Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Tired and emotional, for reals

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  • Russell Brown,

    And just as I hit “publish” here, Gordon Campbell has published a long and thorough response to Armstrong’s complaints.

    And now Edwards himself has responded, with remarkable grace.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    You're far too modest to say so, Russell, but for an evil bitching blogger you did a pretty good job of promptly retracting and correcting a post that, in part, was highly critical of MSM non-coverage of the PM's brain-fart that wasn't at the Pacific Islands Forum stand up with Hillary Clinton.

    Yes, John Armstrong, bloggers fuck up and not every criticism that comes from the internet is fair or even accurate. Some bloggers also really suck at admitting when they've got things wrong, others do it well. Sort of like newspaper political columnists, ay?

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

  • Kumara Republic,

    A certain higher-profile panty-drawer rummager from Auckland – too obvious to mention – has gotten away with far nastier stuff than Campbell and Edwards, so I’d always wondered if Armstrong was shooting at the wrong targets.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5439 posts Report Reply

  • Lyndon Hood,

    I'm guessing Armstrong didn't call Gordon either. And if we're running by the rules of accuracy, I actually don't think there's much ignorance of the realities of journalism from Gordon's corner.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1115 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell, in reply to Lyndon Hood,

    I actually don't think there's much ignorance of the realities of journalism from Gordon's corner.

    When did Gordon stop being/working as a journalist and become a 'blogger'? I'm not sure where and how lines are drawn, but neither Werewolf nor Scoop are what I would call blogs.

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 2110 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    Why is it the NZ media can spare an airfare to cover a John Key media opportunity overseas, but not for actual foreign news stories?

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

  • BenWilson,

    I've been consciously spending less time with political blogs and blogging because it's so often dull, angry, male and repetitive.

    Yes, if we wanted that, we'd join the army.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10655 posts Report Reply

  • bob daktari,

    This is todays biggest issue in our land and every single relevant writer must cover it

    Some people wonder why the public seemingly only care about celeb culture...

    auckland • Since Dec 2006 • 540 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Which western is to be channeled? Four main options I see:

    - High noon. Some isolated old fart decides to have a fight and no one else wants to join in so he has to take the gang by himself. Nope, not applicable here.

    - Once upon a time in the West. A battle of honour, in which a couple of old saws spend hours getting themselves ready for something that is blissfully short. Not seeing it.

    - The Gunfight at OK Corral. Getting closer, a good pack vs a bad pack. But which is which?

    - Unforgiven. A drunk old assassin turns up by surprise, murders a couple of people before they get a chance, and everyone else is so surprised that he manages to pick them off while they shoot wildly. Then he threatens the entire town if they don't bury his buddy properly, and rides off with a bottle of whiskey for company. Hmmmm....

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10655 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Reading John Armstrong -

    ...Few media representatives travelling with John Key would have got more than four or five hours’ sleep each night – probably less – because of the Prime Minister’s schedule, which ran from 6am (earlier if a flight was involved) until well into the evening. Days were spent clambering on and off buses in 35C heat and 100 per cent humidity...

    It occured to me that he isn't a young - or even reasonably fit middle aged - man anymore. Maybe it is as simple as he just can't hack the pace on these big overseas assignments anymore. A younger journalist can get by on adrenaline and coffee and appreciate the awesomeness of seeing so many important world leaders. An old man cannot.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    It occured to me that he isn’t a young – or even reasonably fit middle aged – man anymore. Maybe it is as simple as he just can’t hack the pace on these big overseas assignments anymore.

    I was thinking about that. I'd struggle with that itinerary, and I do consider myself reasonably fit.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to BenWilson,

    Blazing Saddles: The cowboys sit around a fire, flatulently.

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

  • Rich of Observationz, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    the awesomeness of seeing so many important world leaders

    A bit like going to the White House / Downing Street and peering through the railings. I wonder, when political journalists were small children, their favourite treat was to sit in the car on Tinakori Rd and wait for the PM to come out of Premier House?

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

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Blazing Saddles: The cowboys sit around a fire, flatulently.

    MAJOR LOLZ.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I would expect an apology to be tendered, at least in private.

    And Mr Edwards seems due for one directly from Mr Armstrong, judging by what Bryce writes here:

    I'm genuinely surprised by his vigorous critique of my work. In fact, I met him for coffee twice last month for amicable discussions about political journalism and commentary. I asked for feedback on my political roundup and specifically whether there was ever any ill-feeling in his office towards what I am doing. He replied that it was quite the opposite, and that he was a fan of the political roundup and found it 'incredibly useful'. I believe I have given Armstrong's political commentary the prominence it is due since my daily roundup began. No doubt our interpretation and view of politics differs at times, but the reference to 'bile and invective' leaves me at a loss to explain.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Lord forbid that an independent commentator should fail to "please" the government. It's part of the doubtless sometimes difficult calibration of Armstrong's role that he may have to temper his commentary to maintain the confidence of all parties, and the governing ones in particular.

