Friday, April 17, 2009


It all started on Wednesday night. There I was, sitting, watching television, minding my own business. Then it hit me. "Breaking News", said Nightline (if that's what they still call it): "something has happened." That something involved Tony Veitch, a person who, not being much into New Zealand sport, I had only vaguely heard of. My lack of familiarity with this individual notwithstanding, 3 News had decided that a reporter needed to be sent to stand outside the Auckland District Court to deliver the shocking news that some sort of decision had been made regarding Tony Veitch's trial. She (the reporter) didn't know what the news was, but her keen journalistic instincts told her that there was some. Before long I was swept up in the next story, an important update on the new presidential dog (don't get me started). But I knew something big was about to go down.

I was right. Last night's 3 News dedicated the first ten minutes of the programme - a programme that, once you take out ads, weather, sport and witty banter, lasts about 18 minutes - to the Veitch case. Scout's honour, that's the truth. I sat in my chair, gripping the armrests, the other people in the room shrinking in horror as the air turned increasingly blue. But I knew what I would have to do. So as I picked up my copy of the Herald this morning, a smile of grim satisfaction spread across my face. Veitchgate dominated the front page. Veitchgate was page A2. I cackled to myself, wiping the drool from my maddened lips with an increasingly sodden handkerchief...

Anyway, I trust we're all on the same page with this. In case you have spent the last wee while being waterboarded in a secret CIA detention camp in Uzbekistan, Tony Veitch is a former sports presenter most famous (to me) for comparing tennis's Williams sisters to apes.* Yesterday, he pleaded guilty to injuring his former partner with reckless disregard; to the laypeople among us, he kicked his girlfriend in the back. So yes, not a very nice guy; but if everyone who got convicted of some kind of serious assault got on the news... well, people might have to look out the window to find out what the weather was like. Meanwhile, the Herald used no fewer than five journalists on the various Veitch stories yesterday. So what's the big deal?

One doesn't have to be a genius to work it out - although it helps. Celebrity is news. Even better, a bunch of celebrities wrote to support this celebrity, which means that reporter Jared Savage (and/or a subeditor, of course) gets to write about celebrities, add in a little list of celebrities in a box for those too busy or starstruck to read his article, and put in photos of his two favourite celebrities. Apparently he is a lovely guy, who would never kick a woman in the back. Mr Savage also unironically reports on the "media frenzy" around the news:

Nearly 30 reporters and photographers swarmed to a car that pulled up outside the Auckland District Court in the mistaken belief that Veitch had arrived.

The door opened to reveal Mark Sainsbury, from TVNZ's Close Up. He was later joined by TV3 rival John Campbell in a sign this was big news.

It was standing room only inside the courtroom as journalists jockeyed for position and lawyers from unrelated cases poked their noses through the court door.

Veitch's media minder Glenda Hughes sat at the back, with gossip columnist Bridget Saunders nearby and detectives guarding the empty seat where Kristin Dunne-Powell would sit in the front row.

Bridget Saunders! It looks like she's really stolen a march on Herald gossip queen Rachel Glucina. The reporting on reporting amuses me; I sometimes wonder if you could maintain a bunch of reporters who only reported on what the other reporters were reporting on, or whether that would collapse the space-time continuum.

In conclusion, no one should be surprised that a (minor) celebrity court case makes the news. What appals me is the sheer scale of the coverage, as if John Key had burned down an orphanage. In my heart of hearts, I pray that it is just a slow news day. To finish, I turn to the "Your Views" question on 'Veitchy': should he get another chance in the media?
50nine (Kaikoura) The past is over and his former gilrfriend is still alive. Of course Tony should work for TV One again. We all like him - he's a nice guy like Paul.
She's still alive, after all; it's so easy to get carried away with this sort of thing.

* Or something along those lines - please don't sue me.


  1. You've got to be careful james, I'm from Veitch's team and we will go after you for slander like a witch in salem! regardless of wether he pleaded guilty. it has nothing to do with it; Kirstin who? (Isn't that a tv show?) Hers, oppps I mean MY life has been ruined by these allegations.

  2. I didn't think one could be slandered by a blog. Either way, Veitchtoberfest just highlights what is so wrong with the media outlets of today. Reporters and journalists should be a society's watchdog, reporting on things that we didn't know that we needed to know, but that we needed to know nonetheless. However, all we seem to get today is infotainment that noone needs to know.

  3. In more positive news, my definition of "veitch" is in #1 spot on Urban Dictionary.

  4. Had to stop reading YV before I threw up. To be fair, there was probably a roughly equal amount of pundits on Team Veitch and Team Anti-Unrepentant-Wife-Bashing-Scum.

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  6. if reporting on reporting amuses you, then reporting on reporting on reporting must...oh who cares.

  7. God, I hope they don't report on my reporting then...

  8. "Your" copy of the Herald?

    Don't lie to the people, Te Coesy, you read your Mum's copy of the Herald while she makes you pancakes for breakfast and cuts off the crusts from your sandwiches for lunch, all before dropping you off at school/"work" in the Colt.

    Some starship captain you'll make.

  9. It troubles me that you read these things and immediately assault the Herald like it has made a huge mess by reporting what happened.

    What I gleaned from my reading was that an absolute no-mark violent SOB got a bunch of fucktard NZ 'celebrities' to circle the wagons and then got off on a number of serious charges.

    I didn't immediately think 'no news Herald reports no news', as you seem to have done, I thought that NZ is in the thrall of a bunch of overpaid ****s who think they are above the law, and can influence the course of justice by adding their names to a plea letter.

    And succeed. For ****'s sake, Plastic Saunders in a court room? Is that not just the ultimate indication of how messed up Auckland is?

  10. Eating Media Lunch did do a very funny take on reporting on reporting, with a media scrum that scrummed the media scrum. If I recall correctly, and it's entirely possible I don't, they had a pack of pseudo-reporters who ran up to journalists outside the High Court (early David Bain depositions?), thrust cameras in their faces and asked them how long they'd been standing there, whether they got a break for lunch, if their job depressed them, and the like.

  11. I was wondering if anyone else noticed how over done the veitch thing was. He's a prick, but a prick like many others. As for the 18 minutes worth of news after subtracting sport etc., i'd reckon its probably more like 8 mins. Anyway, enjoyed the post :)