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Is Tova O’Brien really a closet leftie?

Written By: - Date published: 9:01 am, August 16th, 2018 - 76 comments
Categories: Donald Trump, International, journalism, making shit up, Media, national, same old national, Simon Bridges, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, us politics, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags: ,

If she is I can’t say I have ever noticed her at a meeting of the People’s Republic of Aotearoa Tamaki Makaurau branch (this will get the right googling furiously).  But Matthew Hooton, the person that (Red) Radio New Zealand trusts to comment on how the right wing see things is on the face of it convinced that she is. At least according to Radio Live:

Right-wing PR man Matthew Hooton told RadioLIVE Drive there is a “despicable smear campaign underway” against the National Party leader.

“Aid and abetted by an extreme left-wing, anti-National Party journalist called Tova O’Brien, who is a disgrace to the profession and a disgrace to Newshub, and is running a personal campaign to get rid of Simon Bridges.”

The degree of hyperbole is exceptional, Fox News like in its quality.  The sort of thing Donald Trump says on a bad day.  And totally lacking in analysis or that rather important quality called evidence.

And attacking the messenger is pretty bad form. I mean which self respecting journalist, leaked documents to show that Simon Bridges had spent a small fortune of taxpayer’s money on touring the company seeking votes and support, would not report it?

To check on the allegations I had a quick quiz through the Standard’s earlier posts. Tova is not someone who has attracted much attention either way in the past  although there is this post when she described Bridges’ comments about baby Neve loutish, transphobic rubbish. But so did everyone else.

And on another blog it has been reported that she is anti Jacinda.

So what evidence is there that she is an extreme left-wing, anti-National Party journalist?  Nil, nada, zip.

Maybe this is a big Mediaworks clickbait exercise.  Getting us all to furiously click on various Mediaworks’ sites as the story unfolds.

I think the story about Bridges’s expenses has some way to go still.  I am pretty sure that Trevor Mallard has very cleverly gazumped National and either a National caucus member will be discovered to be the leaker or enough of them will refuse to sign a waiver to make identification of the culprit impossible but show Bridges to be weak.  Clearly Mallard is convinced that the form of the information (digital) is such that it had to come from within National’s caucus and not from Parliamentary Services.

Getting National to require all of its MPs to sign a waiver is a stroke of brilliance on his part.

I still do not get National’s rationale for asking for the inquiry.  Maybe Bridges and co are willing to run the risk of a National MP being outed, then they can summarily disembowel him or her and enhance their standing.  It worked for Phil Goff and for David Shearer at least for a while.  Tough guy routines tend to go down quite well with the voting public.  But time will tell.

The next time I am at the Tamaki Makaurau branch of the People’s Republic of Aotearoa party meeting I will say hello to Tova.  Somehow I don’t think this is going to happen.

76 comments on “Is Tova O’Brien really a closet leftie? ”

  1. Gosman 1

    Lol! Given the claims made against people like Guyon Espiner and Duncan Garner by people in the comments section here I find this defence of Tova O’Brien hillarious.

  2. Gosman 2

    By way of example of the sort of views expressed by some here about Guyon Espiner I refer to the following link

    Espiner becomes RNZ Morning Report host and Pagani criticises the Standard

    ” His appointment from the Mediaworks stable is unhelpful. Radio New Zealand has always been part of the public service independent media model and an influx of people from private media, especially those being shown preference by the current government, has the potential to undermine the principle of independence.”

    • mickysavage 2.1

      Something I wrote a few years ago. My comment “private media, especially those being shown preference by the current government” was a reference to Mediaworks and the interest free loans that Joyce arranged for it.

      Is Joyce too big to fail?

      And are you saying that “potential to undermine the principle of independence” is the same as “extreme left-wing, anti-National Party journalist “?

      • Gosman 2.1.1

        I’m strongly suggesting that allegations of bias by members of the media go both ways and to criticise someone on the right for making unfounded allegations when similar comments may have been made by yourself in the past smacks of double standards.

