I’ve watched with increasing pleasure as John Campbell has resurrected something our mainstream TV news media has been sadly lacking in for quite a few years now: real issues with real interviews asking real (hard) questions!
For a long time I despaired of him ever clawing back the kind of journalistic integrity that saw him confronting a truly terrifying Helen Clark over GE corn in the 1990s.
It seemed for a number of years that even John fell victim to the dumbing down of news, which still sees a game of rugby taking up the first five minutes of the evening bulletin, interspersed with celebrity gossip and shallowly disguised promos for everything from television programmes to films to CDs.
We see important issues reduced down to the same banality as game shows (‘The Vote’ being perhaps one of the most noxious of late.)
So what a joy it is to see John now, night after night acting as an advocate on behalf of people who feel powerless and unheard. He’s been a real champion for the people of Christchurch and their ongoing concerns, and is no longer afraid to go for the jugular — asking the kinds of questions that leave the PR-primed politicians foaming at the mouth. It’s fascinating to watch.
Simon Bridges ‘chokka’ with PR
His interview Campbell Live on Tuesday 15th October 2013 was a brilliant case in point. There was Simon Bridges, so chokka with pre-ordained PR ‘lines’ that he couldn’t answer one question straight, being grilled about Anadarko’s safety record as it begins its exploration in the deep sea trench off Kaikoura. This is big news – important news — any slip up by Anadarko (a 25% shareholder in the company that spewed oil into the Gulf of Mexico) has the potential to destroy the marine life and environment of one of our most popular and beautiful tourist destinations.
Simon Bridges came out sounding like the chief cheerleader for Anadarko (an employee couldn’t have done better), brushing aside serious concerns with trite phrases that he had clearly rehearsed (hence his need to go back to the beginning each time he was interrupted, so he could remember the flow!)
This is another example of the toxic policies and practices of this current National Government. Not only are they seriously risking our environment but they have over-ridden community concern. And, to top it off, they have legislated in a multinational corporation’s favour so that we don’t even have the right to go out there and protest. Once again democracy is left punch-drunk in the dust.
Thank you John for rolling up your sleeves and speaking out. If the Nat’s continue their plans to send us down the gurgler, then at least let’s go down fighting!
 I exclude Māori TV from this – Native Affairs is excellent!