Ambitious for NZ political debate

Written By: - Date published: 11:35 am, July 14th, 2008 - 24 comments
Categories: Media - Tags:

It’s sad that Matthew Hooton passes for a political commentator in this country. If he was a blogger, he would be third, fourth tier. Surely, we can do better.

Last year in his column, Hooton suggested that there would be no election this year because Labour would stage a coup.

Last week on Nine till Noon, he ranted endlessly about Nicky Hager being a thief and conspiracy theorist in one of the most embarrassing moments in political discourse in recent times (apart from his fellow Nat Peter Low’s ‘I’ll get triads’ rant on Morning report later that week).

On Sunday Hooton wrote, “we can safely assume in Clark’s Wellington that the particular staffers who [supplied Clark with info on Key’s holdings in Tranzrail that were slightly wrong] will never be heard of again”, which a few phone calls has confirmed is totally wrong, a malicious lie. He also claims that if a coalition government can be formed after the election of Labour, the Greens, the Progs, NZF, and the Maori Party it would “lack popular legitimacy”. Sorry, if a government has the support of Parliament and no party in it had promised voters it would not enter such a coalition, then it has popular legitimacy, even if it doesn’t include the largest party.

Hooton is not a real commentator,  he is a spin doctor, He knows that he can’t win rational debate and, also, that when people hear two contrasting positions they are inclined to assume the truth is somewhere in the middle. So, he gives an extreme, frothing at the mouth, rightwing counterpoint to the considered commentators of the Left, dragging the centre rightward while poisoning thoughtful debate and legitimising paranoid delusions.  New Zealand deserves better.

24 comments on “Ambitious for NZ political debate”

  1. rjs131 1

    Just for arguments sake, who do you think are the appropriate rightwing commentators that the media should be going to counter the “considered commentators of the left” or are you suggesting that the media should only consult the “considered commentators of the left”?

  2. Nick C 2

    “The considered commentators of the Left”

    I hope you arent refering to Trotter, his columns are more fiction then fact, esspecially when he writes about neo liberalism and crosbytextor. If you were to believe him crosbytextor has orchestrated every single event in New Zealand politics since 2003.

  3. Tane 3

    rjs, I think you’ve struck upon one of the problems NZ has as a small country – our lack of intelligent independent commentators.

    The right has plenty of commentators, in fact the overwhelming majority, but their problem (depending on your perspective) is that they tend to either be party operatives (Richard Long, Matthew Hooton etc) or have nothing new or intelligent to say (Bill Ralston, Michael Laws, any talkback host you care to mention…).

    Off the top of my head I’d say Ben Thomas is the only right-wing commentator worth listening to. I’m sure there are other people out there who could do it, they just haven’t been given the opportunity.

  4. Ben was good on Face to Face yesterday.

  5. Tane 5

    Bro, Eye to Eye. F2F was Kim Hill’s gig.

  6. Vernon Small, Trotter, and Brent Edwards are of the Left, they’re good. You’ve got Guyon Espiner, Tracy Watkins, Audrey Young, etc on the Right and they’re good too. All of them have their faults but they’re lightyears past the likes of Hooton.

  7. rjs131 7

    Certainly the tone of the post was that all right wing commentators are bad, and all left wing commentators are “considered”.

  8. BeShakey 8

    I don’t think it is just the commentators fault. The media tend to overlook the more moderate reasoned commentators in favour of those who will stir up controversy and debate. It ends up being unintelligent sensationalism over less sensational but intelligent debate that actually gets somewhere.

    It always annoys me when the media dredges up the most radical Maori commentator to offer ‘the Maori perspective’ rather than the more moderate Maori commentator who is actually more representative of Maoridom. Same thing goes for Law & Order debates, hence the omnipresence of Garth McVicar, when there are much (MUCH) more intelligent people that could be there offering the right wing perspective.

  9. Monty 9

    Good one guys – start shooting the commentator. Hooton has been on the shit list for some time – I even remember Dear Leader making the comment about having Hooton on Government funded radio. For my part I do enjoy Hooton (obviously) and think he offers some excellent insights. I loved his comments about Hagar being the Patricia Bartlet of the NZ Politics. I knew Patricia Bartlett well and thought the comparison very fair.

    This Morning on the politics segment on National Radio, it was interesting to hear Harre and Hooton essentially agreeing for once on the Winston Funding lie. I look forwardto more information about that.

  10. Monty – it’s not at all surprising to see you endorse a fellow right wing frother.

  11. mike 11

    You are lucky you missed Hooton’s Sunday Night Politics show on Radio Live last night Steve.

    He has some interesting theories on some John Key smear blogs being funded by Labour – throwing names around as well. Duncan Garner found it interesting also…

  12. we receive no funding from any organisation. Just shows that Hooton is more akin to a third rate blogger than a serious commentator.

    If Duncan Garner wants talk about these issues, he can call me like other journos have. And I will tell him, what we’ve repeatedly told you, the truth: we are individuals writing with no funding or direction from any organisation.

  13. roger nome 13

    “If Duncan Garner wants talk about these issues, he can call me like other journos have.”

    Garner should be careful about what muck he chooses to rake. My mate had a very interesting encounter with him just a few weeks ago. One which would make him blush more than a littel over the hypocrisy of his more conservative political views.

