eye of the beholder, and while I know a lot of folks around here don't like the term much, check your privilege.

    I don't mean to pick on you Simon, but that "School-in-a-Box helping Vanuatu kids" may have been trivia to you and you're perfectly entitled to think so. It may not be trivial at all to those in the audience who have family in Vanuatu, or contributed to Unicef's Cyclone Pam Appeal which financed it.

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

  • Cecelia, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I didn’t see the School in a Box segment. I believe that John Campbell keeps worthy issues alive by these brief references and follow-ups. It’s hard to argue this case without sounding callous but I believe that Simon was arguing that “Campbell Live is the last bastion of current affairs journalism” is a romantic view of Campbell rather than the reality. In fact there are lots of snippets that are frustratingly lacking in depth. I wonder if more people would watch if it really DID examine issues in more depth and gave Campbell the forum he deserves. I mean, the fact that he’s losing viewers might mean that if people want to watch a magazine type show they might prefer Seven Sharp (watched it once and have never gone back). I've signed the petition because I respect and admire John Campbell. When I watched the show last night as I promised I would, my mind wandered after the Romanian story. Go ahead and shoot me down in flames and call me privileged!

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 559 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Grant McDougall,

    It’ll be really fascinating to see what Campbell and his team actually end up doing once this has all been settled one way or the other. Ideally he / they’ll still have some broadcasting / print outlet, rather than drifting into obscurity or PR.

    I guess in theory a review like this could result in something better for journalism, even if that seems unlikely.

    I think part of the reason I don't see as much of CL as I'd like is that the news drags on for so long, with or without anything to talk about. Long ago I almost remember when TV news was standard at 30 minutes, but was changed to 60 minutes in the late 80s or early 90s... maybe about the time TV3 arrived? I much prefer the Radio NZ style of news, where there's a relatively short bulletin that gets straight to the point and directly says stuff. Then, immediately following within a few minutes, is the more in-depth analysis and interviews with shows like Morning Report or CheckPoint.

    I guess it's wishful thinking that TV3 might remove aspects from its news like the sensationalising of tragedies, shameless self promotion and pointless crosses to empty parking lots, and commercials, and sports coverage that's sometimes hard to differentiate from a week before (that's probably just me). But if JC manages to stay in a vaguely comparable role, I think I'd like to see the news shortened to something much faster and more direct, then have someone similar to himself come in soon after and look at the more important stuff in more detail. Maybe it'd seem like a demotion for him to be back in the news team, but I could see it working.

    But yes. Pipe dream.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1142 posts Report Reply

  • izogi, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    She makes a good point about Bryce Edwards’ credulity re. David Farrar’s manipulations.

    Stats aside (as was Fran's slant on DPF) I'm also struggling to see any relevence of determining bias for or against the government by simply counting stories which are positive and negative. Isn't that like stating journalistic bias for or against climate change by counting stories which are positive and negative?

    Sometimes journos say stuff because it's what's there. Otherwise we might as well start criticising our media for not explaining to us why the Boxing Day Tsunami was really 50% a good thing, and similar. I can see how people so embedded in political manipulation would see bias where someone's simply ignoring their spin, though.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 1142 posts Report Reply

  • Robert Ralphs, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    My sentiments entirely

    Auckland • Since Apr 2015 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • simon g,

    I think we're desperately defending Taiwan because we've lost China.

    I hope Campbell Live stays, and I fear the intentions of the Weldon/Christie team, but ultimately ... it's TVNZ that has been the shame of public broadcasting. For years now, and getting ever worse. All those mickey-taking fictions, from Broadcast News to Alan Partridge to Jon Stewart, all outdone by the jaw-dropping wretched reality of One News.

    Until that insult to our intelligence has been shut down and replaced with something/somebody who gives a damn about the basic values of journalism, then we will continue to have the worst TV news and current affairs in the Western world. And yes, that includes the USA.

    Hoping a private channel does serious journalism is no substitute for having a public channel that's obliged to.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1333 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to simon g,

    Hoping a private channel does serious journalism is no substitute for having a public channel that’s obliged to.

    Seriously, apart from a few brief years in the early 1960s when British import academic Austin Mitchell was taken seriously as a public intellectual on our single-channel baby BBC, did that type of public broadcasting ever deliver the goods in NZ? I suspect that a good case could be made that Campbell is as good as we’ve ever had it.

    Onetime Muldoon nemesis Brian Edwards has long declined into self-imposed irrelevance. Simon Walker’s apparently fearless grilling of Muldoon (they were in separate studios) turned out to be part of an exercise in career-building chutzpah.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Alex Coleman, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    his otherwise excellent Herald pieces occasionally betray a disappointing academic unworldliness.

    he bends over backwards to be unbiased

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 247 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to simon g,

    I think we’re desperately defending Taiwan because we’ve lost China.

