Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Fluency, ease of manner - and Norton Antivirus

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  • Chris Waugh, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Slickness has nothing to do with trustworthiness.

    Absolutely true. Trouble is, slickness sells, and that's what we've been reduced to in this modern world, mere consumers whose sole function is to buy crap we don't need. Key, for all his myriad faults, is doing a better job of the selling.

    My sympathies lie with Campbell, but he seemed to be outgunned.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 2401 posts Report Reply

  • martinb, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    You mean this kind of thing Bart

    We must celebrate our ABs and the glory of our politicians as they avoid giving the public information or answering questions about a matter of our privacy and freedom…

    8 to 3! Winner! !

    Can’t be a boxing analogy- if a boxer refused interviews as much as Key has done he would be stripped of his crown. Not sure what he’s got to be so proud of. Concur with Bart- we should be dis-custard.

    Cunliffe could go toe-to-toe with him, probably.

    I’d love to see him debate some one like Dame Anne- some one who could really show him up with decency, humility and mana. Didn’t the Left used to have elder statesmen and people with mana and trust? You can’t marketing campaign up years of public service and consistent public actions.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • martinb,

    I don't know- I didn't think it was a slick performance. It was anti-debating- not winning by virtue of making a greater case, but by disrupting the lines of questioning and ignoring the things you find inconvenient.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • steviant, in reply to Julian Melville,

    I think people can more easily be coached to handle an aggressive interviewer than they can to simply talk at length on a subject without prompting, because you can distract the viewers by behaving in a way that makes the interviewer seem rude or pushy.

    I believe it's known as "giving someone enough rope to hang themselves". I haven't seen any evidence to suggest that Key is competent at monologues.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2011 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • martinb,

    Then this commentary, which curiously is in the entertainment section...

    Granny having a bob each way.

    But you have to feel for Campbell. How do you argue with the Smiling Man when he counters like this?

    Campbell: "Are you saying that Bruce Fergusson, Sir Geoffrey Palmer and the law society and the privacy commissioner and the human rights commission are all wrong?"

    Key. "Yeah."

    Auckland • Since Jul 2010 • 206 posts Report Reply

  • Martin Brown, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    Well, JC still has a nationwide pulpit and hopefully many saw through Key's bullshit last night. That was only one battle...

    Auckland • Since Mar 2013 • 137 posts Report Reply

  • andrew r,

    Yes nicely broken down Russell. I agree I think Shearer/Labour are in trouble on that very front. Plus when Key needs to, he'll disingenuously bend the truth to suit his argument, and he needs an opponent who is quickfire able to call him on that. I actually think Labour at this point need a new leader, fast. Gift of the gab and a very sharp train of thought are essential and basic prerequisites in a leading politician. Lovely as Shearer is, those gifts he does not have.

    auckland • Since May 2007 • 99 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole, in reply to Russell Brown,

    You might say “Well, the PM says that they won’t be doing this” to which I respond with “If they don’t want to do that, let’s remove the ability to do it from the bill.”

    As I pointed out over here, it's all well and good that right now it's a politician that "you" (the non-inclusive, royal "you") trust with those powers, but what if the PM is someone you cannot abide? Winston? Or Hone? Or Banks? Or Russell Norman? Or Piggy Muldoon? What if it were Nixon?

    As with all of these powers, don't worry about the-guy-I'd-have-a-beer-with who's in power now, worry about the power-crazed sociopath who you can't stand (instead of the one you'd have a beer with!) who might be coming down the corridors of power at the next election.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to steviant,

    I think people can more easily be coached to handle an aggressive interviewer than they can to simply talk at length on a subject without prompting, because you can distract the viewers by behaving in a way that makes the interviewer seem rude or pushy.

    Just been thinking about this, There are two poles in political TV interviewing: moving, and still. Campbell is a mover (so am I), and talks and expresses his feelings about the way the interview is going. He was particularly mobile last night, buggering about with all his papers and stuff. The other pole is Mihi Forbes of Native Affairs, who almost seems inert at times, but will let people talk and then, eventually, spit out a question, and glare at her subject without moving her head and shoulders. Her interview this year with Paula Bennett was amazing.

