Who’s right – his critics or his defenders? Both. Henry is an obnoxious prat. His ego is out of control and, as a broadcaster, so is he. He has done more than enough to deserve the boot.
BUT he is also one of the most intelligent, most incisive, most accomplished, most polished, and most entertaining broadcasters this country has ever seen.
Can’t live with him, can’t live without him.
Edwards is right. Paul Henry is offensive and at time obnoxious with an ego that could fuel a fleet. But he is also a genius broadcaster.
You have to accept both sides of Henry, to reconcile how you react to him.
On the issue of Stephanie Mills, there can be no doubt Henry behaved appallingly towards an invited guest. If you knew Mills personally, you would especially be outraged by what Henry did (interestingly Mills herself very sensibly did not lash out, but said it is about her issues, not her or Henry).
But while intellectually I know Henry was a brattish prat twoards Mills, I also had tears of laughter as I watched the clip of the show. When you don’t know the target personally, offensive humour can still be very very funny. And for me it wasn’t so much about Mills, but about the train wreck it caused as Henry ignored Ali and his producer, and them seems bemused by the hate mail, and even then his “Oh go from a group” reotort. It was like an episode of Borat.
I’d been having trouble reconciling my intellectual dislike of what Henry did, with my instictive hilarity at the situation. You feel guilty for laughing so loud.
But Edwards get it right, as I said. Henry is both an obnoxous prat and a great broadcaster. Don’t pretend he can be one without the other.
So what does Brian Edwards propose be done:
So what should be done with Paul? Well firstly he should be fronting Close Up. Mark Sainsbury may be a nicer person, but he isn’t a patch on Henry as a broadcaster. He stumbles his way through the programme, is often barely articulate and his interviews are a shambles. But he’s responsible and safe and Henry isn’t.
So here’s my solution. Mark goes back to his previous job as a political editor. He was extremely good at that. Paul takes over Close Up where he is likely to beat the pants off the much nicer John Campbell. But there’s a proviso. Henry’s contract includes a ‘penny in the jar’ clause. Every time he breaches the Broadcasting Act’s standards of balance, fairness, decency or good taste, $10,000 is deducted from his salaryand donated to the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards. Should work.
Heh, I quite like that idea.