The state of shock many pundits seems to be in over TVNZ poaching one of the best remaining assets TV3 has seems more surprising than her leaving.
TVNZ and RNZ have been waiting like hungry wolves for broadcasters of the skill TV3 had built up and poaching Hilary as the network slowly bleeds to death was as obvious as a last minute twist in a Game of Thrones episode.
When your enemy is drowning, you throw the prick an anvil and that’s what TVNZ have done by stealing Hilary. The fact that Hilary only has to work out a month of her contract before she goes and only had a very light weight restriction of trade clause in her contract shows how blindsided TV3 management have been. They took Hilary for granted and TVNZ have seized the moment. All that is left to steal from TV3 is the incredibly talented Mike McRoberts and the rumours are already moving on his possible departure.
In short – TV3 are mutilated. After killing off Campbell Live for political reasons, Mark Weldon’s and Julie Christie’s massacre of of TV3s news credibility has poisoned viewers against the network.
When people switch on at 6pm each evening, they are inviting you into their living rooms, they form personal attachments, they want the truth and need the sense that the news is somehow holding the buggers to account and standing on the side of the viewer.
TV3 burnt that.
National Party editorial team
The thing missing from most analysis – and this one by Stuff is a classic example – is the political dimension of all of this.
People need to believe that the journalist is on their side, not the side of the powerful. MediaWorks, being a former business once owned by Steven Joyce, simply became too close to the people they were supposed to be watching on our behalf for viewers to ever trust again.
When the Government gave Mediaworks a sweetheart loan at a rate they couldn’t gain on the open market, their closeness started becoming untenable, but it was the mindless and politically motivated self mutilation of Campbell Live that really sunk their reputation.
Weldon is and always was a political stooge for Key and the moment he had a chance he killed Campbell Live off so that his mate Key wouldn’t have any trouble with that pesky John Campbell.
How much of a stooge is Weldon to Key?
1: He’s the man John Key picked to chair the “Summit on Employment” in 2009(1)
2:He’s also the man John Key picked to lead The Christchurch Earthquake Appeal(2)
3: He’s also the man who used that position to breach the Bill of Rights Act and force “the advancement of religion” into the Christchurch Earthquake Appeal Trust’s constitution(3)
4: And he’s the man Cameron Slater (Whaleoil) characterises as “allegedly a friend of John Key”(4)
5: Slater also asked on October 15 last year “Who will be the first (of many) casualties under Mark “I’m the boss” Weldon at Mediaworks?” with one commenter on that story saying “The man is a tyrant who doesn’t play nicely with others. Frankly, I love the idea of Weldon and John Campbell having to work together …”(5)
6: he’s also the man whom insiders were picking as a potential National Party candidate for the safe seat of Tamaki(6)
7: And he’s a man who praised John Key’s program of asset sales announced in 2011 as “bold, it was clear, it was early – and very positive…” and called those who were cautious about it “fearmongering”. That’s the same assets sales program that had to be drastically cut back and became something of an embarrassment to the government(7)
8: He’s the man who made a substantial personal gain ($6 million) as a result of Key’s asset sales announcement(8)
9: He’s also the man who, as CEO of the NZX, characterised those who voiced concerns about aspects of the Exchange’s operations as mentally ill(9)
10: He’s the man who’s already got rid of two of Mediaworks’s main financial watchdogs – chief financial officer Peter Crossan and company secretary and lawyer Claire Bradley(10)
11: He’s the man of whom blogger Cactus Kate (business lawyer and commentator Cathy Odgers) noted “Mediaworks currently does not employ anyone on your television or radio with a larger ego than Weldon, even Willie Jackson, Sean Plunket and Duncan Garner combined can’t compete” and that “NZX was the greatest reality soap opera in town under Weldon’s leadership, the casting couch of characters was enormous as disgruntled staff left and new bright eyed disciples were employed”(11)
12: He’s the man Odgers also described (in a blog post now deleted by referenced by another, also right wing, blogger) as a “weasel word corporate-welfared CEO…” and a “shallow self-promoting tool”(12)
13: He’s the man who said there was no conflict of interest in allowing the NZX to be the provider of NZX services, the supervisor of its members, a listed participant on its own exchange and the market regulator… a statement one broker described as “utter balderdash”(13)
Weldon was also appointed by Key, or one of his Ministers, to the Capital Markets Development Taskforce in 2009/10; the Tax Working Group in 2009; and the Climate Change Leadership Forum in 2007. Key also gave him a QSO in the 2012 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
The pay back was the elimination of one of Key’s most powerful media critics, and the obviousness of the killing off of Campbell Live left a sore taste in the mouths of so many viewers, they never went back again.
TV3 is like your favourite fish n chip shop that gives you awful food poisoning, you never return.
Hilary Barry is merely the latest in a long list of self inflicted mutilations as the management team manage to destroy almost a quarter of a century’s worth of good will.
John Campbell, Paula Penfold David Farrier, Mark Jennings and now Hilary all deserved far better than this. To add insult to injury, Weldon appointed the female version of Cameron Slater, the exceptionally toxic Rachel Glucina after she had been caught out mis-representing herself as a PR person to get a scoop for the equally damaged NZ Herald.
A democracy needs watchdogs on power, TV3 stopped being a watch dog and became a lap dog the moment Weldon took over.