Hard News by Russell Brown

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

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  • WH,

    I don't think John Campbell did a bad job. It was more that he wanted to ask about the risks posed by botulism, whereas Key went on the show to talk about milk.

    I don't know who is right, but it concerns me that Key dismissed the feedback of the Law Society and Sir Geoffrey Palmer in the way that he did. Key bordered on smarmy at times, and as you say, it felt as though he was manipulating Campbell's willingness to let him put his case.

    If Campbell wants to engage the public on this, he needs to start a broader discussion about privacy in the digital age that treats the dangers posed by unjustified government interception as one threat among many. This debate is not really about 88 instances of serious offending, spread over a decade. If that is how this issue is framed, John Key will go back to talking about snapper.

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel, in reply to WH,

    This debate is not really about 88 instances
    of serious offending, spread over a decade.

    ...it's also being mindful of who they're getting
    'us' into bed with, as it were...

    This video is a good reminder of who is in control, and puts a spotlight on the revolving door between Big Gov and Big Business in the States.

    Plus: this piece in The Atlantic implores the big Internet companies to stand up to the NSA, et al...

    It turns out that the NSA's domestic and world-wide surveillance apparatus is even more extensive than we thought. Bluntly: The government has commandeered the Internet. Most of the largest Internet companies provide information to the NSA, betraying their users. Some, as we've learned, fight and lose. Others cooperate, either out of patriotism or because they believe it's easier that way.

    I have one message to the executives of those companies: fight.

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7950 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Sofie Bribiesca,

    I would suspect that Crosby Textor are still on the National Party payroll and Key’s office having complete control of the questions being put was probably a big part of how he was groomed to respond.

    *sigh* First, perhaps if John Campbell or anyone on the production side of Campbell Live they might like to respond to that directly. But, FFS... I know Crosby Textor is the fashionable bogeyman of the left but it's more than a little naive to pretend 'perception management' isn't indulged in by the left. (At the moment, I doubt Kevin Rudd would fart without running it by a focus group first.) Lynton Crosby and Mark Textor could have taken masterclasses in message discipline from Clark and the advisors she started surrounding herself with from the day she became opposition leader.

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

  • Geoff Lealand, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    But there is a difference between being trained to lie with style, and training to communicate your ideas well via the media.

    Screen & Media Studies, U… • Since Oct 2007 • 2562 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I doubt Kevin Rudd would fart without running it by a focus group first

    That would make interesting research, random groups rating various politically aligned farts.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • HORansome, in reply to BenWilson,

    Surely it all depends on what form the Emission Trading Scheme takes?

    Tāmaki Makaurau • Since Sep 2008 • 441 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    *sigh* First, perhaps if John Campbell or anyone on the production side of Campbell Live they might like to respond to that directly. But, FFS… I know Crosby Textor is the fashionable bogeyman of the left but it’s more than a little naive to pretend ‘perception management’ isn’t indulged in by the left.

    I'm not aware of any evidence that Crosby Textor are assisting in NZ. They're pretty busy in the UK and Australia at the moment anyway -- with strategy rather than mere media training. And yes, everyone does this, some more competently than others.

    Edwards and Plunket's insistence that Key was merely patiently answering questions for the benefit of the public is a bit rich, though. The "I'll get back to that" technique in interviews is also practised very successfully by Steven Joyce. It lets the subject rattle out a bunch of assertions of which the interviewer will end up being able to query at most one or two. In a good-faith interview, the subject would pause to answer a question as it's asked. But Campbell was trying to trap Key too. It becomes an arms race.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to BenWilson,

    Also, it’s dead easy to get stuck into Shearer again. But he wasn’t in the interview, and it would have been a very different beast if he was. He may come across poorly when questioned about what Labour’s policy and direction is, but that’s not what this would have been about, and he’s perfectly competent at taking an aggressive line of questioning, from what I’ve seen in Parliament.

    I dunno. I'm a bit weary of hearing him miss his step on Radio NZ.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • "chris", in reply to Russell Brown,

    Perhaps misguidedly I found myself agreeing with this Herald comment:

    A politician's job is to campaign for support on stated issues. A journalist's job is to ask questions that elucidate or expose the answers politicians give, not to answer them. Unfortunately too many NZ journalists think that it is their job to answer those questions.

    A good journalist knows how to ask tough questions so that the answers will be exposed as true or false.