    Gordon Campbell addresses this one explicitly in his response:

    A more important reason is that over the past 30 years, the old tenets and work practices of ‘objective’ journalism have failed the public. (This 2003 essay by Brent Cunningham in the Columbia Journalism Review entitled “Re-Thinking Objectivity” is still highly relevant to this argument.)

    The problem being, politicians and their spinmeisters have learned how to play the lazy ‘two sides to every story’ premise of so-called ‘objective journalism’ like a violin. In reality, there are far more than Two Major Party sides to every story, and the job of journalism should begin – not end – after the views of National and Labour have been sought. By and large it has been the blogosphere that has taken up the evaluative task that the mainstream media has abandoned, or lacked the gumption to pursue.

    In my view, those tasks of Evaluative Journalism are as essential and as difficult, as anything done in the name of Objective Journalism, which is often a mechanical procedure. And a parasitical one, as often as not – highly dependent on those on whom it feeds, and careful to avoid incurring the displeasure of its hosts.

    No, it does not mean that “anything goes” when it comes to the task of evaluation. The rules of fairness and accuracy still apply and if anything, are more to the fore. It is usually the “objective” journalism that tucks its half truths, deliberate exclusions and ideological premises carefully out of sight, before it comes to the table. By contrast on the blogosphere…you have to put the evidence on the page and make the process of evaluation as transparent as possible, if you’re going to win the readers’ trust.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    I hope the Herald's journalists and editors can meet to discuss the points that these two lucid responses raise about their role and value in today's media landscape.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19735 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to bob daktari,

    This is todays biggest issue in our land and every single relevant writer must cover it

    Incoming! Damian Christie!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • David Cormack,

    Tim Murphy is really not helping this situation by 'hyping' the 'spat' between them via his Twitter account.

    Journalists behaving like MPs who behave like children.

    Le sigh.

    Suburbia, Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 218 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia, in reply to Russell Brown,

    I was thinking about that. I’d struggle with that itinerary, and I do consider myself reasonably fit.

    OTOH, Warren Berryman used to leave hacks half his age twitching and weeping into their over-loud Berocca. But I guess you can't win -- send your spring chickens instead of the battle-hardened old broilers you get bitched for not taking things like APEC or the Pacific Forum (or the downright brutal next eight weeks on the US hustings) at all seriously.

    If there's one thing new and old media have in common it's this: Anyone who thinks they're ever going to satisfy everyone is setting themselves up for heartbreak.

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

  • Tom Semmens,

    After pondering it a bit more, I think the Herald management should carry some of the blame. For relentless eighteen hour days you need two journalists, no matter what their age. Expecting youngsters to work an eighteen hour day for a week and produce anything decent is ridiculous, yet alone someone of Armstrong’s wheezy provenance.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    You're far too modest to say so, Russell, but for an evil bitching blogger you did a pretty good job of promptly retracting and correcting a post that, in part, was highly critical of MSM non-coverage of the PM's brain-fart that wasn't at the Pacific Islands Forum stand up with Hillary Clinton.

    For me, the most interesting things were (a) that I and others were prepared to believe that the transcript was accurate and the comment had been missed by reporters, and (b) that no one else seems to read official transcripts.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22843 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Calder,

    For the record, I read "It is now starting to develop a much more political dynamic that is unlikely to please National?, rather differently, as a heavily ironic litotes meaning “is likely to piss the Government off” [with no implication that it is a bad thing to piss the Government off]. The idea that a political correspondent of John’s stature would say of Edwards “Ooooh, you’re naughty, I’m going to tell Mr Key on you” seems to me a little far-fetched even if your starting point is that Armstrong is on the payroll of the PM’s media team.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 66 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Blazing Saddles: The cowboys sit around a fire, flatulently.

    Heh, brilliant. They beat the crap out of some cardboard cutouts, and then are blown sky high by a single pistol shot from 5 miles away.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 10655 posts Report Reply

  • Stewart,

    Sounds to me like Armstrong is 'raging against the dying of the light' and not going quietly. The sad ranting of a man who sees his days are numbered (and not into very many digits).

    Te Ika A Maui - Whakatane… • Since Oct 2008 • 577 posts Report Reply

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