    Analogy of the week.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Alfie,

    A couple of years later I was fortunate to be working for TV3’s 20/20 programme when we finally succeeded in exposing Fahey. Same story, same lawyers, same threats. The difference this time was TV3 management who stood behind us 100% and allowed us to produce a powerful story.

    That, sir, is a Better Work Story.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Can't agree with you here. Brian Edwards has just written a really good post on John Campbell. When he and Ian Fraser were around on TV we had primetime current affairs and serious interviews. I remember feeling indignant because Ian Fraser was rude to the Shah of Iran.

    There were art programmes. There were regional programmes in the 7 pm spot which were light entertainment but less fluffy than what we get now (?)

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 559 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Cecelia,

    Brian Edwards has just written a really good post on John Campbell. When he and Ian Fraser were around on TV we had primetime current affairs and serious interviews.

    Right, any assessment would be incomplete without Fraser. But really, what value can be put on anything from someone who produces this risible dreck? That John Campbell should ever decline to that kind of dotage hardly bears thinking about.

    You’re right about the regional programs, though even Australia’s ABC has drastically cut back its regional coverage over the past couple of decades.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Cecelia, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    Hmmmm. Sort of see where you're coming from but "risible", "dreck" and "dotage" seem a bit OTT.

    Hibiscus Coast • Since Apr 2008 • 559 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Cecelia,

    Hmmmm. Sort of see where you’re coming from but “risible”, “dreck” and “dotage” seem a bit OTT.

    Whereas starry starry knight Holmes's serial unrepentant racism was just another of the engaging quirks that poor old Edwards was more than happy to gloss over.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Robyn Gallagher, in reply to Dylan Reeve,

    Basically live viewing is all anyone cares about because that’s the number that matters to advertisers.

    And it doesn't work saying "I don't watch Campbell Live on live TV, but I don't think this should matter at all to the people that it fundamentally matters to."

    Raglan • Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Robyn Gallagher,

    It might not work, but that doesn't mean people who feel that way shouldn't do it. It's no less futile than any other gesture. Maybe it might reach people who also have influence that see a bigger picture than live viewing numbers. It wouldn't do them any harm to hear that there are alternative streams of revenue that they might not be considering, not to mention the overall branding issue for the channel. Just because I feel completely apathetic, due to not being a revenue stream myself, and mostly quite happy about that, doesn't mean everyone else has to share that apathy.

    I kind of struggle with the inherent apathy involved in even watching free to air live TV, with it's complete surrender of any responsibility for choice about what one's mind is subjected to beyond pressing channel and mute buttons, but I'm well aware it's what millions of people do actually like to do in NZ, despite ample opportunity not to.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • linger, in reply to BenWilson,

    complete surrender of any responsibility for choice about what one’s mind is subjected to [...] it’s what millions of people do actually like to do in NZ

    Baaaaaarry Humphries' line about NZ being "a nation of 60 million sheep, 3 million of whom think they're human" comes to mind

    Tokyo • Since Apr 2007 • 1944 posts Report Reply

  • Angela Hart,

    Advertisers- ratings, is this really about them? One problem is that no-one seems to question the validity of our TV viewer ratings. Nielsons site says they installed about 900 people meters beginning in 1990. It doesn't say where they are, how widespread around the country, whether any effort has been made to ensure a cross section of New Zealanders are sampled for their TV habits. 900 people meters in Mount Eden would certainly offer different ratings results from 900 people meters in Otara. I guarantee you they are not in Otara. Do advertisers really take much notice of ratings or are they more concerned with the effect of their ads on their sales?
    This isn't about ratings. But if it was I couldn't accept the statement that seven sharp has more viewers. Unbelievable!

    Christchurch • Since Apr 2014 • 614 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Attachment

    a cold bleak wind blows down from the North...
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/tv-radio/67699811/tv3-will-reduce-sunday-new-program-to-30-minutes

    and so it continues - the man who demutualised the NZ Stock Exchange continues his one man assault on NZ institutions

    TV3 is to chop its Sunday night news bulletin to 30 minutes, in the latest dramatic move to turn its news department into a "news, commentary and conversation" team.
    ...
    The reduced Sunday news bulletin, starting on May 24, allows TV3 to move its former hour-long mid-week 3rd Degree current affairs programme to early Sunday evening. It is being renamed 3D and will be shortened to 30 minutes.
    ...
    In his first major interview since taking the job, Weldon tells the Star-Times Sunday Business today that he was attracted to the MediaWorks position because he found journalists "very real, gritty, honest and dynamic".

    He makes journalists sound like oysters, something he could eat a dozen or so of... and this converstaion and commentary is pointless if the guts of a story have not been presented well beforehand - so it will be just opinion and spin in reality.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7953 posts Report Reply

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