    To me it feels largely academic to speculate on how the beast that is the politician should behave, but I'd be quite interested in reading some kind of detailed analysis as to what John Campbell could have done better. My interest was piqued by your mention of 'still' and 'mover' as I know very little about journalism theory, I'd imagine there must be some guidelines to prevent an interviewee getting away like that. Also, and correct me if I'm wrong here, but in terms of an edited Media7/3 show, there generally seemed to be a very narrow and refined focus, but in this Cambell live interview it almost seemed as if there were to many questions on the table.

    Truthfully my heart sank watching that piece, I couldn't help but ponder both the fate of Media3 and how much more solidly you would have dealt with the PM in that situation Russell, not to brown-nose, I've just never seen you as flustered, by anyone.

    And this is no slight on John Campbell's abilities per se, I'm probably in a minority in feeling that his Corngate interview way back when was objectively quite brilliant, and I was a little dismayed last year to read his regrets in his handling of that. I can't help but wonder whether the subsequent fallout still lingers, putting him off his natural game in this most recent PM interview.

    location, location, locat… • Since Dec 2010 • 250 posts Report Reply

  • "chris",

    Apologies - Campbell with a p, live with a capital L, double o too and “…Also, and correct me if I’m wrong here, but..” should have been at the end of the next paragraph. But anyway.

    location, location, locat… • Since Dec 2010 • 250 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    The “I’ll get back to that” technique in interviews is also practised very successfully by Steven Joyce. It lets the subject rattle out a bunch of assertions of which the interviewer will end up being able to query at most one or two.

    Running out the clock? It's a classic, and a not-at-all-surprisingly effective one -- especially when you've got an interviewer who thinks they're going to be able to browbeat a subject into giving an answer they've no intention of giving. Like much else, that only works regularly on TV dramas. :)

    But Campbell was trying to trap Key too. It becomes an arms race.

    Quite - and it can lead to the interviewer missing that much-underrated (and difficult) tool in the journalist's arsenal -- the lethally pointed follow-up when you've been paying attention to what's being said rather than just waiting for your turn to speak.

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

  • "chris", in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    the lethally pointed follow-up when you’ve been paying attention to what’s being said rather than just waiting for your turn to speak.

    Thanks Craig, that's exactly the kind of thing I want to know. From recollection Key pulled out that Norton Antivirus quip quite early on and that alone could have been ample rope to string him up with.

    location, location, locat… • Since Dec 2010 • 250 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Cameron, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    Running out the clock? It’s a classic, and a not-at-all-surprisingly effective one – especially when you’ve got an interviewer who thinks they’re going to be able to browbeat a subject into giving an answer they’ve no intention of giving.

    Now I am fully aware it is not considered a current affairs show, BUT from time to time The Daily Show in the US do pull out some truly good interviews. A big reason for that seems to be the ability to fill the original on air time slot, and then if they want to run over they put the rest of the interview up on their website.

    I always thought this was such a good idea, and wondered why more serious current affairs shows do not take advantage of the technology this way? It seems to solve the problem of keeping it short and sweet for your average audience, but for those that want the full interview they can view it online for the full detail. And with a "difficult" subject, it really gives them the time to fight it out.

    Is it more a case of the production costs involved? That's the only reason I can come up with. Especially in NZ, it seems like it could have a lot of potential.

    Christchurch • Since May 2013 • 15 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Here's an idea for a civil disobedience campaign.

    Step 1: Make a list of journalists, politicians and other public figures who openly support cyber-snooping on the rest of us.
    Step 2: Register a black van, tint the windows, install a radar dish on top and a hidden video camera on the side.
    Step 3. Park outside the guilty parties' addresses.
    Step 4. Profit?

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

  • BenWilson,

    I dunno. I’m a bit weary of hearing him miss his step on Radio NZ.

    Me too, I'm no fan. But I'll admit it's a hard ask for him to perform well in a debate he wasn't even in.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    but I’d be quite interested in reading some kind of detailed analysis as to what John Campbell could have done better

    John Key was able to establish inside five minutes that there that the underlying legislation had been introduced by the last Labour government, that it has (apparently) been invoked on less than one hundred occasions during the last ten years, and that the process is directly overseen by the Prime Minister and a retired member of the Court of Appeal.

    Then, at the end of the interview, Key was entirely plausibly able to refuse to answer questions about the most problematic aspects of the legislation.

