MEDIA WATCH: Tova O’Brien’s latest smear on David Clark & the double standards of the NZ media (while also defending their journalism)


I’m not trying to be cute, smart, tribal or purposely trolly


Other than a very few journalists, I can not remember Key facing the kind of relentless negativity Jacinda does from Journalists – and he was outed with Dirty Politics and lying about mass surveillance!

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The journalists currently defending their criticism of Jacinda as them holding power to account were mute as field mice when Key was up to his neck in Dirty Politics and mass surveillance lies.

The double standards are extraordinary.

That said, I feel genuinely torn at the state of journalism right now – there are some journalists who I believe are doing the best work I’ve ever read/watched: Henry Cooke, John Campbell, Rachel Stewart, Hamish Rutherford, Luke Malpass, Thomas Coughlan, Moana Maniapoto, Radio NZ, Newsroom and even Damien Grant and Paul Henry are doing some amazing work, B-U-T some seem to have become focused on gotcha journalism or simply repeatedly pushing their own barrow that  seems petty in terms of what we are facing.

Political geeks know how abrasive the Press Gallery are, but those tens of thousands of NZers watching the 1pm briefing with the PM each day also see the questions that make up the sausage that is political journalism in this county and they recoil at the ingredients, something Chris Trotter explores in his must read blog on the issue.

Journalists have a tough job and they must hold the powerful to account, and as citizens we should collectively welcome that scrutiny, but when I compare the extraordinary free pass handed to Key over significant abuses of power compared to Jacinda saving the country from a pandemic, it’s difficult to not see an engrained double standard in our mainstream media.

Increasingly having independent opinion in a mainstream media environment which mostly echo one another has become more important than ever, so if you value having an independent voice going into this pandemic and 2020 election – please donate here.

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  1. I too feel torn over the state of the media as an industry in NZ, but daily some stories and the lazy bullshit products of some of these high profile “journalists” also makes me think even if it went under what would we really be missing anyway?

    The latest story against David Clark looked bad until you realised it was during the build up to level 3/4 at which point the reader concludes it was a sham headline purporting to be real news. Or as Donald says, Fake News!

    And as rightly said the blind eye turned over some of John Keys reprehensible actions was typical, although I am thinking the slight sophistication of some of his dodgy dealings was too much for their imbecilic tabloid abilities to cope with. The tax haven we had become, only thanks to a real journalist who uncovered the Panama Papers, probably gained the least attention directed at him and his horrendous conflict of cintas our PM but was by far the most sinister.
    That that creep had toiled away in the background for years making sure we became a hidden Caymen Islands bolthole for his rich mates was a disgrace.

    To steal a quote, and in reference to the vast majority of our media, I am beyond their timid lying morality, and so I am beyond caring.

    • Tova tries so hard to look and sound gotcha smart. Her sincerity shines through (not), quite comical how she feigns sincerity at the end of each monotonous tirade on TV- Who was it said, ‘If you can fake sincerity you’ve got it made’? Perhaps the same person who said ‘good news is no news’.

  2. The only thing to create change is to stop watching and reading NZ gutter journalism as there are plenty of international news outlets to get world news from, plenty of trivia on the internet and since most NZ news is no longer local or full of dirty politics with paid for content bullies, don’t support them!

    With the internet it is harder for MSM to pretend to be relevant, less and less people agree with them (aka any trials of public comments are quickly removed and our MSM prefer their articles comment less as that is how their advertisers like them). Bullying, instead of news, is also very cheap to create!

    There seems to a beat up on David Clark, when his so called transgressions are trivial, but it’s not just the right wingers, COL, the lazy left are also part of the problem as they somehow believe that the MSM trolls reflect the public and do policy as a MSM marketing campaign or try to appease the MSM constantly trying to bring down easy targets over next to nothing.

    Trying to appease bullies doesn’t work to make the public respect them (COL, Natz, MSM and politicians here) and it certainly doesn’t work for policy!

    You also can’t buy respect with money or votes. This is also part of the problem that politicians are so greedy for money they spend too much time on fundraising for themselves, even selling list MP seats, instead of doing their jobs well.

  3. I don’t rate many of the main stream journalists in NZ, but lets be clear Key got plenty of negative press over tea pot gate, pony gate, etc. Your memory is selective.
    Adern could have made the whole Clark thing go away by cauterising the wound after his first stuff up. The guy, like so many of the Labour ministers, is a liability rather than an asset and Adern lacks the conviction that Clarke or Key (or almost any other NZ Prime Minister) had to sack people for incompetence.

    Leadership is not just about doing the easy things. It is also about doing the hard things and in this respect Adern has been found sorely wanting. Empathy gets you only so far.

