Will he rise to the challenge?

May 26th, 2014 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

Many are saying that Labour needs a new leader, as both Labour and David Cunliffe are polling lower than they were under David Shearer.

But who could replace David Cunliffe as Labour Party Leader, so that there is a strong opposition to John Key? None of the current caucus look up to it. So maybe they could go outside.

Let’s look at the characteristics needed to be the opposition leader.

  1. An excellent communicator
  2. Charismatic and personable
  3. Well known
  4. Auckland based (where one third of the country live)
  5. Able to relate to rich and poor
  6. Not ashamed of his personal wealth
  7. Liked by the media
  8. Leftwing enough to be liked by both The Standard and the Daily Blog activists
  9. The sort of guy you’d happily invite to dinner or have a beer with
  10. Able to take complex facts and turn them into a simple narrative against the Government and Prime Minister

I think the answer is obvious. Only one person can credibly take over the leadership of the Labour Party.

John Campbell – step forward. Your country needs you.

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Future topics for Campbell Live

May 22nd, 2014 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Campbell last night aired the results of a “two-year investigation” into the recruitment of Fletcher.

It was claimed there was a meeting on December 14, 2011, between Key and the police boss who ordered the spying on Dotcom that was never disclosed.

“John Campbell is completely wrong,” Key said.

“There weren’t two meetings; there was one meeting.

“The meeting was actually Simon Murdoch with Ian Fletcher over in my office. He happened to be in New Zealand.

“It was an introduction. I can’t tell you exactly everything we talked about a) because I would never say that.

“But I can tell you what we didn’t talk about. We didn’t talk about Kim Dotcom. It’s impossible to talk about someone you don’t know.”

The illegal bugging of Dotcom’s mansion is believed to have taken place under Murdoch, who was GCSB director between July 1, 2011, and December 19, 2011.

Key has maintained he was never told of the surveillance.

He said Campbell’s story had moved into conspiracy theorist territory.

“I reckon tomorrow night – and I know tonight he’s doing keas being run over in car parks – but tomorrow night I reckon he should do Obama not being born in America, and Friday we could move on to 9/11 and why the Americans were behind that, and next week we could move into the Kennedys,” he said.

“I mean, honestly, I have some respect for John, but when you do two years and come up with absolutely nada, then you do what he did – set a whole lot of assumptions to music.”

They should use the same music for the episode on how the US was really behind 9/11

Key dismissed claims by Dotcom that Key met the police chief responsible for the raid on the Dotcom mansion.

“Completely incorrect; never met the police in my life about that issue,” he said.

“That was the day the Government was being sworn in.”

Maybe Key was multi-tasking!

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Campbell v Brown

October 17th, 2013 at 4:00 pm by David Farrar

I agree with this column by Trans-tasman:

Whatever one feels about the particulars of the show – and we’ll get to this shortly – let us be grateful for one thing: it has been a long time since regular interviews with senior politicians had an impact on political discourse. Certainly Campbell’s 7pm opposition on the state owned television channel is so fluffy and light it makes the Beatrix Potter stories look like Dostoyevsky.

But Campbell did rather let him- self down. Advocacy journalism has its place but when you invite the other side on to put their side, they need to be given space to do so. Campbell’s questions all started from the premise oil exploration is intrinsically the devil’s work and will always produce a Gulf of Mexico spill. He also let it get very personal – but then so did Bridges – even more so.

Unfortunately Campbell followed it up the next night with a cringingly sympathetic interview with disgraced Auckland Mayor Len Brown. While Bridges, who was there to defend a policy decision, was treated like a Mr Big of drug dealing; Brown, whose moral choices have caused huge hurt to people who love him, was treated like an innocent victim of some unfortunate accident.

Advocacy journalism can be done in a professional and dis- passionate way: indeed, to work, it has to be. When it becomes personal, it loses not only integrity but effectiveness.

I think this piece is fair. Simon Bridges did let it get personal and got too heated, but so did John Campbell. And Campbell was incredibly unbalanced who as Trans-tasman says treats oil companies as evil criminal syndicates. I have no problems with advocacy journalism, but don’t be surprised if people won’t go on their show if they think you’re not interested a balanced debate – just pilloring one side of the issue.

