Monday, July 20, 2009



It’s nice to see that, during my recent winter hibernation period, other people have stepped up to the plate, so to speak, to criticise the “tasteless drivel” in our media. The Herald today publishes an opinion piece by one Ian Bayly that particularly critiques TV One, our supposed ‘public interest’ broadcaster.
The one aspect of contemporary life in New Zealand that I found most disappointing was the degenerate state of TV programmes. […] With respect to some sort of balanced presentation of significant world events in the main evening presentation of news, New Zealand's TV One is significantly worse than the main commercial TV channels (7 and 9) in Australia. In my view, TV One has lost the plot, and if it is to be considered New Zealand's TV flag-bearer, it is a disgrace to the nation.
Strong words indeed, and not a moment too soon. But what were the worst excesses of TV One during the time you were watching, Ian?
On the first evening, TV One managed to devote the whole of the first six minutes of news to the late Michael Jackson. The station management had apparently formed the judgment that the most significant thing that had happened in the world during the preceding 24 hours was the unseemly circus surrounding the death of an egocentric, drug-crazed weirdo who had contributed nothing significantly beneficial to humanity. [As opposed to Dr Bayly, a zoologist who has a bay in Antarctica named after him.]

Thereafter, TV One revisited, like a dog returning to its vomit, the Michael Jackson circus every night, for significant periods, for the next 11 nights. On July 8, the whole of the first 14 minutes was devoted exclusively to the circus - yes, it was so important that it was uninterrupted by commercials. But that wasn't the finish of it - they returned to it again for another two minutes during the news.
Personally, I got just as bored by people complaining about the Michael Jackson coverage as I did by the coverage itself. It’s not like someone of Jackson’s stature dies every day, or even every year, so moaning about a week or so of heavy coverage seems a bit precious. And anyway, what exactly did Michael Jackson push off the bulletin? Tap-dancing owls and Angelina Jolie adopting a chicken.

But that can’t be my real point in this instance, seeing as watching the television news myself makes me want to jump headfirst off a news-cliff. Instead, my question is this: what kind of news organisation would devote such heavy coverage to the death of a single celebrity entertainer?


  1. For those who are 'interested', there are 115 results for "michael jackson" on the Herald website since June 25.

  2. Even better was the editorial along the same lines in the UK Daily Mail -- in the *same edition* that devoted pages 1-13 to remembering Mr Jackson.

  3. The same edition? Amazing.

  4. dedicating 20 minutes of a 30 minute bulletin to this chump's funeral - as TV One did, including a section on 100 people gathering in fucking London to beal - is a little different to building up a bunch of articles on a website over a month. And that's a website, where editorial control is far less linear.

    TV One news is a disgraceful, badly funded mess here. you can't escape the fact.

  5. The point is, that unlike in Aussie, there is nowhere here to turn for the news that actually matters. Unless you count Sky's BBC, CNN etc.. which is not made in NZ.
    Given that, why does TV1 need to exist. Surely it doesn't exist so it can get the ratings?
    In Aussie the ABC is pretty good and SBS excellent for news, which more than justifies its funding.
    As for coverage of politics, forget it- when was the lst time you had a politician here pinned down by an interviewer? (apart from Nine to noon)

  6. if it had a public service remit and funding to back it, it might have a point. but at the moment it appears that its only purpose is funding the prego lifestyle of a few auto-cue readers.

  7. I'm starting with the man in the mirror. I'm asking him to change his ways. No message could have been any clearer. If you wanna make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change.