Wednesday, December 2, 2009

My Mistake

Normally I have far, far better things to do - but last night I watched 3 News. It's a mistake I shan't be repeating any time soon. Here are just some of the wonderful things I learned.

1 ) The lead item was about the rapid melting of ice in the Himalayas. "Oh, this is all right," I thought. It did feature Mike McRoberts standing at a screen, rather than sitting at a desk (possibly due to haemorroids). He then pushes 'buttons' on the screen, although I'm almost certain that either no buttons exist or the producers just decided to have buttons to make it look more... interactive?

Anyway, eventually we got to the item itself. It appears the ice in the Himalayas is melting at an unprecedented rate, leading to worries in some quarters that the rivers that water South and East Asia, the most populous region on Earth, will start to diminish. The interesting thing about the piece was that there was almost zero analysis. Why is the ice melting so quickly? Shrug. What could be the consequences if it keeps going like this? Who cares; what's Tiger Woods doing?

2) The next piece was a live cross to a reporter in Australia - you know the one, the woman who is always incredibly overdressed, as if she is covering a state dinner but is actually standing outside a factory reporting on a chemical spill. Remarkably, it wasn't even a news item with a live cross in it; it was a live cross with news items in it. She talked for a bit about the Liberal Party leadership elections, and told us who won, but again really gave no analysis as to what that meant. She then talked about other, less interesting things happening in Australia - all the while with Mike "It's All About the News" McRoberts standing there, itching to push the button.

3) And in American news... there was a 'piece' that literally lasted seven seconds on Obama's plans to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan - apparently something is going on there - before a neat segue into the latest on Tiger Woods.

4) Best of all, and leading the 3 News promos, was a really interesting story from Dunedin. It seems that there was a Guinness World Record in the offing! That classic world record, that is, for the most scrambled eggs cooked at once, a record for which humanity has strived since the discovery of the egg. Oh, did we mention it was being done for McDonalds? To advertise their switch, in 19 South Island stores, to 'free range' eggs? They cooked a free breakfast - I trust the sausages were made from free range pork - for people in Dunedin's central city, which worked nicely because it got them some free advertising on the national news. If you don't watch the clip, at least follow the link and see the still of McRoberts, now happily ensconced at his desk, next to those famous golden arches.

5) Lead story on Campbell Live: an exclusive interview with the mother locked in the closet by her infant. A few weeks ago I had a dream that I was sitting in the back seat of a car with John Campbell. I remember asking him why it was that, when he is - or was - obviously a competent journalist, his show was so awful. All I remember after that is him getting really angry and physically assaulting me. So yeah... if you see him around town, maybe don't bring that up.


On another note, here's an update from today's paper - page A3 - on the apparent epidemic of infants locking insufferable middle-class mothers in closets. Warning: the headline is quite funny but it's all downhill from there.

In the case of another mischievous youngster, Clare of Glendowie was busy sorting her 2-year-old son's wardrobe when he closed the door behind her.

[...] "I asked my little one to try and open his bedroom door, but he said he couldn't get out of bed because of the sharks in the sea (his bed is his boat)."

[...] About half an hour later her partner thought he heard something and came to check on the pair.

"My partner thought that I had fallen asleep with our son in his bed. Aren't they just lovely!"

APN Holdings also publishes the New Zealand Woman's Weekly. I think that, in the business world, this is what they call 'a synergy'.


  1. totally unrelated but look at the Guardian website lead headline

    Barack Obama war's: the final push in Afghanistan

  2. I think the giant touch screen is a real touchscreen. Someone from TV3 must have been watching too much CNN during the US Presidential election when they were using theirs all the time, and decided it would be great for TV3 to have one. Except they have no use for it.

  3. I made the same mistake. Pretty much exactly my thoughts regarding (1) - they found some "scientist" to point out that good research is needed to figure out why the ice is melting... but made no effort at all to actually look into the existing research on the issue (e.g. the 16200 hits on Google Scholar for "Himalayan ice melting".

    The other wonderful part of the broadcast was the emerging proclivity for "so and so would not rule out" quotes... Oh, Bill English, so you won't completely rule out this whacky idea I just asked you about? Sounds like a headline to me... No, never mind what you actually DID say about the issue...

  4. I am delighted and edified to see that NZ builders have apparently decided to install tungsten-tough wardrobes in the houses of the "insufferably middle-class". Not for our chippies the flimsy dried-out tissue paper material normally found in Kiwi houses, oh no. Instead, Herald readers in Glendowie and Mt Eden can luxuriate in the fact that they have a panic room they can hide should any of the lower orders come calling.

  5. Why is 'middle class' being used in such a derisive manner here?

    And I'm not sure how good a panic room it would be if a 3 year old would normally have been able to open it. Rather, I would suggest that these wardrobes be used as traps to entomb the lower order intruders inside. Perhaps a collection of 8% woodstock bourbon and cokes, Rugby League Weekly magazines and KFC vouchers could be used as bait?

  6. JP: Because I'm a member of the revolutionary proletariat.

  7. I dunno, I could really go for for some covert K-fri, fight juice and or RL Weekly, thats the kind of stuff that might make me stay in the closet... what did i just say?

  8. Can we play 'Editing the Editing the Herald' and point out that wasn't the lead item on Campbell Live?

  9. Well, I guess thats a doubleplusfair enough answer.

  10. Agree about Campbell Live -- goes from bad to worse.

    One thing: the scrambled eggs story was in Christchurch not Dunedin.

  11. >One thing: the scrambled eggs story was in Christchurch not Dunedin.

    Hey, why let the facts get in the way of a good ol collegiate media media beat-up.