Written By: - Date published: 11:03 am, January 16th, 2018 - 128 comments
Categories: greens, journalism, Media - Tags: bias, broadcasting, green party, Hayley Holt, interviewing, mike hosking, paul henry
It’s great news that Hayley Holt has landed a cool new gig hosting TVNZ’s Breakfast show. It’s not so great that before she even gets on the air we have to endure the pontification of some pundits about whether or not it’s “OK”, given she stood as a Green Party candidate in the 2017 election. As if she needs their permission before it can go ahead.
And methinks some people doth protest too much.
How is this even a question?
We on the left have had to put up with the likes of Paul Henry and Mike Hosking, one of whom ran for Parliament as a Tory and the other might as well have, unapologetically spouting their right wing nonsense on the issues of the day, largely unchallenged in front of their audience, every day for the last 20 years or more.
Now it looks like we are finally going to see a semblance of balance and all of a sudden we are deemed to need a tiresome public debate on whether or not it’s OK to have a woman with an opinion hosting Breakfast.
Sure, there was a public debate on whether or not it was a good idea to have John Key’s biggest fanboy host the leaders’ debates last year, but Hosking has a long and well documented track record of being incapable of keeping his opinions to himself. Holt hasn’t even had a chance to show us she will do the job with even handed professionalism yet. Double standard much?
Whether or not someone has stood for a political party in the past should not be the test of an appropriate person to front political content. The test should be can they do the job without fear or favour?
Kim Hill is an example of someone who has had a long career as the premier interviewer in New Zealand giving both sides hell. I’ve listened to her for 20 years and I have no idea who she votes for.
Maggie Barry also had a distinguished interviewing career and surprised me a little bit when she turned out to be a Nat.
Objectivity is the ideal model, but there is also room for bias as long as it’s up front so we can take it into account, and as long as it’s balanced with an equally strident opinion on the opposite side of the debate.
But rather than be a cheerleader for the left as Hosking and Henry are cheerleaders for the right, after all this commentary, I suspect Hayley will feel a strong urge to overcompensate and be harder on the left than the right. And that is more than likely what right wing commentators are shooting for in taking aim at her now.