    Campbell could offer little more than possibilities in relation to the very real danger that the government’s interception capabilities could be misused. It’s an important point, but its hard to sheet home during a section by section discussion of the bill.

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • Mick Cane, in reply to Gary Young,

    Absolutely!

    Hokianga • Since Aug 2013 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • "chris", in reply to WH,

    Thanks WH, In terms of the power dynamic, most notable for me was that John Campbell began by admonishing Key on his past reluctance to front up, following that up with a question about the snapper quota quote, which allowed Key to begin a spiel which concluded with Key stating that the show has made errors and the Right Honorable had come on to “correct those”. From there it was a hop, skip and a jump to John Campbell’s tetchy: “whatever” and shift towards the defensive tone that ensued “I want to come back to the mistake you think we’re making"…"I’ve never so much as had a coffee with Kim..”

    As John Campbell mentioned when Russell interviewed him last year; John wears his heart on his sleeve, and he seemed rattled from there on in. Obviously their conduct and the battle of temperaments amounts to diddly squat in terms of the legislation and issues themselves but as a one time TV viewer I can see how middle New Zealand would have gobbled up that load of codswallop.

    And I’m not sure I quite follow John Campbell’s vacuuming aside:

    JK: No, let me finish, cause it’s really important people understand this. So on your computer at home, you almost certainly have Norton Anti-virus. Or you have some sort of anti-virus thing that you’ve downloaded and paid money for. That is exactly what that is at a much higher level.

    JC: OK. Well then

    JK: Understand absolutely. Understands

    JC: That’s the kind of vacuuming that’s going on.

    location, location, locat… • Since Dec 2010 • 250 posts Report Reply

  • WH,

    As John Campbell mentioned when Russell interviewed him last year; John wears his heart on his sleeve, and he seemed rattled from there on in.

    Campbell seemed to have made a decision to focus on the New Zealand position and to avoid the NSA disclosures. That allowed Key to outline the structure of and rationale for the New Zealand legislation at some length. I can understand why he did it, but I think it put him at a disadvantage.

    From there it was a hop, skip and a jump to John Campbell’s tetchy: “whatever” and shift towards the defensive tone that ensued “I want to come back to the mistake you think we’re making"…"I’ve never so much as had a coffee with Kim..”

    I thought Key’s comments about snapper, the Law Society and Kim Dotcom were really inappropriate. You have to wonder whether a guy who thinks that New Zealanders' views about fish are a trump card in a debate about constitutional rights really has the temperament for this kind of responsibility.

    Still, I’m sure lots of people thought they were great.

    Since Nov 2006 • 797 posts Report Reply

  • Deborah, in reply to BenWilson,

    But I’ll admit it’s a hard ask for him to perform well in a debate he wasn’t even in.

    Yes... 'though the worry is not that David Shearer did or didn't perform well in a debate that he wasn't in. It's that Key turned on a stunning performance, and we've not yet seen David Shearer turn on a performance that could match it. Or maybe he has, but we're just not aware of it.

    New Lynn • Since Nov 2006 • 1447 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Deborah,

    we’ve not yet seen David Shearer turn on a performance that could match it. Or maybe he has, but we’re just not aware of it.

    I've never seen it, and I've seen lots of bumbling. He's not bad in questions in Parliament, but that is with backup vocals, so it's hard to be sure how good his voice is.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10657 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    Meanwhile Tony Abbott says these sexist, racist and homophobic comments to a journalist from the Sydney Morning Herald and it's all just fine with the voters - because this election is apparently all about winning western Sydney and Queensland?

    (Maybe we could have a thread for the Australian election because there are some bizarre things going on there)

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    Meanwhile Tony Abbott says these sexist, racist and homophobic comments to a journalist from the Sydney Morning Herald and it’s all just fine with the voters

    That's the work of Mike Carlton, who fancies himself as something of a satirist. While it might be close to the mark on how Abbott actually thinks, Crosby Textor would hardly let him actually say that kind of thing.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace, in reply to Joe Wylie,

    I thought it might have been satirical but the item following this one is serious.
    But he is a very strange man (Abbott)

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3226 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    But he is a very strange man (Abbott)

    From the seven years I spent in Australia during the Howard era, with Abbott a Minister for most of that time, I'd have to say that you're not wrong.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

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