    Each works at different times.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to andrew r,

    Plus when Key needs to, he’ll disingenuously bend the truth to suit his argument, and he needs an opponent who is quickfire able to call him on that. I actually think Labour at this point need a new leader, fast. Gift of the gab and a very sharp train of thought are essential and basic prerequisites in a leading politician. Lovely as Shearer is, those gifts he does not have.

    I honestly think the only one they have who can do that well is Cunliffe. I've sat in the room while he was talking about complex issues and he was dazzling. He needs to do something about his image as a bit of a prick, but I don't think there's much choice about who can do the job.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to Chris Waugh,

    a better job of the selling.

    Oh shit salesmen are our leaders....!
    I wont say we're doomed just yet, we've had them for a while now.
    But how much longer?

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1890 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I've sat in the room while he was talking about complex issues and he was dazzling

    He certainly sorted out Telecom after limp Maurice Williamson had a decade of being run rings around.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha, in reply to Russell Brown,

    a mover

    like a finance trader..?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • DexterX, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    It really annoys me all the discussion about winners and losers in the debate. How superficial. Surely it is about the ethics and morality of the issue itself.

    It is as if most of the media have little of no interest in the issues - I can't see that the debate was a win or lose situation - but it is now where the matter appears to rest.

    What was an undercurrent in NZ society - inequality the creation of winners and losers - is now been embedded as the mainstream.

    The Paula Benefit bash the benefs baseball bat was another major story - coverage of the GCSB and the KDC affair seem to see Mz benefit step up to the plate.

    Democracy is quite ill and will get no better once the GCSB Act is passed.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1224 posts Report Reply

  • Richard Love, in reply to Glenn Pearce,

    It wasn't a debate, it was an interview. JC should have been there to ask questions to elicit facts, basic journalistic skill.

    Unfortunately, JK wasn't there to answer questions. He was there to give illusion of answering questions. There is little that JC could do about that.

    What JC could have done was a pre-recorded interview with both Key and somebody opposed to the bill, say somebody from the Law Society. Ask a question of Key. Ask a question of the Law Society. If either party waffles on about something inane, instead of answering a question, then edit it out, and their opponent's argument will stand.

    Of course, Key would never agree to that.

    Since Jun 2009 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • Gary Young, in reply to DexterX,

    Democracy is quite ill and will get no better once the GCSB Act is passed

    Which, I fear, is quite possibly one of the unspoken objectives of this whole exercise.

    Glenfield • Since Jun 2013 • 39 posts Report Reply

  • Bill Patterson, in reply to DexterX,

    I don't think you can necessarily separate winning/losing and discussion of substance. The reason this particular issue isn't talked about with substance is partially to do with the weakness of the opposition - and similar problems would arise if the centre-left were governing and the centre-right was underperforming. But also, this is a tough issue that can't be talked about by your average columnist (at least not well). I don't have a very good grasp of the substance, but I can very well adjudicate that when Key says the experts "aren't really experts" he's dismissing people who are highly respected and spend their entire lives in law and technology. Disagreeing on the substance is one thing, selectively dismissing experts based on whether they agree with you or not, is quite another. That's somewhat avoiding substance on my part, but it's something I can be more confident of.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2013 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Barnard, in reply to martinb,

    Yeah, and that qualifies as great politicking if little else. Substance and making a case have been largely irrelevant to political interviews for a very long time. It's rarely going to persuade anyone, it certainly doesn't create a more informed electorate, but from the perspective of 'winning' it dam well insures no blows are landed & the base can go off smiling gleefully.

    But it's what any competent media trained western politician has been doing for a generation, so I'm not quite getting people creaming themselves over Keys performance. It looks super impressive only in the context of Shearer and the rest of Labour looking like could spot clue if it kicked in the bollocks, and I hate to say when being interviewed by someone like John Campbell.

    The fact is it's still the same John Key that often comes across as sneering smug bully when rattled, and is just as likely to fall back on a banal mateiness. There's other interviews where he wouldn't have got away with such a mixture of non answer & banal twaddle, and it's no coincidence it's rare for him to do them.

