Opinion: Herald backlash at talkback trash talk

Opinion 20/04/2018
Photo: TVNZ.

By Mitch Harris, Night Talk host. 

OPINION: Most of the time when you open The New Zealand Herald website you are confronted with the latest ill-informed nouveau riche diatribe from Mike Hosking.

It must be hard for the “old school journos” to swallow the sort of Trump-base nonsense that Hosking bangs out each day. The trouble is that radio makes all the money these days and it is critical that Hosking is kept on his perch.

But enough is enough. Something must have happened behind the scenes because two of the Herald’s most venerable writers have written pieces taking Hosking to task. And Hosking himself seems to have taken a backseat over the past week avoiding political commentary altogether.

The NZ Herald has increasingly resembled Britain's Daily Mail in recent years.

Simon Wilson kicked it off with an opinion piece titled “10 pieces of nonsense they’re talking about transport”. Although a number of politicians are included, it is Hosking who gets the most mentions.

Wilson finishes off by writing, “How are we going to face up to the big difficult issues if politicians and commentators prefer the lazy option of easy trash talk?”

"Commentators" or rather, Hosking.

But that was nothing compared to what Brian Rudman had to say. Rudman is an institution and for good reason. He adheres to the quaint notion that facts are important.

Rudman wrote, “It’s time Mike Hosking cast-off his post-election Gucci sackcloth and sought grief counselling. One of the days he’s going to have to face up to the fact that his dear mate John is long gone, and that six months ago, a majority of New Zealanders voted for change.”

Rudman went on to twist the knife, “His latest burst of weeping and wailing about the imminent end of the world under the New Order was sparked by the minimum wage going up 75 cents an hour… Hosking, it seems, was so steamed up about this grim scenario, he rushed off to the Hampton Downs race track to cool off and instead, crashed his $140,000 Alfa Romeo race car. No doubt we’ll learn it was Jacinda’s fault.”

Ouch.

I can’t see Hosking taking a back seat for much longer though, because now he has competition in the form of ZB’s Wellington Mornings host Heather du Plessis-Allan. Heather realises that being a fair-minded fence-sitter is no way to shine in her new Wellington talkback role. She aims to be the New Zealand version of Laura Ingraham or Anne Coulter.

The NZ Herald has increasingly resembled Britain’s Daily Mail in recent years. Time will tell whether the old school journos will win the day or whether it will become full Fox-like.

Mitch Harris is the host of Night Talk, 8pm - 12am on RadioLIVE.