        I disagree strongly with Matthew Hooton on this point. He should pull his head in. As far as I can tell Tova O’Brien is doing her job. However at least Hooton was criticising her for perceived bias in something she did. Guyon Espiner was being criticised for perceived bias before he even started a job.

    • paul andersen 2.2

      you are trying to hijack this thread. thought it was about newly minted lefty, abrien, now you are waffling on about something else. are you impaired, or just unable to focus?

      • Gosman 2.2.1

        Actually this thread is about someone in the media making unfounded allegations of bias against a journalist from one of the major media outlets. It is entirely appropriate to point out how that is something that happens all the time across the political divide.

        • McFlock 2.2.1.1

          I love how you act like “unfounded” is an unimportant word.

          🙄

        • dukeofurl 2.2.1.2

          Just that Rotton didnt provide facts …at least O’Brien had Bridges love of the limo for her story… real facts

  3. Dennis Frank 3

    I heard that Hooton described her as corrupt. Think it was Garner yesterday morning. If so, H has lost the plot. Labour don’t have spare money to pay her to spin things their way. She’s been getting her video editor to do some snappy assemblage of repetitive robotic behaviour by Nat parliamentarians to make her reports infotaining – must’ve irritated him sufficiently to assume a mercenary motivation.

    • Cinny 3.1

      Dear TVNZ please air The Hollow Men documentary to add some context to the washed up hootens tantrums. Please and Thank you 🙂

      • tc 3.1.1

        +100….Maori TV maybe but not TVNZ as that’s a celebrity/reality/cooking outlet now.

        Wonder if his backers run to sorting any legal issues around defamation etc when he goes all out unhinged.

      • Gosman 3.1.2

        What context will that add?

        • Cinny 3.1.2.1

          Investigative journalism context to help inform the NZ public.

          Knowledge is power.

          Yes please Maori TV 🙂

          • Gosman 3.1.2.1.1

            Inform the NZ public about what exactly? That Matthew Hooton has links with National – Shock Horror! I am pretty sure most people know that.

            • Cinny 3.1.2.1.1.1

              To remind and/or inform the NZ public on the extents of dirty politics.

              don brash and matthew hotton. Leaked documents etc etc. Topical stuff atm.

              Inform the next generation’s.

  4. marty mars 4

    Hootons personal issues are affecting his work. He needs to get help before he is forced to.

    • mac1 4.1

      If that’s the case I hope he does- for himself, and for the rest of us who are inflicted/infected by the same rhetoric. I Instance the fake news attack recently on alleged ‘baby-dandling’ and now this OTT attack on Tova O’Brien.

    • dukeofurl 4.2

      Rotton is always like this, hes had a long running personal vendetta against Steven Joyce- who let it slide but once he was out of national and Rotton took one last swipe, Joyce said he was going to sue and got an abject, on both knees, head held in shame apology

      • marty mars 4.2.1

        I don’t think it is good to enable his toxic unhinged rants – young people might think that is acceptable. hooton is a hollow man, shallow, venal, envious and with a short ego always trying to be an alpha but sadly never getting there.

        • Gosman 4.2.1.1

          Let’s censor him as well then 😉

          • dukeofurl 4.2.1.1.1

            What happened to Martyn Bradbury then
            he was ‘censored off’ one of RNZ shows for much the same ‘outspoken’ views that Rotton gets away with week after week…one small difference to Bradburys views.

            https://www.newshub.co.nz/general/blogger-bomber-banned-from-rnz-for-criticism-of-key-2011101012

            As usual Gosman you have short attention span…. dont remember Auckland University ‘de platforming’ Hone Harawira either do you after a ‘Thugs veto’ by upset Young nats

          • marty mars 4.2.1.1.2

            Yes you rwnjs always try to shut down debate and censure things – let’s burn the books says your mob. Not me – he can say what he likes and if I don’t like it i’ll say what I like. Freedom is not just another word for nothing left to lose mate.