    His approach wouldn't be half as successful if the economy wasn't going ok for sectors of the electorate he needs to keep onside, or if we have a leader of the opposition even vaguely worthy of the name. One or both of those things may change, if he Key can still front and still 'impress' to the same degree then you can talk. The idea that nothing sticks is simply down to his brilliance, is a nice idea if you want accuse the left of complacency, but I don't think it stacks up.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2012 • 72 posts Report Reply

  • Bill Patterson, in reply to Barnard,

    But it’s what any competent media trained western politician has been doing for a generation, so I’m not quite getting people creaming themselves over Keys performance. It looks super impressive only in the context of Shearer and the rest of Labour looking like could spot clue if it kicked in the bollocks, and I hate to say when being interviewed by someone like John Campbell.

    I'm skeptical of this, because the GOP in America would love to transplant Newt Gingrich's debating/interview skill onto any number of their more suitable candidates, most obviously Mitt Romney who was stiff as a brick. I'm not sure they'll have anyone suitable next time round either, and they are far better resourced financially/population-wise.

    So yes, stick the sign on the door. WANTED: competent media trained western politician.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2013 • 6 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I honestly think the only one they have who can do that well is Cunliffe. I've sat in the room while he was talking about complex issues and he was dazzling. He needs to do something about his image as a bit of a prick, but I don't think there's much choice about who can do the job.

    If Shearer goes the way of Bill Rowling, I'm also of the view that Cunliffe is the frontrunner. As it stands Cunliffe is like Kevin Rudd in the sense that he seems popular with the public but somehow not his caucus.

    If worst comes to worst, there needs to be a Michelle Boag of the Left who can clear out the dead wood. Know of anyone who's got the cojones for it?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    The appearance trap...
    It's an interesting consequence, which Key's handlers must be loving, that his Campbell Live appearance is reigniting leadership worries for supporters of the Labour party...
    ...divide and rule coupled with money for old trope?

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Hebe, in reply to Richard Love,

    What JC could have done was a pre-recorded interview with both Key and somebody opposed to the bill

    I heard (a radio report) that Key's people contacted Campbell at 4pm to say the PM would do the show that evening,.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 2899 posts Report Reply

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Exclusive to Herald this morning.....
    Key pledges to restrist Agency's Probe

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

  • Ian Dalziel,

    Dr Strangelove redux...
    Even with oversight processes in place,
    decision processes can (will) be prey to partisan actions...
    ... as seems to be playing out in the US at the moment:

    The leadership of the House intelligence committee is under growing pressure to explain whether it withheld surveillance information from members of Congress before a key vote to renew the Patriot Act.

    A Republican congressman and government ethics watchdogs are demanding that the powerful panel's chairman, Mike Rogers of Michigan, responds to charges that the panel's leadership failed to share a document prepared by the justice department and intelligence community.

    The document was explicitly created to inform non-committee members about bulk collection of Americans' phone records ahead of the vote in 2011. Michigan Republican Justin Amash alleged that the committee kept it from non-committee members – the majority of the House.

    The panel's chairman, Mike Rogers, is a former FBI agent. Its ranking Democrat, Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, received over $220,000 in campaign contributions during his past term from the defense and intelligence industries, according to David Kravets of Wired. Both are staunch advocates of the NSA bulk surveillance programs.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Glenn Pearce, in reply to Hebe,

    I heard (a radio report) that Key’s people contacted Campbell at 4pm to say the PM would do the show that evening,.

    Yeah, Brian Edwards is quoting the 4pm time as well and he's blocked my comment questioning it on his blog.

    CampbellLive tweeted at around 2pm that Key was appearing and negotiations would have been going on before that.

    Tonight, the Prime Minister joins us live in the studio to discuss the GCSB bill and our nationwide road trip.
    2:11 PM - 14 Aug 2013

    It would be interesting to know what the real story is, either way Campbell Live have had plenty of time to prepare.

    Auckland • Since Feb 2007 • 504 posts Report Reply

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