Hi, my name is Brian. Edwards to be precise. You may remember me. I used to be on television. Started in Christchurch on a magazine show called Town and Around. Went north to Wellington to audition for a current affairs show called Gallery. Knew bugger all about politics and stuff and was even less interested. Bluffed my way through the audition.
Cut a long story short, got the job, got famous and thought I was the bee’s knees. (Hazard of the job really – being up yourself.) Fast forward: Left TV, did this and that. In no particular order: unsuccessful Labour candidate for Parliament, trade union worker, school teacher, TV game show host, polytechnic lecturer, Saturday morning radio host, media adviser and media trainer with wife Judy Callingham. Clients included PM Helen Clark and Labour Party ministers. Today semi-retired media consultant and occasional broadcaster.
Where is this going, Brian? Well, it’s this chap Hosking. People complaining that he’s patently politically biased to the Right and shouldn’t be chairing political debates before next month’s election.
Here’s my take on it. His personal politics are Right Wing. So far as I know, he doesn’t deny it. My personal politics, when I was a radio and television interviewer, were Left Wing. When a national newspaper accused me of allowing my personal political views to affect my interviewing, of being “politically biased,” I sued the paper for defamation. And won.
You see, there’s nothing wrong with current affairs broadcasters having personal political opinions, however strongly held, providing they don’t allow those opinions to undermine or infect their on-air work. Indeed, it’s doubtful whether a political eunuch, if such a current affairs broadcaster exists, could do the job at all.
I don’t much care for Mike Hosking myself. He comes across to me as an arrogant prick, more interested in his own opinions than anyone else’s. But that doesn’t amount to a political bias. And if you want to publicly accuse him of having such a bias and allowing it to infect his work as a professional current affairs broadcaster, you better come up with some pretty solid evidence. Or risk finding yourself in court.
Don’t say I never warned you.