  5. Sabine 5

    does anyone really care?

    • adam 5.1

      Average folks, probably not.

      The problem is that hooten is a turd that the rest of the media is more than a little besotted with.

      • Sabine 5.1.1

        yep, and how many average people would now how that guy is?

        I mean, the only reason i know about these guys is because people here complain about them.

        but then i don’t watch tv, don’t listen to the radio and do not read NZ newspapers.

        makes for easy living really.

        i shall dedicate this to the chattering class of NZ.

  6. Chris T 6

    Having not seen much yet from Tova O’Brien I can only go by her comments when she was reporting on UK politics on AM when she spent a few years being based there.

    Seemed fairly impartial to me, albeit maybe leaning to the left a little

    Whether this has changed in the same environment here where she would have more emotional investment I’m not sure.

    Time will tell I suppose.

    As an aside, how anyone can call Garner right escapes me.

    He was hassling the Nats when they were in govt, just as much as he does with Labour now. The funniest is he and pretty much all the media go easier on Ardern since she announced the pregnancy than they did on Key, which I wouldn’t have even believed possible.

    • bwaghorn 6.1

      The problem with garners show is he has an openly Nat toss bag sitting next to him with no openly lefty for balance so it scews his show to the right. Hardly journalism a?

  7. Anne 7

    … which self respecting journalist, leaked documents to show that Simon Bridges had spent a small fortune of taxpayer’s money on touring the company seeking votes and support,…

    I think you mean ‘country’ not ‘company’ ms. 😉

    • mac1 7.1

      I think that’s what he meant, Anne, but ‘company’ worked quite well for meaning, as well. I saw the travelling one-man band road show locally. He played the drums for a number with a jazz band from Christ’s College, then spoke and responded to questions/statements from the floor.

      So, National was ‘touring the company’. He ran the show, was the star performer, and showed his affinity with the people by talking to us with his jacket off. The people paying were our taxpayers, but that’s OK. Did we get a performance worthy of a free but hidden costs ticket? I didn’t think so as little of real substance was revealed. He was ‘listening’ even though he did most of the talking. I wrote about the substance of the meeting in another comment here at the time.

      It reminded me of the touring bus from a minor party which toured some elections ago. The sign on the side said something like “Listening to New Zealanders”. The pungent comment on the photo pointed out the special listening devices attached to the bus. They were, of course, tannoy speakers!

  8. infused 8

    I think Tova has got a bit carried away in the last few weeks. Likely not left/right, but she was all attack until shes got caught out. Having to report on herself last night must have been interesting.

    It’s an mediaworks/private media thing. They tend to pick a side and go all out (in my opinion, left or right).

    • Anne 8.1

      It’s an mediaworks/private media thing. They tend to pick a side and go all out (in my opinion, left or right).

      Yes. Good point.

    • dukeofurl 8.2

      Thats true . Theres that imperative now for media who aim for millennial demographic to frame everything as absolutes. They cant even suggest shades of grey. Commentators see themselves as a brand and treat their musings with brand impact words
      see ‘The Spinoff headlines for today

      ‘Justice for Baby Justus: the fight to overturn a baby name ban goes on’

      ‘Consultation is overrated: why we should stop letting idiots guide us

      ‘It’s official: big law firm culture is f*cked. Here’s how to survive it

      The UK media , say Guardian and Independent is even more hilarious as people who are unknown in the real world clamour for even harder impact words to make their minor stories seem important

    • Ed 8.3

      Yes this story is really about getting this failing network airtime.
      The story becomes about her.
      And her channel’s advertising.

  9. Reality 9

    Regarding Tova O’B – it is pleasing to see she is being forthright in her comments re Simon Bridges after years of the media giving John Key an easy time and at the same time being highly critical of the left/centre left.

