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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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