    • Yeah it’s so sad that a money trader formerly employed by the dodgy-as-fuck Merrill Lynch (You recall them, folks? Part of that slew of Wall Street parasites that brought you the GFC, then dined out on public bailout money), was treated soooo harshly by the NZ press. Yeah right.
      He never lied about his financial dealings.
      He never protected dirtbag MPs to maintain his slender majority.
      He never sold out his own country to foreign interests.
      Nah, none of that. Good thing the media never wasted their time investigating him on those and many other matters.

    • “I don’t rate many of the main stream journalists in NZ, but lets be clear Key got plenty of negative press over tea pot gate, pony gate, etc. Your memory is selective.”

      Fuck off! The media gave Key negative media press for all of 5 minutes! He should have resigned for physical assault.
      Hell I even heard on the farming show the other day, Barry Soper admitting to having a Judith Collins painting on his wall!

  4. Perhaps it is because John Key was basically smarmy and patronising in most of his media conferences. In addition he always had a standard party of sycophants standing around behind him who would laugh on cue to give the impression that what he said was enormously witty.
    Jacinda has none of that. She stands on her own and her manner is polite and empathetic, but firm and not really witty. She is not above deflecting a difficult question as all politicians do at times, yet I have never seen her dump on any particular person.
    It seems that many journalists, incredibly even the female journalists who have made a career fighting the old back room boys culture, have trouble dealing with an intelligent female PM. (I recall that Jenny Shipley had similar trouble back in the 90s too).
    Above all she is credible, even to a lot of National supporters.
    And credibility is a big asset in these uncertain times.

    • Slippery John is a smarmy little Pratt.
      However I don’t believe he got any easier ride than Adern.
      The reality is that he was far more effective at implementing his policies than Adern is.
      You don’t have to like his policies to recognize that.
      Also, like Helen Clark, he was more than happy to step up and fire someone for their indiscretions. Perhaps a little too happy.

      • You don’t believe Key got an easier ride than Ardern? Have you been drinking? Key touched up a waitress. Repeatedly. After she’d asked him not to. Repeatedly. Not only did he have Granny Herald running interference for him, he got to fob the whole thing off as harmless japes and giggles, and nothing a couple of bottles of plonk wouldn’t fix. The guy was, and is, a grade-A scumbag, and he got a much easier time of it than Ardern’s getting, particularly from the mainstream media. I don’t know Tova O’Brien from a hole in the ground, but she seems to actively dislike the PM and appears to take great delight in asking disingenuous questions and being generally snotty. She reminds me of a young Paddy Gower, before he got a clue and grew up a bit.

    • As a former small business owner the longer the COL take to decide what help they get with rent and other out goings the more I feel they are floundering. They seem to not be able to shake this left party mantra that landlords are the rich guys and do not deserve help. I understand Melbourne they have come up with a format the government pays 60 per cent the tenant 20 percent and the landlord cuts the rent by 20 percent. This is for 3 months and gives cirtaiinty all round . We are going to end up with empty shops and legal fights that will do no one any good

    • I wouldn’t have called Shipley intelligent. She was just as venal and monetarily greedy as all the other Nats.

      • Well I think to get to the top you have to be intelligent, but that does not necessarily mean you are also benevolent or caring.

  5. 100%.

    I’m not a fan of David Clarke but O’Brien’s relentless and very personal crusade against the him is an absolute disgrace.

    The divisive undermining is right out of the handbook of Slyman Bwidges who she is clearly running interference for. We all know and accept by now that O’Brien despises the Government, especially Ardern but her blatant bias at this of all times reflects extremely badly on her profession. This is especially so as she continues to gift Bridges a free pass unless she’s embarrassed into running a perfunctory story about Bridges so she appears “neutral” .I’ve stopped watching the 1pm PC’s as her “questions” are just too nauseating. Mike Hoskings would be proud of her. TV3 news is now tainted by her stink. NZ does not need the likes of that disgusting individual masquerading as a journalist.

    Question need to be asked why O’Brien is so vehemently anti this Government to the point of it being a full time goal to bring it down. Makes you wonder just what is hidden from view.

    Perhaps a view of bank statements and relationship history would reveal telling details resulting in certain people looking for new employment opportunities.

    • “Question need to be asked why O’Brien is so vehemently anti this Government to the point of it being a full time goal to bring it down. Makes you wonder just what is hidden from view.”

      God, you lot are such hypocrites on here. It’s her JOB! to hold the government to account.. Its just not nice and cuddly enough for you lot I guess….but you ALL have plenty of same treated to send Mike Hoskings way when it suits you!

      Just like at your commenting name! “jacinda fan” jazz….that sure makes you objective on this eh! lol
      Try using your real name! It might bring you some perspective

      • “Holding to account” allows for rational, level-headed and unbiased investigation.
        Such investigation seeks to educate and inform, and defend the powerless and those without a voice against the machinations of those who would exploit them. We saw next to none of this whilst Key and his cronies wheeled and dealed behind the mask of government.
        It doesn’t incorporate ‘gotcha’ gutter reporting and character assassination, based on the biases and individual agenda of the reporter. O’Brien has indulged in this – a fact brought starkly into focus by her performances at the televised Covid press conferences.
        And people are allowed to use non-de-plumes here, to protect themselves and their families against rabid right wing nut jobs and trolls, desperately trying to control the narrative.
        Those that don’t like it can go back to Kiwiblog.