And the Len brown interview was disgracefully light. He avoided anything resembling a hard question, such as did Len Brown know who sent the threatening text to Chuang. It was like a NZ version of Oprah.

In a similar vein, Russell Brown has devoted an entire column to the Len Brown issue. Except in his 1,32 words on the issue he spends 1,181 words on the the so called centre-right people involved and just 51 words on the role of Len Brown. That is almost hysterically comical. The most Russell could muster was to say it was poor judgement to bonk at work and he can no longer play the family-man card!

 

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Key on Campbell Live on GCSB

August 15th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Campbell Live have been running a week long jihad against the GCSB Bill. I’m actually fine with that. Media are allowed to take stands on issues, and I prefer media to be upfront about their leanings, than pretend they are neutral when they are not. It is no secret that John Campbell’s politics, and the show, lean far to the left of Labour.

As I said that’s fine, just as NBR leans to the right.

But considering Campbell Live is clearly crusading against the bill, it is was quite remarkable that the PM agreed to go on the show. But he did so last night, you can watch the video at this link.

I thought the PM did an excellent job of calmly explaining the bill, to fairly frenzied questions or statements from John Campbell. The PM is much better when he is the “explainer-in-chief” than when he is swiping at people who disagree on the bill.

As for John, I leave the commentary to his biggest fan:

Again, I recommend people take the time to watch the video. Here’s Wallace Chapman on it:

I agree with Wallace that the PM was superb. Cool, calm, collected, factual and reassuring.

If I was in the Labour Party, I’d be getting quite worried about next year’s election debates.

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Campbell vs Peters

June 11th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

If you want some humour, watch this interview of Winston Peters by John Campbell. Not sure whether it is more funny or sad.

Peter George has a transcript:

Campbell: How did he breach national security?

Peters: Well he leaked information on a very important report, to do with the malfunction of the GCSB, that’s the Kitteridge report, and then there’s the matter of moral within the GCSB, a separate matter, no no no, let me finish, you want to know how I’m going to give you a snapshot, just three, not all of them, just three. And the third one was he made reference to someone he should not have made reference to on the question of the GCSB appointments.

Campbell: Ok, let’s go through these things one at a time. The Kitteridge report, it was going to be made public.

Peters: I know what you’re trying to say, and some of your colleagues are doing the same, they’re saying…

Campbell: No wait a minute, I’m not trying to say anything, it’s a statement of fact

Peters: …over the last twenty four hour, a repetitive argument he just broke the embargo…

Campbell: You’re hearing fact, you’re hearing fact…

Peters: …let me tell you why it’s not fact, and I’m sure you’re interested in that, the ah Fairfax outlet said it was a secret report, and it was, the second thing is it was described in the State Services and parliamentary record of being such a document in it’s past precedence. Then you’ve got the fact an investigator appointed by the National Party, said as well it was classified and highly sensitive…

Campbell: Mr Peters, look, I can’t sit here and let you spout nonsense to me, absolutely, I’m going to read what David Henry said, verbatim quote. 

“On the afternoon of 27th March Mr Dunne was given a numbered copy of the Kitteridge report” – which was going to be made public – “but not the classified appendices”.

In other words he didn’t have classified material. No, you know that. Why are you sitting here tonight saying that he did?

Peters: Because you haven’t asked any questions about what happened by way of conversation within five MPs, including the Prime Minister who sat on the Intelligence and Security committee, you don’t know that, and I don’t think Mr Henry bothered to ask as well which is why I raised questions about the way he was conducting this inquiry.

I’ve been on that committee, I know something about what I’m talking about and I know what international ramifications are, and I’m not going to stand by while cynical people who said from day one there was nothing in this, now repeat that he merely broke an embargo. I’m sorry, this is out number one security agency, it interrelates with international agencies and our respect and integrity is on the line, and it’s important.

He just couldn’t answer the question, so did the normal bluster.

Campbell: Ok, what evidence is that?

Peters: That’s the evidence that backs up what I’m saying, and every day it unfolds, you will find that out.

Campbell: What evidence is that?

Peters: Well it’s evidence of, ah, improperly liaison meetings with disclosure of secret, confidential, private information, not just in one area but in a number of areas.

