Williams on Holmes

January 27th, 2013 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

The best article I have read on is from former Labour President Mike Williams in the Herald on Sunday. It’s a great read, and what I really enjoyed about it is that it is about Holmes the person, not the broadcaster. Williams has been friends with him for almost 50 years.

Also an interesting read is the 1973 Listener interview with Holmes.

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21 Responses to “Williams on Holmes”

  1. Redbaiter (8,882 comments) says:

    Sorry.

    Even considering that Holmes is apparently on his death bed, I’m afraid I cannot share in the reverence.

    Holmes is one of a breed of Progressives (John Campbell is another) who because of their lack of political objectivity, have poisoned the well of journalism for generations.

    We owe Holmes no chivalry. His legacy is a once reputable profession brought into utter disrepute.

    That is the harsh truth.

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  2. aquataur (56 comments) says:

    Agree with Redbaiter – Holmes as a journo was an obnoxious little sh*t and I can’t for the life of me see what he has done to deserve a Kthood

    In fact, he seems to have pressured others to get it – see this quote from this morning’s Herald

    “The next day, Holmes spoke passionately to her of his desire for a honour. “He did a straight pitch for a knighthood,” a source said.”

    Sad he is ill but I don’t think he contributed much to NZ. In the end, it was and still is all about himself

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  3. Chuck Bird (4,883 comments) says:

    I wonder what the chances are of Labour returning the favour and JK getting a knighthood in a few years when Labour is in power?

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  4. tvb (4,422 comments) says:

    Holmes is a decent person. He asked the ard questions. He could be quite hard on politicians including Helen Clark and John Key. And so he should be. The fact that both have such high regard for him says much for his professionalism. I find the above comments from red batter and the other one ignorant and stupid. I will miss Homes a lot even if at times he irritated me at times.

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  5. aquataur (56 comments) says:

    tvb – The fact that both have such high regard for him says much for his professionalism.

    No it doesn’t – it says much for their populist approach – to not upset voters

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  6. tvb (4,422 comments) says:

    Surely not aquanaur. They could have done nothing. But they put themselves out for Holmsey.

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  7. Kea (12,841 comments) says:

    Holmes is just one big ball of ego, like many media people. His concern for “his people” only extended to self promotion by appealing to popular sentiment. He is no better, or worse, than other presenters in that regard. Certainly he should not be knighted for it.

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  8. Azeraph (604 comments) says:

    The herald should not of published that article without a source name, it puts stink where it might be just vapor for their ratings, if they can’t verify then it should not be published regardless of how one feels about the man.

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  9. tvb (4,422 comments) says:

    Having an ego goes with the job. We do not have access to the people Holmsey interviewed. But Holmsey acts on our behalf. He is sometimes cheeky and outrageous. Especially with the politicians. But he got answers.

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  10. Michael (909 comments) says:

    Before Paul Holmes burst onto TV you didn’t see extended interviews with newsmakers every night in prime time. You either had a once a week current affairs programme, or you waited until EyeWitness News at 10.30pm (after the House rose and the Minister could be bothered with been driven out to Avalon).

    His TV show, despite its shameless pursuit of ratings over substantial news, changed the way NZ views it politicians – instead of reading a few quotes in the paper the next day, you get to see them as the news happens every night on TV.

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  11. Redbaiter (8,882 comments) says:

    If Holmes had done his job right, there is no way Helen Klark would be asking Key to give him a knighthood.

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  12. Viking2 (11,471 comments) says:

    tvb (3,045) Says:
    January 27th, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Holmes is a decent person. He asked the ard questions. He could be quite hard on politicians including Helen Clark and John Key. And so he should be. The fact that both have such high regard for him says much for his professionalism. I find the above comments from red batter and the other one ignorant and stupid. I will miss Homes a lot even if at times he irritated me at times.————————–

    Never asked the hard questions just the popular ones. Perigo was the last TV interviewer to do that and it reulted in ppoliticians refusing to be interviewed, especially Muldoon at the time.
    Popular TV doesn’t make for penetrating analysis.

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  13. David Garrett (7,278 comments) says:

    Well whatever else, the guy has been a bit of a pioneer…that being the case, it’s kind of fitting that his impending death seems to have sparked a new trend: people writing tributes while he is still here and can read them, rather than after he has gone.

    I was interviewed by him twice, some years apart, and on quite different topics. He was very well briefed, and allowed the questions to be answered, unlike the dreadful Mary Wilson, Sean Plunket, Campbell, and others who would think themselves far superior journalists than Holmes was. His passing will leave a hole.

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  14. Redbaiter (8,882 comments) says:

    So you don’t see anything unethical in “journalists” asking personal favours and for the endorsements of politicians?

    Why wasn’t Klark’s involvement with the Owen Glenn donations more thoroughly investigated?