  10. AB 10

    Maybe the political spectrum has got so distorted inside Hooten’s head that he actually believes what he’s saying.
    I find this unlikely, because Hooten is characterised by the aggressive use of language and rhetoric to drive perception and opinion in the direction he wants. I see him as the right’s Mark Antony (in Shakespeare’s play the smooth, verbally fluent, self-interested shit-stirrer). Astonishingly, he is given platforms all over the place to do that.
    The more likely scenario is that he is intentionally misdirecting blame for an internal Collins-faction hit-job onto a convenient journalist.

    • Gosman 10.1

      Except he is not a Collins fan at all.

      • dukeofurl 10.1.1

        hes banging the drum for Bridges though. Thats because he can see exactly the same situation for Bridges as happened for :
        Goff
        Shearer
        Cunliffe
        Little

        Week after week small things drip drip drip wear away at Bridges credibility and with that goes nationals numbers ( when they find another party option)

        Compared to some in the media Tova O’brien seems to be seemingly even handed. ( Compared to say Stacey Kirk) I suppose she has to as newshub chief political reporter.
        Rottons outburst seems to be more to catch the attention of newshubs distant US/aussie private equity fund bosses who may feel ‘thats theres a problem to be fixed’

        • Chris T 10.1.1.1

          Except Nationals numbers seem to be going up/level

          For all the calls of the axe is coming, from the left, doubt it will happen unless that changes

          • dukeofurl 10.1.1.1.1

            Brand glow – weetbix has the same effect.

            National still has the same support in opinion makers , in newspapers , radio magazines etc and it rubs off in the consumers of that style of news.

  11. Professor Longhair 11

    This little tick Hooton is a jackanapes. Nothing more, nothing less.

  12. Chris T 12

    It’s pretty funny the whole Hooton thing

    He was telling Labour the only way they could win the election was to make Ardern leader as early as March last year in the NBR and everyone slagged him off.

    Lol

    • AB 12.1

      You are too kind.
      He promoted Ardern replacing Little a leader because:
      1.) He reckoned they wouldn’t do it and talking about it served to undermine Little further
      and
      2.) He reckoned that if they actually did do it, it would make them look shambolic and backfire spectacularly

      He was wrong on both counts and seems to be pretty annoyed about it. But the real point is that absolutely everything he says is calculated to harm the left and cannot be treated as an honest statement of opinion.

    • AB 12.2

      You are too kind.
      Most likely Hooton advocated replacing Little with Ardern because:
      1.) He thought they wouldn’t do it and talking about it served to undermine Little further
      and
      2.) He thought that if they did do it, they would look shambolic and it would all backfire

      He was wrong on both counts – which seems to have annoyed him.
      However the real point is that everything he says is designed to harm the left and cannot be taken as an honest expression of opinion.

  13. Ross 13

    I’m not sure why the form of the information is relevant. The leaker could’ve taken a screen shot with their phone or simply scribbled the details on a piece of paper which then fell off the back of a truck. 🙂

    I’ll be amazed if the leaker is identified.

  14. Chris Trotter once wrote an article that described Hooten as a dangerous and eloquent speaker for the right,…hehe… I never saw him that way,… I just saw him as sleazy and all you had to do was observe the tosspots who he was speaking for to know it was just so much contrived claptrap.

    He needs to be minimized in the public’s eye as to just how ‘important’ he is… dated 1980’s and 1990’s style rhetoric and dogma?

    He’s almost 20 years out of step.

    Passed the use- by.

  15. Marcus Morris 15

    I had never heard of Tova O’Brien before this article came up so I read two recent stories by her concerning Simon Bridges. The first was questioning his wisdom in choosing be “out of the office” while the Prime Minister took her parental leave and the second was the reference to the expense account. What on earth is Hooton on about. He loses whatever credibility he had by the day.

