Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Something odd and unresolved

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  • Paul Campbell,

    thinking back about high school (and it was a long time ago) I realise I don't remember a single face/name from the year ahead of me - it was a more innocent time so I can't blame the drugs

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2622 posts Report Reply

  • Holly Johnson,

    Was it just me, or did the whole thing seem like it was written with a crayon? It was a long way from an incisive, articulate and ... accuse me of elitism ... intelligent profile. It read like a children's book, and the anecdotes were (appropriately?) banal.
    I found it a struggle to get through, it was like I was getting over a sleeping pill.
    Still, good on the Herald for devoting so many resources to it, a story that desperately needs telling (as last weekend's SST article showed, with the woman they found who'd moved from the city to small-town Geraldine, never normally voted, but would this time, and for Key: though "she didn't know why").
    I just wish some of the senior Herald journalists who have now left - Peter Calder, Graham Reid, say - were on hand to do something insightful with what the reporters came up with.

    Auckland • Since Jun 2008 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Kebabette,

    There was some interesting footage of "80s John" on this Sunday's Unauthorised History of New Zealand ...

    Christchurch • Since Feb 2007 • 221 posts Report Reply

  • Rik,

    Well he seemed like a pretty nice/regular guy on TV3's Gone Fishin' show on the 12th July:

    Gone Fishin' - A Day with John Key

    Sure there is plenty of debate to be had over policy, etc but do we really need a character assasination this early on?

    Since Jun 2007 • 130 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Was it just me, or did the whole thing seem like it was written with a crayon?

    Um, yes. I don't know what you really were after, but I found Brian Edwards' biography of Helen Clark equally... well, dull. Which may prove nothing more than Key and Clark had neither childhoods of Dickensian squalor and abuse or adolescences scented with pot smoke -- which I don't actually think is a bad thing.

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

  • Russell Brown,

    There was some interesting footage of "80s John" on this Sunday's Unauthorised History of New Zealand ...

    Paul Casserly is demonstrating what you can do if you enter the TVNZ Archive with your wits about you. Last week's glimpse of the 1972 Compass programme 'How to Win An Election' had me drooling. (The part with the Social Credit candidates being media-trained was priceless. You might as well have tried to media-train some potatoes.)

    I really think they could afford to drop the irony and the funny voices and just go out as a really, really sharp archive show.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Compare with Helen Clark, of whom even "respectable" journalists have felt permitted to repeatedly enquire whether hers is a "real" marriage.

    I'd question whether anyone following that track was a respectable journalist?

    Surely people are fully entitled to choose their own style of relationship? For some it might be roses round the door, wifey looking after the kids in the traditional 50's manner. For others it might involve each person pursuing a fulfilled life without being joined at the hip.

    I don't see that it's valid to judge people on that any more than on their sexuality.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I did many of the same things as Key did -- played hooker in a Burnside club scrum, debated, spoke at the lecturn

    But Russell... I thought you were from Timaru? ;)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3828 posts Report Reply

  • Shaun Lee,

    I don't know how it can be "unauthorised" and have a childhood picture of him. Surely they needed family permission for that?

    Tho I did not read the article.

    Auckland • Since Jul 2008 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    But Russell... I thought you were from Timaru? ;)

    Ho bloody ho.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov,

    it's like discussing a ship's figurehead. This guy is an uninspiring drone and H. Clark is the biggerst control freak since Graham Henry, neither has what it takes to give NZ economic policy the necessary kick up the pants it needs to have relevance in the 21st century.
    the quote:
    "if voting changed anything it would be illegal"
    comes to mind, although i still take some pride in having Helen as Prime Minister, cos she's kind of sharp. For John Key to even get a look in this close to the election speaks volumes. john key is the workhorse Boxer, none of the animals would have voted for Boxer, he's the sad f&ck you get to build your windmill, and there's no way that Boxer would ever be a real threat to Napolean Clark.

    find Benjamin!

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2281 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    I don't know how it can be "unauthorised" and have a childhood picture of him. Surely they needed family permission for that?

    Frankly, Shaun, I don't know what the fixation on the u-word is. I very much doubt John Key rang his mother and said she'd never see her grandchildren again if she talked to that nasty Eugene Bingham. But getting from there to some kind of advertorial cooked up by Key's staff (which some people seem to believe) is a rather long bow.

    Anyhow, I'll bet good money that there's some Sun-sational expose of John Key's downlow gay sexcapades and his secret agenda stinking up a corner of Ian Wishart's hard drive, ready to be sprung about five minutes after he gets the swipe card to the Ninth Floor.

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

  • Public Servant on a tea-break.,

    In response to Rich of Observationz’s comment about journalists reporting relationships being flawed, I agree. The idea that a married ‘family man’ Prime Minister has to be superior to a childless Prime Minister is wrong, so shouldn’t be an issue. Michael Joseph Savage was unmarried, childless, and didn’t own his own home; yet a lot of families benefited from his government.

    Clark’s marriage is childless, many are. It has nothing to do with anything, except maybe rumours sell papers.

    Thank you for linking to the Comrie paper Russell, it was very interesting.

    Wellington • Since Apr 2008 • 67 posts Report Reply

  • Sam F,

    john key is the workhorse Boxer, none of the animals would have voted for Boxer, he's the sad f&ck you get to build your windmill, and there's no way that Boxer would ever be a real threat to Napolean Clark.