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  15. tristanb (1,127 comments) says:

    Reminds me of Clare Curran sucking up to a dead Steve Jobs. Jobs might have been a good businessman (Labour’s meant to hate that, right?) but by all accounts he was a narcissist; he hurt, stole, copied and cheated his way to where he was. Clare cynically chose to align herself with the arsehole, because she’s never one to miss trying to jump on a leaving bandwagon.

    Holmes is just a self-promoting dickhead. He didn’t “change the scene” – the scene changed, and he was a presenter for a new format of TV show. Just because the guy’s dying doesn’t mean we have to act as though he was great. He wasn’t. He’s just another presenter – and we’ve had hundreds of them.

    Seems like Williams is doing the same thing as Curran, except he’s going to claim to be “friends” for that next level of prestige that comes with knowing a dying famous person. Cynical and opportunistic, but expected.

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  16. tvb (4,422 comments) says:

    I found Williams article genuine and moving and revealing.

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  17. Rex Widerstrom (5,354 comments) says:

    Kudos to Michael and David Garrett for identifying two of the things that Holmes (the man and the eponymous show) did – brought current affairs to prime time TV where before there had been a wasteland of gameshows and soap operas, and gave people the scope to actually answer.

    I’ve been an interviewer and it took me a while to learn – and I learned in great part thanks to Holmes – that you’ll often reveal more with a carefully phrased question and then shutting your mouth than you will by challenging the interviewee midway through every sentence. Of course a good interview may require a mixture of both, and Holmes did that too at times.

    It’s difficult for NZers to appreciate how good Holmes (again, both the man and the show, to which a great number of talented people contributed) was because we have had a number of very good interviewers in the past including Lindsay Perigo, as Viking2 mentioned, and Simon Walker and, dare I say it in this forum, Brian Edwards.

    However all of those others took a highly intellectual, somewhat combative approach that might have worked well on some politicians and other “professional interviewees” but not on more ordinary people. That Holmes could switch from an interrogation of a senior Minister to speaking with compassion and humanity to, say, Eve van Grafhorst – and eliciting from someone so naive and vulnerable an understanding of her plight without stepping over that dangerous line into exploitation – is just one of the ways in which Holmes was a great interviewer.

    And let’s not forget that a substantial motivation for the award of a knighthood is his tireless work for a number of charities. The fact that no one seems to have recalled that in this debate is, I think, indicative of the fact that he never sought glory for that, and it’s therefore easy for his media work to eclipse it.

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  18. BeaB (2,123 comments) says:

    I am not sure how I view all these ante-mortem obituaries but I was revolted by the Sunday Star Times feverishly phoning round the world to people like Dennis Connor and Kofi Annan to find out if they had ‘forgiven’ Holmes.
    Talk about scraping the bottom of the barrel!

    People like Paul Holmes in the public eye must get very tired of the same old stories being trotted out every time they are mentioned, even if they happened decades ago – like Tuku’s underpants. It seems as though the media never moves on but gets stuck in the same repetitive and boring groove.

    The SSS was particularly awful today. Loved the idea of Lady Barker, Sir George Grey and Edward Gibbon Wakefield all happily in steerage with the hoi polloi in our supposedly egalitarian society in the 1800’s! Does anyone ever do any fact-checking?

    Or is it all about left wing myth-making?

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  19. Longknives (4,746 comments) says:

    I thought dragging up Dennis Conner (can’t believe some tragics in the New Zealand media still refer to him as ‘Dirty Dennis’) and asking him for comment was in bloody poor taste. Why haven’t they asked Fleur Revell for comment/memories?

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  20. landoftime (35 comments) says:

    Mmm – yes I wonder why they haven’t asked for a tribute from Fleur or from Hine. Mike said that Holmes was a good father but offered no comment on his attributes as a husband. I wonder what Fleur thought when Holmes wrote in his autobiography about her handing him her underwear in a restaurant and saying ‘let’s go’. I mean, it was so, so tacky. And then when he revealed the personal details of his marriage break up. Poor Hine must have been mortified.
    Anyway, isn’t it slightly bad taste that we are doing tributes and he isn’t even dead yet?

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  21. KevinH (1,227 comments) says:

    Paul Holmes has been the most significant person in broadcasting in New Zealand and also in New Zealand media. He is a giant amongst minions and has taken New Zealand broadcasting into the modern era with his unique all embracing style that many New Zealanders identified with. Paul had genuine empathy with his interview subjects, he could relate to them on their level and not shirk from asking those questions. He had Jonah Lomu in tears, Helen Clark speechless and gave Hannah Tamaki the chop, all in a days work.
    Pauls show on TV1 was a must see because it gave the insights and back story to the One News headlines and helped to demystify the politics of the day, the scandals, the highs and the lows that happen daily here in New Zealand and broadcast it all into our living rooms nightly’
    Paul is an iconic figure within the New Zealand media scene and despite his illness won’t be to far away from the brimstone, he will be missed but never forgotten for the massive contribution he has made to New Zealand.

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