A belated farewell

Written By: - Date published: 8:07 am, September 13th, 2010 - 11 comments
Categories: Media - Tags:

I meant to post on Sean Plunket’s last day with Morning report last week but better late than never I suppose.

Plunket is one of those rare things in the media – an interviewer who can cut through the well polished lines and get a politician to say something they didn’t want to. And that style coupled with the medium format interviews that Morning Report offers lent itself to some of the greatest moments of radio in recent times.

Who could forget, for example, the time Winston Peters rang in out of the blue and ended up in an impromptu pugilistic interview?

And I’ll certainly miss the classic line he’d use just about weekly: “minister X has refused to comment, if you’re listening minister we’d love to talk to you.” Of course you know they were always listening.

I’m not sure whether his new work across print, talkback and TV will offer the same opportunities for him to play to his strengths but I certainly hope it does and I’ll be a more regular viewer of The Nation now than I have been.

One thing’s for sure though, whoever replaces him will have a hard act to follow.

11 comments on “A belated farewell”

  1. prism 1

    Very true – He asks penetrating questions about the matters the public needs to know. Sean is abrasive but that’s needed to break through the impervious shell of politicians and ‘leaders’ use when being asked awkward questions that should be answered.

  2. tc 2

    Serious journalism takes another hit as Plunkett defects to talkback radio……wonder how much dosh he’s taking to put to air the rantings of ZB’s talkback audience…..park integrity here….collect money over here.

  3. RedLogix 3

    Yes Sean is one of a handful at the top of the profession in this country. On the other hand I listened to him giving soft-cock interviews to John Key and other Nat pollies before the last election, while in the same hour as intemperately shouting down a left winger, often enough to know where his political sympathies lay.

    He was also right up the front of the ‘lynch Winston Peters’ mob.

    There are of course no perfectly objective people, and although you always knew where Sean’s heart lay, he also put up an admirably honest and professional effort. No-one was really safe from him, as evidenced that after the election the tables got turned on Plunkett and virtually no senior Nat politician had the balls to be interviewed by him, especially on anything potentially contentious.

    • Mr Magoo 3.1

      I agree with the sentiment. The guy did not die so lets not go through that whole “wool over eyes” thing people do when someone does.

      He was quite often biased and sometimes very annoying to listen to when he had pre-made up his mind on the way the interview should go and it turns out he was wrong. I agree that this was definitely a right bias but it stretched further than that at times.
      Demanding yes/no answers to questions that don’t have one. Attacking experts on things and then using their confusion at the idiocy of the questions as a sign of weakness and doubt. Talking over people trying to explain the complexities of a situation because a proper explanation did not quite fit into the 5 second sound bite he was rudely demanding.

      And just being plain rude at times to people who did not really deserve it.

      Not to say he was not good at his job in many other ways also but I will leave it to others to point out all those. 🙂

      • sukie Damson 3.1.1

        Despite there being no obvious replacement his leaving did not come soon enough for my liking. It’s been a sorry decline. Lately he has been demanding YES/NO answers on issues, such as the price of Girl Guide biscuits one minute, and then fawning over rugby world cup business leaders half an hour later. He had the chance to achieve something substantial, and make Morning Report his own. Instead he has chosen the insanity that is Talk Back.

    • felix 3.2

      Only had to see him on tv on election night to know exactly where his personal allegiances lie.

      And yep, although he’s capable of asking the hard questions of pollies from anywhere on the spectrum, he was blatantly soft on the Nats in the run up to the election.

      The fact that he has been prepared to grill them since then only highlights the fact that politics is little more than a sport to him, and he’s just another sportsfan really. A bit better at it than most but ultimately part of the problem.

      Oh and he and Garner interviewing each other every week is just fucking insulting. A disgusting little circle jerk and a fitting end to a promising but disappointing career.

  4. Olwyn 4

    Yes. he certainly stood out as someone who understood and largely adhered to the principles of good journalism in comparison to the partisan blancmange that generally passes for political commentary. I don’t think anyone in the MSM questioned the legitimacy of the hounding of Peters, but he at least restrained himself to reporting on it without the level of hysteria that was going on in other quarters. And it was amusing when John Key refused to go on Morning Report and defend the last budget. This alone suggests that he could not be relied upon for the sort of toadying Key has come to expect.

  5. Ron 5

    I was getting pretty tired of his right wing bias, I have to say. While he gave some very easy rides to Key and his mates – especially before the last election – and although he made those comments about key refusing to front up they never actually went looking for JK, he seemed to have an agenda against a great many from the Left. He grilled left wing politicians and made snide comments about organisations involved in social justice. An example of the agenda he seemed to be running was the way he shamelessly spouted misinformation in his attempt to discredit the Kia Ora Gaza project. He then snidely referred to that project at least three times in the following weeks. He had some bee in his bonnett about it and couldn’t let it go.

