For The Love of Mike Guest Opinion: Mike Farman on what we expect from "current affairs" hosts

CAPTION: Bill O’Reilly. Fox has changed New Zealand TV

The role of radio and television presenter talent emerged as a major talking point recently, with often-abusive social media outbursts aimed at Mike Hosking, the breakfast host at NewstalkZB and presenter of the TVNZ show. Seven Sharp. An attack also came from a former TVNZ Breakfast colleague, Liz Gunn. Some people also petitioned for his removal altogether from row current affairs and opinion show Seven Sharp. They perceived his views to have come from his unashamed support for Key and National views and its policies. And they are pretty much right of course.

There is an unfortunate and undemocratic imbalance. In the past, at his best, John Campbell at TV3 was able to provide some balance from left wing topics until his disgraceful demise and now there is no real voice in our broadcasting lexicon from that side of the political debate.

Paul Henry is a threat to TVNZ Breakfast
Paul Henry

The problem lies in the not- so- subtle change in the last decade to the role in radio and television presenter and programme content and I believe it is to be partly blamed on emergence of Fox News on New Zealand screens. That faux news channel relies on Republican sentiment and opinion, and, as the commentator Bill O’Reilly boasts, it rates, and nervous media owners in New Zealand have copied the formula. As the producer of BBC South Today.

“Now it appears that on-air jocks own the so called current affairs programmes.”

I was responsible for tone, content and on air behaviour. Any balls ups were down to me. It used to be the case at TV3 and TVNZ. But that has changed. Now it appears that on-air jocks own the so called current affairs programmes. Their presentation is self absorbed, giggly and loose. The result is awful television.

Hosking and Toni Street
Hosking and Toni Street

My view is that without the New Zealand Herald and a quick read of Facebook Mike Hosking would have nothing to say on NewstalkZB in the mornings. His opinions are often second hand. He has some excellent reporters on SevenSharp, but they are used short sound bites. In a similar vein, Paul Henry relies on the preceding news bulletin for his source material. and that is backed by e mail responses and click bait lists. What a waste of his talent and the experienced Newshub reporting staff.

Enough already! New Zealand needs journalism from all sources that is interesting ,responsible, and, above all, original. At present all we have is a stream of tired old hacks, pouring out cliche-ridden comment in on screen eye candy. As the petitioners this week insisted, we want it changed and we want it better. We deserve better.

Mike Farman worked for the London Evening Standard, and the Daily Express in Fleet Street. He joined BBC
radio in the seventies and left as Deputy national news editor. He worked in television news at BBC South Today before emigrating to New Zealand for the launch of TV3. At TVNZ worked on the news desk in the late eighties before taking the job of Asst. to the Director of News and Current Affairs. He dealt with ethics and complaints for six successive TVNZ Directors .

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One thought on “<span class="entry-title-primary">For The Love of Mike</span> <span class="entry-subtitle">Guest Opinion: Mike Farman on what we expect from "current affairs" hosts</span>”

  1. Start you own news outlet Mike.

    Too hard?

    Easier to use other people’s money, or tell people who have made the effort how they should run their businesses.

    Is that right?

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