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Steve Braunias’ Campaign Diary: Day 5

Sep 10, 2014 Politics



1. John Armstrong, New Zealand Herald
Brown Nose Rating: Zero. Iron John! He withstands so much. He withstands time. He has been around forever, balanced and fair, judicious and respectful, a scribe for the ages. Veteran correspondent Colin James can claim that Norman Kirk shot and skinned half a dozen rabbits, and presented them to James for the pot; some say Iron John supped with Seddon.

He also withstands boring accusations of bias from the biggest, loudest, windiest bores the left-wing have to offer. If the spirit moves him to stick it to Key, he sticks it. On August 16, he reported on the immediate response to Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics thus: “The tirade of insults, invective and scorn directed at Nicky Hager must rank as one of the most sustained efforts by National to destroy an individual’s credibility since the party’s political witch trials of the Muldoon era.”

And this, from yesterday: “The dirty tricks done dirt cheap…have permanently stained National’s portion of the democratic fabric.”

2. Rod Emmerson, New Zealand Herald
Brown Nose Rating: Zero. The best political cartoonist in the land has been on fire throughout the election campaign, depicting Key skulking in Cameron Slater’s house, covered in foul excretions, nude (twice), having the alien life form known as Judith Collins burst out of his stomach, and, today, posing with the blood-sucking crazy gang of Slater, Jason Ede, Cathy Odgers, and Carrick Graham.

O virtuoso Emmerson! You make every other cartoonist look like a noodling Lake and Palmer.

3. Guyon Espiner, Morning Report
Brown Nose Rating: Zero. G! The G-Man. His remarkable interview with Key on August 18 was the single greatest piece of journalism during the campaign. Key sounded shifty, useless, cooked, as The G-Man took him to task for his dirty politicking behaviour, and roared at him, once: “Is it okay?” Twice: “Is it okay?” Thrice: “Is it okay?” One more for luck: “Is it okay?”

Superb. Why, that interview should be taught in journalism schools! This just in: it was recently taught to agape, admiring students at New Zealand’s most exciting j-school, at Wintec in Hamilton.

4. Matthew Hooton
Brown Nose Rating: Below zero. The Hoot! The right’s shocking Judas, righteous and fulminating, has made his distaste for Key very clear in his columns for Metro, NBR, and the Sunday Star-Times, in his regular appearances as a media commentator, and in his constant appearances on Twitter. A concise summary is available in the latest Metro: “The government deserves to lose on September 20.”

Who saw this coming? No one. No one! His fellow travellers have felt betrayed by his stunning about-face. They Have Said Things About Him; he went on Twitter on September 4 to respond, “To the senior National Party figures who have been putting it about today I’m on drugs: 1) I’m not. and 2) please stop saying I am.”

Dirty Politics lit a fire under Hoot’s feet. He has not stood still since. Hoot, trembling with rage; Hoot, out to get Key and fuck him up.

Sort of. He issued a press statement – who else but the Hoot would issue a press statement? – saying he was still going to vote National.

5. Sean Plunket, Radio Live
Brown Nose Rating: Dunno. Only listened to him once, yesterday, when something got up his ass on the subject of Nicky Hager being invited to talk to the j-school students at Wintec. He plainly thought it was unbecoming. He obviously regarded Hager as some kind of lunatic. He was most unimpressed.

Sean! Are you, by any chance, insane?

6. Tova O’Brien, 3 News
Brown Nose Rating: Ineligible. As a junior partner in the firm of Gower, Gower, and Gower, she is usually kept well away from the PM. But it’s unlikely she’d be a suck-up. Her inquisitive manner and flagrant disrespect for Hone Harawira made for revealing television last night. The guy looked like a fucken goose.

7. Cameron Slater, Whale Oil
Brown Nose Rating: Ineligible. You don’t hear much from him these days.

8. Barry Soper, Newstalk ZB
Brown Nose Rating: Ineligible, on account of the fact that his regular “Soapbox” thing is just kind of like totally gibberish.

9. Mike Hosking, Newstalk ZB
Brown Nose Rating: Zero. Zero! Zero? Really? Mocked and pilloried and dismissed as Key’s man, his lips all a-pucker, it’s true he doesn’t want to know about Dirty Politics, and has been chanting nothing-to-see-here like some kind of robot.

And yet the fact remains that the Hosker has actually played a solid campaign. There he was, bowling with equal velocity and cunning at Key and Cunliffe in the leader’s debate last week; and his regular “Mike’s Editorial” thing has likewise been a model of balanced commentary. It may lack in nuance. It may not be very interesting or worthwhile. But it’s fair. Respect to the Hosker. Really? Genuinely, yeah. Hell of a good broadcaster.

10. Rachel Glucina, New Zealand Herald
Brown Nose Rating: Ten. O faithful servant! O last of the mohicans. She is Holding the Fort. As managing editor of Key’s press office outside parliament, she gaily carries on like Dirty Politics never happened, like she doesn’t appear in the index on pages 19, 21, 121, 123, and 124-5 – why, there she was this morning, with another story in her series intended to destabilise Kim Dotcom.

It was about Key’s son Max hanging out with Dotcom’s ex-wife Mona at somewhere called the Roxy. Her source, “a spy at the Roxy that night”, may or may not have answered to the name of Mona Dotcom. Either way, good get! Oedipal, too, with its erotic undercurrents – the son of her friend enjoying “a fun night” with the ex-wife of her friend’s political enemy.

The story no doubt brought a smile to the PM’s handsome, rugged face. Picture him as his beautiful blue eyes sparkle with delight…Ms Glucina! Arise, O loyal pet, and receive the Sacred Order of the Brown Nose.


Previously: Nicky Hager orders the spaghetti with chilli, garlic, parsley, olive oil and Italian parmesan – and fronts up to the most exciting journalism school in New Zealand.


Illustration by Joshua Drummond.


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