TVNZ deserved credit for shifting it’s politics show Q & A from the Sunday morning boondocks to primetime. The state broadcaster showed it was not abandoning current affairs and prepared to take a commercial risk. If episodes one to three seemed a little – well – dull – Episode 4 on Sunday was muddled. Studio shots looked flat. The make up on the guests was sometimes poor and some subject matter was poorly handled.
Rebecca Wright’s interview with former US secretary of state Madeleine Albright was paint-by-numbers stuff, asking nice open question. Albright was there to plug her new book, and that is fair enough.
Alas, she delivered another treatise on how Donald Trump was an abomination. Wright nodded enthusiastically. But there was no attempt to challenge the Democratic Party version of events. or its past oversight of world events.
Media blaming Trump are dime a dozen. it is available 24/7 on CNN. The other international story on Q & A was coverage of the Liberal Party upheavals across the Tasman. It was a chance dig in with some good analysis of a story that directly affects New Zealand. This week;s show must have been pre-recorded very early, because it did not mention the news that day that Julie Bishop was standing dow from her Foreign Minister post.
It is always an easy to call in journalist, but it is second-hand view. Someone like Michelle Grattan might show the gravity of the story.
But the Sydeny Morning Herald Peter FitzSimons responses were top the head stuff. He appears to have been chosen for the Rugby connection. He as the wrong person for the job.
Corin Dann even made that hoary old joke about not talking about the Rugby results.
I have praised Dann in the past for providing some objectivity, especially when he was head of the TVNZ Press Gallery and competing with Paddy Gower. Objectivity is good, but he seems to make up for the lack of rancour by creating breathless urgency his delivery.
I’ve always preferred Q & A over The Nation on Three, which plays on Saturday Mornings and was repeated opposite Q& A on Sunday mornings. It is good to have politics in prime time. But Sunday night seems too late for me to catch up on the week’ s politics.
With The Nation interviewer Lisa Owen about to leave Three for Checkpoint on Radio New Zealand this may be the time that TVNZ can own the TV politics brand.
Both shows are taxpayer-funded. Owen aside, The Nation has always seemed down at heel to me.
That low rent feel has its use of PR people and lobbyists its panel. But if The Nation is bound to be a dead duck, Q & A is not yet shooting for the stars.