Much focus has been on the Labour Party objections to Mike Hosking being selected as moderator for the significant TVNZ Leaders election debates. There has been a lot of attention to Hosking because of his known National-leaning, and anti-Labour bias.
Less media attention has been given to Hosking’s track record of sexism and put-downs of some of the least powerful people in society, such as beneficiaries, and Maori.
Hosking really doesn’t stand out as the most qualified candidate for the job. What about Rachel Smalley, or some of the journalists/hosts at Maori Television? Lisa Owen would be a candidate, if she hadn’t already moved to TV3.
Looking back, I wonder why it is that this century, only white males have scored the job as moderators for TVNZ’s leaders debates.
TVNZ’s Leaders Debates
I couldn’t find a link for a debate in 2002.
I wasn’t that keen on Sainsbury as a political journalist back then, but in contrast with Hosking, he seems like a quality host, with some sense of respect and balance.
The widespread objections to Hosking as moderator by many voters, has been given less attention in the mainstream media, as Frank Macskasy spells out.
Meanwhile, ordinary New Zealanders are leaving comments here, highly critical of TVNZ’s appointment of Hosking as a “moderator”.
However, Fairfax closed off their comments section after this story, with the majority of posts scathing of TVNZ.
The majority readers of the Fairfax article seem to be unimpressed with Mike Hosking in their (unscientific) poll;
If you, the reader, are as bemused by TVNZ’s bizarre decision to use Hosking as a faux “impartial” moderator, then sign the petition here;
Hosking’s, often fairly casual, sexism and the stereotypical put downs of women, have upset many in the past.
In 2012, Hosking made the headlines for calling a woman a “moron” after she backed her car into his.
Several people have objected to some of Hosking’s sexism as displayed on the TV programme, Seven Sharp.
Janine Fenwick tweeted, back in February,
Earlier this week, Mike Kilpatrick’s review strongly criticised Seven Sharp’s spin job in support of Cameron Slater. In the review, Kilpatrick said,
From the start host Mike Hosking was in typical Hosking mood – including some barbs at female drivers which… well, would have been out of date and inappropriate in a 1970s sitcom.
And it’s not only people offended by sexism, who may not be so keen on Hosking as moderator of the Leaders’ Debate. Tim Selwyn has been critical of Hosking’s perspective on Maori politics in the past. In this Tumeke post, Selwyn takes Hosking to task over his comments about the Waitangi Tribunal. He quotes Hosking saying the following and more,
The tribunal concept set up all those years ago was a generous concept and even if you supported it, you have to have wondered by now whether the whole thing hasn’t got wildly out of hand.
Selwyn goes on to criticise Hosking for his ignorance about the way the legacy of past colonial wrongs continue to impact negatively on Maori today. Hosking is pretty partisan on this issue, as on many others.
In much of his broadcasting work, the problem is not so much that he has biases, but the way that Hoskings most often expresses them. When it comes to a Leaders Debate, Hosking’s style, known public persona, and well-documented biases are not suited to quality broadcasting in a democracy. If nothing else, the views people associate with Hosking, will likely have an impact on many viewers’ perceptions of the development of the debate.
The Campaign for Better Broadcasting has also been critical of Hosking’s selection for the TVNZ Leaders Debate. Myles Thomas states:
“Choosing a debate moderator with public links to the ruling party would be expected in Russia or China. But this is New Zealand, a western democracy where journalists are expected to be impartial, and to hold the ruling party to account. Mike Hosking does not hold this government to account, and when he sometimes seems to, it comes across as being part of National’s communications strategy, invariably helping them dig themselves out of a hole.
As New Zealand’s most watched political debate for this election, it is vital to the integrity of our democracy that it is impartial. Mike Hosking is a great television presenter but he is not impartial as his many quotes show.
Just a glance at Hosking’s most recent ZB op eds, shows just where his allegiances lie.
But, above all, why has TVNZ been so keen to select yet another white male for the moderator job?
When are they going to select one of the many very competent women in political journalism?: some of whom are way less partisan, produce work of quality, and most are not into abrasive put-downs of the marginalised and relatively powerless members of society.
It’s a pity a Green Co-Leader isn’t invited to the debate either? – being the 3rd largest, and a medium sized Parliamentary party.