Campbell: Do you have the emails?

Peters: I’ve told you from day one that I have the evidence sufficient to make allegations, both to you, inside parliament because you wouldn’t publish it otherwise, and outside parliament… 

Campbell: Yes or no, do you have the emails?

Peters: Well of course I’ve got information I need to back up my…

Campbell: Yes or no, do you have the emails?

Peters: No no no, you’re not going to know, what I want you to tell me is why you aren’t asking the Prime Minister, Prime Minister, why can’t we see the information that you won’t show the public.

A nice calling of Peters’ bluff.

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du Fresne on media balance

January 26th, 2013 at 12:00 pm by David Farrar

Karl du Fresne writes in the Dom Post:

John Campbell is a very talented broadcaster and a likeable man. But I believe he is dangerously wrong when he pooh-poohs the idea of objectivity in journalism, as he did in a recent interview with this paper’s Your Weekend magazine.

”I’ve never met a journalist who didn’t want to change the world and make it a better place,” the TV3 current affairs host was quoted as saying. ”Without exception that’s why they get into journalism. And yet when they get there they are asked to be dispassionate and objective.

”Who came up with that rule? It’s stupid.”

In fact that ”stupid” rule, which requires that journalists try to remain impartial and present facts and opinions in a balanced way, has underpinned good journalism in Western democracies for decades.

The importance of objectivity is recognised, if not always followed to the letter, by virtually all the world’s great news organisations, including the BBC. It’s also upheld by the bodies that adjudicate on journalism standards, including our own Broadcasting Standards Authority and Press Council.

There’s a very good reason for this. The requirement for balance is a vital check on the potential abuse of media power. If it were abandoned, journalists would be free to spin the news however it suits them – in other words, to exclude any inconvenient fact or opinion that doesn’t align with their own world view.

It’s a curious fact that those who argue that journalistic objectivity should be discarded – a view now routinely promoted in journalism schools – are almost invariably from the Left of the political spectrum. Yet the same people are the first to condemn Right-wing news outlets, such as the notorious Fox News, for making little or no attempt at journalistic balance.

A fair point. It is rather hypocritical to be a critic of Fox News for being unbalanced, but praise Campbell Live for proclaiming they are not objective.

It doesn’t seem to occur to them that objectivity, or more precisely the absence of it, can cut both ways. Being objective doesn’t mean, as is sometimes dishonestly argued, that journalists have to be timid or defer to those in power. Neither does it prevent them expressing shock and outrage when faced with obvious atrocities. But it does require reporters to acknowledge that in most situations there’s more than one side to the story, and that things are often more complex

And this is where I think John Campbell sometimes gets it wrong. 99% of NZers would agree that kids should not go hungry to school. But how to fix that is a complex issue, and any solution such as the state providing free food may have unforeseen side-effects. But if a TV show decides that “their”solution is the only solution and campaigns for that – well it is not serving the public well.

There is still a place for impassioned advocacy journalism of the type Campbell practices, as long as it’s clear to the viewer or reader that that’s what it is. But as a general proposition, the abandonment of journalistic objectivity would be disastrous. 

The challenge is making it clear when it is advocacy journalism and when it is so called balanced reporting. In print that is usually reasonably clear. In broadcasting far less so it seems.

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Key on Campbell Live

April 22nd, 2012 at 12:11 pm by David Farrar

An in depth interview with John Key on Campbell Live on the issues of the Crafar Farms sales, and the Sky City convention centre.

12 minutes in total.

It would be interesting to count up how often this Prime Minister has done one on one television interviews compared to his predecessors. I may be wrong, but my impression is he does do a reasonable number.

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Key on Campbell Live

March 18th, 2012 at 10:54 am by David Farrar

If you have 10 spare minutes, the interview of John Key on Campbell Live is well worth watching in my opinion.

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Campbell vs Ring

March 1st, 2011 at 12:11 pm by David Farrar

Brian Edwards blogged:

John, Your mindless, bullying, tirade against ‘moon man’ Ken Ring on tonight’s Campbell Live was perhaps the worst piece of egotistical, self-important, out of control, closed-minded, biased, unprofessional  non-interviewing I have seen in more than 40 years of New Zealand television.

