Banned from Radio NZ for criticizing the Government
Folks, the rumors are true, I've been banned from Radio NZ for criticizing John Key. I was phoned last Friday morning and told that my criticism of John Key was over the top and as such I had broken RNZ editorial policies. I thought they were joking.
I was first on RNZ over a decade ago with Kim Hill and have since then been a regular on the Panel, a show I very much enjoyed participating in. I have given dozens of opinions with the same bite in the past and thought the entire situation was a wind up.
I was wrong, this was no joke. I was told I would be banned, I asked if that was for life and was left with the impression that a Labour-Green Government would be in power before i was ever let back on the station.
On current polling that could be 2017 or 2020.
Here is the transcript of what I said...
What does a $43 million loan to Mediaworks buy you on Radio Live - apparently an hour of John Key avoiding answering any questions on politics. Why pay Mediaworks $43 million for that, when John Key can appear on Close Up and not answer questions for free.
Whanau, I have been critical over our mainstream media's none ending love affair with Key, it's our first cult of no personality, but Radio Live takes fair and balanced to a whole new level of Fox News crazy.
Radio Live didn't offer any other political leader an hour of free talkback and went on to claim that allowing the Prime Minister to host an hour of radio minus any hard questions at all about his policy isn't political. Which is kinda like arguing that allowing George W Bush to write editorials in the New York Times about his favorite cake recipe during the invasion of Iraq isn't 'political'.
Radio Live say it's because of electoral law that John Key couldn't answer questions on politics. Really? Put Key in there for an hour with an interviewer and ask him questions, that would have side stepped those issues, but to give him an hour where he gets to hide behind a 'no politics' zone on the very day our credit was downgraded is simply disgraceful!
This is NZ, not Cuba, the Dear Leader doesn't get to drone on on about his personal crap 50 days out from an election. Rather than answer questions about the country going to hell in a hand basket, John Key talked about his cat and his views on Coronation Street moving timeslots.
No wonder the sleepy hobbits love Key so much, with media as uncritical as Radio Live, I'm surprised Key isn't registering 80% support.
And John Key's attempt yesterday to blame the Labour Party for a mans attempted self harm in Parliament is a new low, even for Parliament.
Yelling, "It's your fault, it's your fault" while making a throat slashing gesture at Phil Goff (as a man with mental health issues dangled from Parliaments balcony) is the sort of ravings one expects from a meth addict on a bender, not the political leader of a country.
Topping this nonsense off is Key's excuse that he was actually talking about Labour's criticism of his over spending on the Diplomatic Protection service?
What could justify making a throat slashing gesture at Phil Goff for an event that had all the implications of an attempted suicide if the guy had actually fallen?
What a lovely little piece of work our Prime Minister is when he is caught off guard.
...now I accept that I have my detractors. Failed ACT Party candidate and hate monger Cathy Odgers, Mr Sulky pants Cameron Slater and the bore of babylon David Farrar from the right and from the aesthetic left, Mr Smug at Fundy Post, the Bryce Edwards Fan club and Imperator Fish but despite the bitching about my style or presentation, I don't think anything I raised there as part of my opinion piece broke any editorial rules.
The people currently flooding RNZ with complaints about my banning also don't think I broke any editorial rules when lined up against the right wing pundits who pronounce their Gospel as accepted faith.
I also want to clarify some of the spin Slater is using at the moment to suggest I didn't inform RNZ of my opinion topic, giving them the justification to ban me. As usual Slater is wrong. I emailed RNZ at 2.38pm with my topic of John Key and before the show even began, when Jim was asking me about my topic off air, I read the first paragraph from my piece and we all had a laugh.
Well no ones laughing now.
If you can't criticize the PM on State Radio, and the private radio give him free air time during the credit downgrade where he doesn't answer any criticisms, then where the hell in a democracy can you criticize him?
In the same week as I was banned from RNZ for criticizing the PM, the Herald was banned from Parliament for 10 days and Key got his Radio Live freebie. If Helen Clark had pulled any of this in her time as leader, the voices from the right so quick to denigrate me, would be in full voice for the support of freedom of speech. Their hypocrisy should surprise no one.
I would like to thank the staff at RNZ who do an amazing job with the ongoing budget cuts and the courage of media watch to bring the story forward in the first place.
In the near future I am focused on hosting the new 7pm weeknight election campaign show on Stratos kicking off on the 31st of October.
It's been a joy to have the opportunity to share my opinion on Radio NZ, I note the irony that I am being banned from a station that I spent much time a couple of years ago saving by promoting the 'Save Radio NZ' facebook site, but life is full of irony.
Finally I am more disappointed for Radio NZ and the ideas of public broadcasting that I always held them up to. Banning someone for criticizing the Prime Minister is a terrible look, not just for RNZ, but for us as a democracy.