    Please nobody take this as agreement with the above sentiment - but I lol'd.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 1609 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Um, yes. I don't know what you really were after, but I found Brian Edwards' biography of Helen Clark equally... well, dull.

    But there's a bit of a difference between the sympathetic biography book that every political leader seems to put out at a strategic moment these days, and an in depth biography by an independent newspaper.

    We know that Brian Edward's book is going to be sympathetic, and probably achieving some goals for Helen Clark and her political career.

    You'd have to hope that the Herald would aim slightly higher, independent media, inform the public, get the inside scoop, cut through the spin, etc etc etc.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    You'd have to hope that the Herald would aim slightly higher, independent media, inform the public, get the inside scoop, cut through the spin, etc etc etc.

    So, Kyle, do you think Ruth Key has some dark secret buried back in Austria, his half-brothers know and loathe their little bro', he secretly beats his children and abuses his wife, and there was a long line of school mates and former co-workers he terrorised whose interviews mysteriously got lost? Sorry for sounding like a broken record here, but I've got to wonder. For all the things you can fault the Herald for (and I do), I'm not too upset that we didn't see an exercise in Wishart-lite silage spreading.

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

  • Paul Williams,

    Mark Taslow said:

    it's like discussing a ship's figurehead. This guy is an uninspiring drone and H. Clark is the biggerst control freak since Graham Henry...

    yup, with you to this point but then:

    ...neither has what it takes to give NZ economic policy the necessary kick up the pants it needs to have relevance in the 21st century.

    Which aspiring PM can do this and how? It's not like Helen, Cullen and co. have a whole lot of extra switches and dials they've been avoiding but which Key will expertly manipulate.

    Can anyone tell me when last a newspaper undertook to produce a biography of a current politician, let alone an aspiring PM. It's bizarre. One of the smartest commentators at the short-lived kiwiblogblog, redlogix, said this of the Herald's position on Key:

    Besides, however frustrating it is to have a Tory rag like the Herald indulging in hysteric campaigns to change the govt, more worrisome is that if they get their desire in September this year, and having committed themselves to a such a partisan position, they will have gelded themselves in terms of holding a National govt to account.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    This whole thing remindes me of News on the March. Perhaps Citizen Key has his own Rosebud and it will be the subject of the next instalment.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    Can anyone tell me when last a newspaper undertook to produce a biography of a current politician, let alone an aspiring PM.

    But he's such a cypher, Paul. A Hollow Man who is nothing and nobody! I thought that was the consensus regarding John Key - or have I missed something?

    But when The Herald does some digging, it's a "hysterical" Tory rag because it's not ghostwritten by Ian Wishart? My God, I wish they'd uncovered the mummified corpse of a puppy Lil' John kicked to death and everyone would be happy.

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

  • Russell Brown,

    they will have gelded themselves in terms of holding a National govt to account.

    This has occurred to me. It's a fine line they tread.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22848 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    This has occurred to me. It's a fine line they tread.

    Oh come on... I know it's a little inconvenient to remember, but I'm reasonably confident Bill English would dispute that he ever got the editorial deep throat from The Herald or anywhere else when he was leader of the National Party. And I wonder if anyone has actually done a serious analysis of the Herald's editorials, because much as it sickens be to admit I don't think you could honesty say they're knee-jerk criticism of the evil Liarbore Dykeocracy. Though I sure can understand why any politician would regard the bouquets as nothing more than their due, and any criticism as a vicious media gang bang. So easy to forget that politicians are human too, no matter how hard they try to prove otherwise. :)

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

  • Paul Williams,

    But he's such a cypher, Paul. A Hollow Man who is nothing and nobody! I thought that was the consensus regarding John Key - or have I missed something?

    If that were true, would that make it ok?

    A (self-proclaimed) national daily newspaper spruiking a politician is always worrisome regardless of that person's merits. Surely, if we abstract from the personalities, the risks of this situation are clearly apparent; this isn't a partisan blog, this is an established part of the NZ journalistic fraternity.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Frankly, Shaun, I don't know what the fixation on the u-word is.

    I'll tell you what it is, Craig, it's a lie. And a stupidly unnecessary one at that. Given that it made up the banner that led into the article how are we to judge the credibility of the rest of the profile?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    A (self-proclaimed) national daily newspaper spruiking a politician is always worrisome regardless of that person's merits.

    Well, I actually find glib knee-jerk cynicism equally worrisome. If you come in assuming that anyone in public life must be a liar, a cheat and an all around shitbag then don't be surprised when you get it.

    I'll tell you what it is, Craig, it's a lie.

    And if anyone actually comes up with any evidence -- as opposed to assuming -- that there's any collusion between the Herald and Key and his staff, I'm concede the point. Until then, Don, I'll keep saying there's some reaching far in excess of a reality-based grasp here.

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

  • Paul Williams,

    Well, I actually find glib knee-jerk cynicism equally worrisome. If you come in assuming that anyone in public life must be a liar, a cheat and an all around shitbag then don't be surprised when you get it.

    I don't accept that criticism Craig and I don't think Key's significantly less honest than any other politician. My criticisms are primarily aimed at the role of the Herald ~ I simply find it extremely odd that the Herald have so clearly hitched their wagon so early in the process.

    Sydney • Since Nov 2006 • 2273 posts Report Reply

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