    • Chris T 15.1

      That is probably because she has only been in the job about 2-3 months

      She used to be the Newshub Europe correspondent and took Paddy “Chairman of the Official NZ Jacinda Fan club” Gower’s job

      • dukeofurl 15.1.1

        And the Parliamentary gallery wasnt a 10 year John key appreciation club ?

      • veutoviper 15.1.2

        She was a political reporter for several years or more – I think in the Parliamentary Press Gallery – before she went to Europe and was frequently on TV News during that time. IIRC she was often on with Garner and/or Gower.

  16. Sanctuary 16

    You are SO lucky. I am a member of the People’s Republic of Aotearoa Tamaki Southdown branch, or the PRATS 🙁

    Or Jacinda’s secret group, the People’s Republic of Aotearoa Manakau Socialists (PRAMS)

  17. Observer Tokoroa 17

    The Cat House

    I listened into the Leader of the Opposition 2 days ago. I should not have expected any parliamentary courtesy from Capitalists. Greed is their only game.

    But Simon who was darting around like a cat on heat, kept referring to a member of the Labour party as “Sheehe”. “Does sheee still stand for” . “Why does Sheehee ,,,,”

    We all know he is incoherent and has a difficulty with everyday words. I don’t knock Simon for that.

    It would be best if the screaming Simon emptied his bowels before opening his mouth – and addressed men and women with Courtesy.

    In most Parliaments members are referred to as the “Honorable Member for Tauranga” or some such.

    The Speakers of most Parliaments ensure Courtesy, but the Beehive Speaker prefers trash to time honoured etiqutte. Shame.

    • Gosman 17.1

      “We all know he is incoherent and has a difficulty with everyday words. I don’t knock Simon for that.”

      Ummm… you just did.

  18. Observer Tokoroa 18

    Do you have any females in your daily life? Do you call them SHE – repeatedly ?

    I thought you had some worthwhile traits – and customs.

    I was wrong.

  19. Ken 19

    Is it stating the obvious to say that Hooten is losing credibility?

    • You’d lose it too if all you had to work with was the unpopular screamer Bridges and the equally as distrusted dodgy Collins…

      Imagine trying to make a silk purse out of those two sows ears,,… Geez, Wayne !

  20. R.P Mcmurphy 20

    mathew hooton is a paid liar. my rule of thumb is that anything he asserts then the opposite is most likely to be true. hooton has no discernible principles and is unconscionable and unscrupulous when it comes to furthering the interests of his paymasters

  21. Brian Tregaskin 21

    What would happen if the leak came from a Labour MP. What would fallout be in this scenario?

  22. Ian 22

    Newshub journalism peaked with paddy gower.When will paddy be emerging from his safe house ?Currently the laughing stock of international investigative reporting. Tova looks like she is following the same path. A pity really,cos she did quite well early on .

  23. corodale 23

    Part of the strategy is to strengthen the mythology of the left-right divide.
    The illusion of an “extreme-left” is required so the neo-liberal agenda can marginalise progressive governance. Labour are bound to business-as-usual, by the fear of looking like a “socialist threat”.

    Due to the hedging strategies of the neo-liberal power base, the best chance for genuine socialist reform is cooperation between the self proclaimed left, and the new popularist movements. They know this, and thus they focus on the politics of divide and conquer.

  24. Michael Smythe 24

    National’s rationale for asking for the inquiry?
    My guess is it’s a high-stakes plot to get a new conservative party up and running in parliament before the Electoral Integrity Act becomes law. Here is the scenario:

    The enquiry will find that a National Party MP leaked the exorbitant nationwide getting-to-know-me tour expenses to a journalist.

    The (carefully selected) National MP will then be subject to a swift ritual dismissal from the National Caucus.

    The now independent MP will argue that s/he was standing up for the poor beleaguered taxpayer in exposing profligate spending – and use that as a platform for launching a new conservative, small government, low tax party.

    The new party leader, now enjoying a higher parliamentary salary and expenses, will then embark upon a nationwide getting-to-know-me tour at great expense to the poor beleaguered taxpayer.

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