  14. Paul Williams 14

    Hooton does a job, it’s just not one that anybody with talent or integrity would wish to do. Nothing’s changed since he was on Lockwood’s staff.

    I agree however, that it’s odd that NatRad use him, there’s plenty who’d do a much better job. I’d love to hear Harre debate with someone like Simon Upton; hell, that’d be excellent as they’re both highly intelligent and experienced.

  15. randal 15

    I hear the ‘angry ant’ aka mathew hootin is going to fight the ‘furious flea’ aka michael laws on the fight for life this year?

  16. Scribe 16

    Not sure what to deduce from the lack of response to Nick C’s question over whether Chris Trotter is one of those “considered” commentators on the Left. Tane, Steve (your post), is he?

    And regarding Ben Thomas (and anyone we try to pigeon-hole as “Left” or “Right”), he’s a mix-and-match from the little I’ve read of his. He’s appeared economically conservative but not necessarily socially conservative.

  17. Rex Widerstrom 17

    Commenters above have nailed the problem. It’s not the fault of the vacuuous recyclers of self-absorbed garbage *cough*MichaelLaws*cough* but those who regularly give them space to vent their tired views.

    Steve notes, in a later comment: “Vernon Small, Trotter, and Brent Edwards are of the Left, they’re good. You’ve got Guyon Espiner, Tracy Watkins, Audrey Young…”

    What do they all have in common (with the exception of Trotter, who I don’t think belongs in such company)? They’re working journos, who pick up new information every day. And they’ve been round the traps long enough to be able to offer some worthwhile perspective on that information.

    The other commentators to whom the media invariably turn aren’t journalists they’re dilettantes, more interested in maintaining a “profile” so they get an invitation to “Dancing with the Stars” or “Celebrity Treasure Island” in order to get more profile and then be asked to tell their “heartbreaking tale of courage” (aka exploiting their own child’s illness) to a womens’ magazine.

    Such a person has nothing to offer – their legitimacy as a commentator relies solely on a self-perpetuating media presence. Not so much a case of pop eating itself as media eating itself, then playing with it’s own… okay maybe I won’t conclude that simile.

    Not that I’m suggesting only journalists should get space in the newspapers and on the airwaves. But when it’s clear that Laws, Ralston, Trotter, McLeod et al have nothing new to offer us – and they don’t – then we the readers need to tell the editors we want to hear new voices, or else we’ll speed up the trend to abandoning new media for old.

    After all, if we really want to read choleric rants from someone who’s slightly unhinged, we can do it for free online 🙂

  18. Tane 18

    Scribe, Trotter’s a bit on and off in my opinion. At times brilliant, at others baffling. He’s certainly an independent thinker though, which is more than you can say for most of the tory shills that pass as commentators in this country.

  19. Good post.

    Matthew Hotton’s presence on publicly owned radio is the most compelling and conclusive proof that “Helengrad” is a myth. How a supposed despot would let him communicate using public media is beyond me.

    His allegation that Labour had engaged in “dog whistle politics” does a disservice to dogs. The phrase applies to public comments that are capable of two meanings, one of which strikes a chord with some primitive irrational emotion.

    Labour saying that National would do away with Kiwisaver, Working for Families, Interest free Student Loans and sell housing corporation houses is based on actual statements made by people such as Wilkinson, English and Ardern and by National’s past performance not on the desire to enrage an irrational emotion.

    Their current silence for “strategic reasons” is nothing more than a cynical ploy to avoid the denigration which their actual agenda would cause.

    Let them come out and say what they will actually do or not do if they think they deserve to lead us.

  20. Scribe 20

    Tane,

    Trotter’s a bit on and off in my opinion. At times brilliant, at others baffling.

    Can you email me when he writes something brilliant, please. I don’t remember reading anything of his I found brilliant. I have been baffled on many an occasion.

    Oh, and SP, I did see after my last comment that you’d included Trotter in your list of “good” commentators. My mistake.

  21. Oliver 21

    Hooton is no worse than Trotter with his ‘noble corruption’ and desire to censor right-wing discussion.

  22. Better Dead Than Red 22

    “he gives an extreme, frothing at the mouth, rightwing counterpoint to the considered commentators of the Left, dragging the centre rightward while poisoning thoughtful debate and legitimising paranoid delusions.”

    Ha ha- what hopelessly partisan rubbish. There are no right wing journalists in NZ. There are only extreme left journalists, far left journalists and center left journalists. The only reason the Standard editors are complaining is because there are not enough ultra- extreme left wing journalists. Their idea of open and free discussion is the left view or no view.

  23. James Kearney 23

    God, speaking of which, from the bog-

    I’ll be one of the two panelists on Agenda on Sunday (10 am TV One). Deborah Hill Cone is the other.

    The main guest will be Rodney Hide on the future of ACT.

    http://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2008/07/dpf_on_agenda-2.html

    Some fuckin’ balance! I’ve sent a letter of complaint to Agenda. I’d encourage others to do so too at feedback@agendatv.co.nz

  24. Pascal's bookie 24

    James,
    bloody ‘ell. I guess Michael Basset wasn’t available.

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    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    2 weeks ago

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