I have no brief for Mr Ring or his theories, but after watching your treatment of him tonight, I have considerably more respect for him as the reasonable exponent of an admittedly controversial point of view than I have for you as an interviewer.

What mattered to you in this exchange was not what he had to say, but what you had to say. And since he thought the process was meant to involve his being critically questioned on statements he had made and being given reasonable opportunity to reply, he had every right to complain when you preferred to deny him that opportunity by shouting him down. It was, quite simply, appalling.

This has led to a huge debate with 113 comments to date on Brian and Judy’s blog. Opinion is divided between those who say that as Ring is a charlatan, Campbell did good (Russell Brown noticeably in this camp) and those who say he didn’t let Ring even explain himself.

I like the take of Not PC:

If it’s true that Campbell bullied Ring, the greatest damage done by the bullying is …. that it didn’t give Ring a chance to bury himself in his own words. That’s surely the point of good interviewing. To let your audience see for themselves when a flake is being interviewed.

And in bullying rather than burying his interviewee, Campbell would have allowed Ring to gain his viewers’ sympathy instead of their contempt. Surely not at all what he intended.

Not PC also has some great links and graphs from scientists showing how Mr Ring has predicted earthquakes, well pretty much for every second day.

I didn’t see the interview, but what do people who saw it think?

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Predictions on media over next decade

February 4th, 2009 at 10:28 am by David Farrar

As part of their series on ten years of Herald online, a number of media industry people look at the next ten years:

Bill Ralston – Media commentator, radio host
Everyone goes on about the death of traditional media, but the market’s a really interesting thing, it expands and contracts. Very seldom do you see one form kill off another. Everyone’s concentrating on digital – it’s slowly making more inroads into advertising. But it’s not going to kill papers, it won’t cut the throat of radio. TV didn’t kill radio or movies. They all changed and adapted. Everyone jostles around a bit, squeezes up together and continues to make a living.

I am a bit more pessimistic over print media. As Bill later says there are opportunities from this digital age, but I think advertising is going to move more and more online. In the US classified ads have almost died, and Trade Me has sluaghtered a lot of print advertising in NZ. Also online advertising can give advertisers so much more precise information – such as how many people saw an ad, clicked on it, what their demographic profile is etc etc.

Dr Martin Hirst – AUT associate professor, journalism curriculum leader
People talk about the death of newspapers all the time. I would think we have another ten years of newspapers. Journalism will continue in one form or another. I’m not sure if online media are a replacement for newspapers and TV and radio. Online media tends to be a replication of other media, a mirror or extension of their newspaper outlets, not a replacement. Whether this will continue in the future is debatable.

I certainly agree newspapers are still here in ten years. But in thirty? Not so sure.

John Campbell – Television presenter
The problem with television is that it’s expensive to make. We will see a preponderance of niche communications, something for everyone, whether you’re a macrobiotic vegan or Canterbury supporter. And where you’ll find it is online.

How can a construct of broadcasting, born of one channel, reinvent itself in an utterly fragmented market where people have so much choice? How do we survive within that market? That comes down to everyone’s ability to connect with an audience, an audience which has so much choice.

Very astute words from Mr Campbell. The market is fragmented and with PVRs, the emphasis is going on programmes not channels.

Copyright is another thing to consider – I could do a story at 7pm and it could be on YouTube five minutes later. How do we enforce that, do we want to worry about it, what do we do about it? As a rule of thumb I can’t take other people’s work and take it to air. YouTube rides roughshod over all those notions.

But it will also normally be on the TV3 site that evening also, so what is the problem? If it is lack of advertising revenue because it is on You Tube not TV3 site, I think one solution might be for TV channels to embed ads in their online content and stick it on You Tube themselves.

Eric Kearley – General manager, digital services, TVNZ
In the next ten years storage space on home devices is going to increase drastically, and bandwidth prices will decrease. These two in combination will see much more content available on demand.

Yes, yes, yes. You want to see episodes 1 to 6 of MASH, you just push the button and a minute later episode one at least is ready to go.

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Campbell Live from last week

November 21st, 2008 at 11:52 am by David Farrar

Two of the new National MPs had features on Campbell Live last week. Had quite a few requests for them, so Whale has You Tubed them.

