Jack And Jacinda Went Up The Hill …

CAPTION. Some think Jack Tame has been too mean to Jacinda.

Jack Tame’s interview with Jacinda Ardern on Breakfast this morning was not great television.

Jack Tame and Jacinda Ardern

Tame interrogated the PM for six minutes on how she incorrectly recounted hearsay – how Donald Trump had purportedly mistaken her for Justin Trudeau’s wife. It was a lot of time for what Tame admitted was a trivial matter. But the PM wrongly relaying gossip about the President of the US is not wholly trivial. Ardern could have reduced the wasted time by fronting up straight away instead of fudging.

As I say, it was not great television. But it was good journalism from the TVNZ breakfast host. Labour should be grateful for the lesson that Ardern has to move from being a cheerful MP chatting to her mates behind the scenes at the music awards. She has to be especially careful gossiping to media mates, like comedian Tom Sainsbury.

The NZ Herald reported today:

Viewers have slammed Jack Tame as “rude” and “bizarre” over an awkward interview with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

One said Tame’s line of questioning was so “ridiculous,” he’d made her turn the TV off.

Tame has defended this morning’s awkward interview on Breakfast, saying it’s his job “to ask questions”.

And other viewers praised Tame for his “dog with a bone” style of interviewing.

Someone else wrote: “You’re like a dog with a bone! You make a mountain out of a mole hill, back off tiger.”

But not everyone thought Tame’s line of questioning was out of line.

“Good on you Jack it’s time she realised she isn’t playing in the school playground anymore and needs to grow up and take some responsibility for the position the minority voted her in too. More to come I’m sad to say,” wrote a viewer on Facebook.

“She needs to learn how to cope and handle conflicting conversations – she’s not the leader of Girl Guides, she is the leader of our country,” said another.

Tame responded to the criticism by saying it was his job to “ask questions”.

 It was a reminder that Jacinda’s media pals are not always going to be watching her back and forgiving her missteps. Too many media people see themselves as helping Jacinda to fetch a pail of water.

Ardern is a natural performer, confident and likeable. But we have seen too many signs of media folk who believe that media mustn’t be mean to the PM because she is young and a woman. It is neither here not there.

The classic case was when lawyer media training contractor and political commentator Linda Clark – who was involved in Ardern’s preparation for an election debates.

Clark was on a RNZ Morning Report item last month about the apparently transcendent moment of having a third woman prime minister. Clark – a Labour contractor in this case – chided a press Gallery journalist for asking if the inexperienced PM was up to the job. The public can ask a new PM whatever they like,  including – when the are untested – whether they are up to the job.

In the early days John Key could do no wrong with media.

There are other signs that Labour has to tidy up its approach to the media and stop expecting the goodwill of Jacinda fan journalists.

For years John Key got away with bullshitting before media started questioning how much of what he said was true. Tame’s interview today was a sign that Labour may not have such an easy run as Key did.


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