I was surprised to see Judith Collins on Newshub Nation. I understood that she had decided not to appear because the interviews rarely cover issues important to the viewers. I am now aware that subsequent to that decision, Judith’s chief press secretary was contacted by the producer of Newshub Nation promising a wide-ranging interview on topics of interest. This was obviously agreed to. The interview was conducted by Tova O’Brien.
When discussing the topics that Judith was there for, the interview went very well. Tova was able to prove that behaving in an adult manner – as a professional journalist – when forced to is indeed part of her repertoire. Her manner towards Judith was very respectful and she asked some very good questions. She gave Judith plenty of time to reply and the interview gave the viewer a good opportunity to evaluate both Judith as a leader and also what she had to say.
This exercise in professional journalism must have been excruciating for Tova as it turned out it was nothing more than a fabricated excuse to get Judith into the studio. The final part of the interview was the real reason for getting her onto the programme – to again have a go at her over her leadership and try to portray the party as disunited and in disarray. Judith was at pains to point out that she hadn’t come to discuss that but issues of concern to the public. Tova wasn’t having any of that. “Yes and we’ve discussed all those” was her rather rude reply. In other words, we’re now going to discuss the things I really got you in here for.
A word regarding Covid that the government and the media like to use is ‘misinformation’. Here was a classic case of the media using it themselves. Judith’s chief press secretary was obviously misinformed as to the real reason they wanted her on the programme. There are any number of words to describe this form of gutter journalism. Take your pick: subterfuge, deceit, deception, dishonesty, duplicity, cunning, all of those and more. If Tova and those involved with Newshub Nation think this is acceptable behaviour, they should hang their heads in shame.
Accepting bribes from the government is one thing. Behaving in a deliberately despicable manner towards the leader of the opposition, or to any guest they invite onto their programme, is quite another. If you are going to insult your guests, don’t be surprised and throw a hissy fit, as Tova did on the 6pm news, when you find out they don’t want to appear. Tova on Saturday illustrated perfectly why Judith initially declined the offer to appear. People of integrity, and Judith is certainly one, often don’t wish to associate with those lacking in it such as those on Newshub Nation.
This is just another example of the media in this country falling far short of what is expected of them. Maintaining standards, being objective in their reporting and showing at least a modicum of professionalism no longer appear to matter. What a disgrace. If Judith Collins chooses not to appear the next time those involved ask, they should not be surprised.
There is an argument, put forward by Heather du Plessis Allan and Barry Soper, that when your party is at 21 per cent in the polls you take every media chance you’re given. There’s also a saying that you don’t sell your soul to the devil: meaning you don’t do whatever is necessary to get what you want. That’s exactly what Newshub Nation did to get Judith on the programme. It’s exactly what people of integrity, like Judith, would not do. Judith may now rightfully choose not to appear. Only in that way will Newshub Nation be taught a lesson.
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