Simon Bridges – three minutes, 42 seconds

Nikki Kaye – four minutes, 20 seconds

Both really nice interviews. I did comment to both of them that the next time they are on Campbell Live, it will probably be because they have stuffed up badly – Government backbenchers do not normally make Campbell Live unless it is bad news :-)

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Espiner on the Debate

November 4th, 2008 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

From the Press:

Labour leader Helen Clark believes she had her opponent, John Key, “rattled” during last night’s TV3 leaders’ debate.

I am always amused when Helen Clark political commentator judges how well Prime Minister Helen Clark has done. Are the two Clarks related?

After a scrappy but ultimately even contest between the two leaders, a defiant Clark told reporters she had got her points across well, rejecting suggestions she had been more defensive than Key, who appeared relaxed throughout the hour-long show.

He was more relaxed but less so than the previous TV debate I thought.

“I don’t think I was the one who came across as defensive,” Clark said afterwards.

Is that the PM defensively saying she was not defensive?

Key refused to declare a victor, saying he thought the debate had been scrappy at times, but that both sides had a fair hearing.

“In the end, I thought John Campbell did a good job.”

He did, but I think he asked too many process questions instead of policy questions.

He revealed that Clark had complained at one point during a commercial break that she had not had enough air time a point she disputed after the show.

Clark complained last debate also and it turned out she had more airtime.

Key struck back over a discussion on the nanny state, telling Clark her Government was “storming through your front door” with new regulations on lightbulbs and shower heads, prompting Clark to utter her least believable line of the night: “I’m a free spirit”.

Exactly.

Overall, Key appeared more relaxed than Clark, but both were on top of their game and able to foot it with each other and with Campbell’s attempts to catch them out, and the debate appeared to be an honorable draw.

I agree.

Clark got in a final parting shot at TV3’s downbeat post-match panel, saying “I thought the panel needed Prozac, but perhaps it’s too late at night for them”.

I thought Jenny McManus was great!

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TV3 Debate

November 3rd, 2008 at 8:21 pm by David Farrar

Well I would be surprised if anyone made their mind up watching that debate.

My biggest gripe is far far too much time was spent on process issues such as trust, coalitions, longevity, experience and almost no time on policy. I wanted a debate contrasting policy positions.

NZPA have said:

CLARK AND KEY COME OUT EVEN IN SECOND LEADERS DEBATE

Helen Clark and John Key argued over economic policy and asked voters to believe they were good leaders during tough times when they went head to head tonight in the second election campaign leaders debate.

TV3’s John Campbell held them on a tighter rein than Mark Sainsbury did during the first debate and tried to trip them up himself with questions about flip-flops, trust and manifesto promises.

It didn’t work because they were both quick on their feet and the best value came from some sharp exchanges over who had the most promising plans for the future.

But if viewers expected something new they didn’t get it.

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Campbell Live on billboards

September 16th, 2008 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

Campbell Live had a very amusing segment on election billboards (and incidentially in the main TV3 news bulletin they twice showed the online billboard showing Helen and Winston holding hands together). Well worth viewing.

John Campbell’s comments in summary were:

  • National billboard disguised as an Air NZ ad, or spend your tax cuts on air travel
  • Labour billboard modelled on North Koran campaign with President Helen, the great leader herself. Joked they removed “or else” after the words “Party Vote Labour”
  • Greens have best billboard so far by a mile

Mike Hutcheson’s comments in summary were:

  • Nat billboard was written by an undertaker – wave goodbye to higher taxes, not your loved ones!
  • Hutch suggested better billboard would have been “Hi Tax, Hi Oz” and the health one should be “Beds not Bosses” or “Beds not Bureaucrats”
  • Campbell said Labour’s billboards do not seem to be as airbrushed as normal, and Hutcheson says it is stupid that they take the public for fools by putting up an image that doesn’t look anything like the Helen Clark people see every day. Why would you say the campaign is about trust, and then have billboards which don’t look like you.
  • Also loved the Greens billboards – very professional
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Owen Glenn on Campbell Live

September 10th, 2008 at 8:25 am by David Farrar

Thanks to Whale Oil for the video.

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