        • Right, so it’s just meant to be an echo, echo echo echo chamber, chamber chamber, this site is it?
          Ya need a thicker skin wokester.

          • A desire for “rational, level-headed and unbiased investigation” to “educate and inform” makes someone a “wokester”???

        • Well put Jase. Excellent response. Can I add one thing though? @Ross Matthews – While the media should openly report and hold officialdom to account, it does not mean they have carte blanche to character assassinate or personalise their attacks on any one politician, which is what O’Brien has done and is doing.

      • No one has a problem with O’Brien holding the government to account. They should be held to account. No one expects Jacinda to be handled with kid gloves and given patsy questions during press conferences. Governments that get a free pass without the media’s Eye of Sauron fixing them with its inquisitorial stare tend to take dangerous liberties. But you can ask pertinent, difficult questions without coming across as an antagonistic smartass. We don’t need any more graduates of the Michael Hosking School of Journalism, thanks. They’re not informative or enlightening, and they’re definitely not helpful. They’re just belligerent.

  6. Problem here is no Jorno in the MSM now sems to “instill” public respect for their honesty, since John Campbell whhen he was with Channel 3 most fely John was ‘dripping with honesty then in 2013.

    100% Martyn – We now really have most Jouno’s that are just another from of “lobbyists” for hire.

    I am sad to say this; – and yes Tova Obrien appeared to be like a ‘barking dog flothing at the mouth ‘with that vitrolic attack on the ‘happless’ David Clark who has a lane duck Autocratic Health agency behind him failing him badly along with failing us too.

    It was so overdone “attack politics” that OBrien used that lowered the average watcher’s view and credibility of her I believe.

    As it had that affect on me to turn off the channel when seeing her shathing attack on Clark.

  7. I no longer watch 3 news due to it’s lazy journalism. Morah running stories from unnamed sources which usually amount to nothing more than someone was inconvenienced or didn’t like the advice they were given. No background information given. Newshub still running story of 70 year old attacked by gang members when he admitted it wasn’t true. As for Tova, it’s not personal or political, it’s equal opportunity head hunting, She was trained in her role by Paddy Gower, who was trained by Duncan Garner. Is anyone really surprised that she is carrying the torch of ‘gotcha’ forward? It’s what she and her team are paid to do. I contacted tv3 to explain the reasons for my switch to one news (shudder). If everyone did the same, perhaps the tv3 management would take Tova aside and ask for a more measured tone instead of the wide eyed blood lust she does so well. I do prefer tv3 weather though but that is just personal taste.

    • I try to avoid TV3 news as it is New Zealand’s weaker version of Fox News. Unfair, unbalanced and afraid (of going bankrupt). But the resurrection of Paul Henry will save them. LOL

  8. Some of the questions at the Covid beehive sessions have been interesting. I’ve heard a journalist complaining about there not being enough time to ask questions. Granted it’s probably a bit like a zoo and being open slather likely to turn to mayhem.

    Then out of the shouty mob someone gets their big opportunity to ask the Big Question. We are to have something explained. Jason Walls explained what it’s like to be there: “The daily press conferences often spark a tirade of complaints on social media about “idiotic questions” and shouting matches between reporters.”

    So a journalist gets their big moment. Out comes some personal bee-in-the-bonnet, ‘Gotcha, I’m going to get you to say something I can turn into drama and scandal.’

    The sessions are online so we can hear the questions. Including those seeking genuine information to inform the public and quench the genuine curiosity of the journalist.

    When some of the journalists were growing up and aspired to work in a critically important industry they and their parents would have been excited and thrilled. When they completed tertiary education there would have been such pride. When they got a job it would have been so exciting.

    Oh the dreams! The reality when some like Tova O’Brien head out to work on some days? It’s like they go out to scrape chewing gum off pavements and the underneath of bus seats. Each to their own I suppose but once scraped up they hold it out wanting, expecting us to chew on it. If they can’t find any? They sit on a park bench and lost in their reverie chew their own gum, pop a few bubbles, spit it out, work it around then scrape it off to see how they go.

  9. Journalists are as rare as rocking horse shit. The good ones often seem to end up locked up in prison for doing their job.

  10. The NZ commercial mainstream media relies on advertising to pay the bills. As a result it panders to ‘business’ and we all know who ‘business’ votes for. ‘Business’ wants low taxes, the cheapest labour possible and as few regulations as possible. In return ‘business’ funds the political parties that dance on the end of their strings.
    The msm in NZ is completely in the pocket of ‘business.’ Reporters like the above are bought and paid for, their writing is biased to the point of vomit.

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