    I suspect it isn’t the money from The Radio Network that has encouraged his change – it’s more likely ego. In his new roles he gets to be a “commentator” in a number of different media.

  6. Jenny 6

    I can’t help but agree with a number of other commentators here, that Sean Plunket’s Career has been taking a rightwards trajectory to the detriment of his undoubted journalistic skills.

    In particular I thought it was a shame, that in a recent interview with the Team Captain of Kia Ora Gaza, Sean Plunket diverted from professional journalistic practice to make a number of unsubstantiated accusations against the charity Viva Palestina and it’s founder, British MP George Galloway.

    Unfortunately Plunket then compounded his attack on Viva Palestina, by refusing to allow Galloway a chance to defend himself against the accusations he had made.

    This is not professional journalism.

    Jeremy Rose for Radio New Zealand’s Mediawatch programme, who covered the stoush between George Galloway, and Sean Plunket, had this to say on this <a href='http://kiaoragaza.wordpress.com/2010/09/05/mediawatch-hits-nail-on-head-says-kia-ora-gaza/<controversy:

    “A George Galloway / Sean Plunket stoush seems like something of a missed opportunity. But, regardless, having decided not to take George Galloway up on his offer [of being interviewed by Sean Plunket] The Nation should either have verified what George Galloway has described as ‘downright lies’ about him, or acknowledged and corrected any mistake it did make.”

    Captcha – “fair” (I think not)

    • Jenny 6.1

      Corrected version:

      I can’t help but agree with a number of other commentators here, that Sean Plunket’s Career has been taking a rightwards trajectory to the detriment of his undoubted journalistic skills.

      In particular I thought it was a shame, that in a recent interview with the Team Captain of Kia Ora Gaza, Sean Plunket diverted from professional journalistic practice to make a number of unsubstantiated accusations against the charity, Viva Palestina and it’s founder, British MP George Galloway.

      Unfortunately Plunket then compounded his attack on Viva Palestina, by refusing to allow Galloway a chance to defend himself against the accusations he had made.

      This is not professional journalism.

      Jeremy Rose for Radio New Zealand’s Mediawatch programme, who covered the stoush between George Galloway, and Sean Plunket, had this to say on this controversy:

      “A George Galloway / Sean Plunket stoush seems like something of a missed opportunity. But, regardless, having decided not to take George Galloway up on his offer [of being interviewed by Sean Plunket] The Nation should either have verified what George Galloway has described as ‘downright lies’ about him, or acknowledged and corrected any mistake it did make.”

  7. Daveosaurus 7

    It’s more the end of an era than it is any sort of loss to National Radio; they still have perfectly competent interviewers on staff (Mary Wilson to name but one). But, while Plunket may have been hopelessly partisan, he still did some good in his job (most memorably in recent times with his demolition of one of the Family Fist bashers with regards to the Jimmy Mason case).

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  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Democracy – I Don’t Think So
    So, those who “know best” have again done their worst. While constantly claiming to be the guardians of democracy and the constitution, and respecters of the 2016 referendum result, diehard Remainers (who have never brought themselves to believe that their advice could have been rejected) have striven might and main ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • Government says it will now build just one really nice home
    Following publication of this article, the Ministry has requested it to be noted that this supplied image is not necessarily representative of what the final house will look like, and it “probably won’t be that nice.” As part of today’s long-anticipated reset of the Government’s flagship KiwiBuild policy, Housing Minister ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Imperialism and your cup of coffee
    Over the next week or two we will be running three synopses of parts of the opening chapter of John Smith’s Imperialism in the 21st Century (New York, Monthly Review Press, 2016).  The synopsis and commentary below is written by Phil Duncan. Marx began Capital not with a sweeping historical ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Still juking the stats
    The State Services Commission and Ombudsman have released another batch of OIA statistics, covering the last six months. Request volumes are up, and the core public service is generally handling them within the legal timeframe, though this may be because they've learned to extend rather than just ignore things. And ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Hard News: Time for a New Deal: 25 years on
    In 1994, I was editing an ambitious street mag called Planet, from a fabled office at at 309 Karangahape Road. The thirteenth issue of the magazine was published in the winter of that year and its cover embodied a particularly ambitious goal: the end of cannabis prohibition.I wanted to do ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Not impressed
    KiwiBuild was one of the Ardern government's core policies. The government would end the housing crisis and make housing affordable again by building 100,000 new homes. Of course, it didn't work out like that: targets weren't met, the houses they did build were in the wrong place, and the whole ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Solar beats coal
    As the climate crisis escalates, it is now obvious that we need to radically decarbonise our economy. The good news is that its looking easy and profitable for the energy sector. Wind is already cheaper than fossil fuels, and now solar is too:The levellised cost of solar PV has fallen ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago

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