MediaWorks’ withdrawal from current affairs and its focus on reality shows has led to the perception that it is being dumbed down.
Chief executive Mark Weldon’s “no dissent” management style and a flood of staff departures have led to criticism in the media, and on the left of the political spectrum.
The commonly advanced view from many of those critics is that the current management is taking TV3 to hell in a handcart.
I have had my own differences with Weldon, but I believe that to a degree, coverage of MediaWorks has been personalised against him.
With an open letter this week from Labour MP Jacinda Ardern, TV3’s shift appears to have become politicised.
Ardern accused Weldon of destroying TV3.
I found the political attack on a private business appalling.
I hate to think of the reaction from the Left if a National politician had attacked another media business for its business plan.
Admittedly, TV3 plays a big part in the culture.
I asked Ardern if it was appropriate for a senior politician to attack the business plan of a private business.
She said she would not have written the letter if she was a Cabinet Minister.
“I am an Opposition MP, and on this occasion chose to use my voice to articulate concerns that I know are shared by many.”
The column attacking Weldon was personal and nasty. Decisions at Mediaworks are not made by one individual. I don’t think Mediaworks is doing well, but you have a board, major shareholders who appoint the board, a CEO and a senior leadership team.
Ardern made it all about Weldon and personalised it. If she says the letter would have been inappropriate as a Minister, then how does it look coming from an aspiring Minister. Think if she became Minister of Broadcasting. It would be an effective demand to Mediaworks that they sack Weldon, or face a Government that will look to punish them.