Friday, 29 August 2014


The whole setup was ridiculous.

In a proper debate – in a properly moderated debate – the moderator sets the topic, the first fellow then gets a minute or two to address it, the second fellow gets the same time to address it and to  respond, and then the first fellow gets a very short time to respond. If they want to challenge their opponent’s facts, then they do it in their appointed time, integrating it with their planned response. Contestants alternate with each topic, giving it at least the appearance of fairness

That’s a debate.

It’s not a debate when contestants are simply invited to talk as long they like, over whomever they like. Sure, they can talk over each other even in properly moderated debates, but then at least it’s clear who is supposed to be talking, and viewers can decide for themselves what that tells them about those who butt in.

Sheesh. Moderators in high-school debates do the job better.

And that’s not all.

In  proper debate – in a debate between adversaries – the whole scene is set architecturally. Instead of lecterns side by side, like a Kraftwerk comeback concert, making them turn their heads to  insult each other, you have them facing  each other so they can talk like adults. Or at least try to.

This sets the scene visually, so that instead of appearing onscreen shoulder to shoulder, like collaborators in a big gig, they are facing off against other as they should be. As they are.

They manage it in US presidential debates. See: some recognition of the adversarial gravity of the event:

And see how the moderator in the presidential debates keeps his distance?  See how he’s made visually a lesser being? That’s a lesson right there for Mike Hosking.

This was a man who didn’t know his place. Viewers tuned in for sixty minutes of debate between the men who would be Prime Minister. Instead, they got twenty-eight minutes of talk by Mike Hosking and thirty-two minutes of future PMs trying to talk over him. As Tweeter @neogeo quipped, “Key is doing a terrible job of moderating this debate between Cunliffe and Hosking.”

And what about the topics this moron asked them? Sheesh! "What is your ideal date night?" “What was the best advice you ever received?” I started looking to see if the Women’s Weekly were sponsoring the whole fiasco.  And then on to what seemed like ten minutes about fricking polling!!  Does he not realise that polls are the result of performances like these. If we’re going to ask about polls instead of politics, on the basis of which people make their judgements about the politicians, thus raising further questions about polls, then our campaigns are going to spiral down into a concatenation of bullshit talking about bollocks.  Which is what Hosking’s final question amounted to. What sort of dickhead finishes what should be a debate about pressing political matters by asking the participants how they think they did.

For fuck’s sake!

I watched last night on sufferance. I don’t think I’ll bother again.


  1. I only saw a minute or two of the debate, and haven't bothered to watch the rest of it.
    It's typical in NZ, that a major player in any election is the media itself. Gone are the days, when they reported news as objectively as they could, or that you would have a debate on stuff that matters (like policy).
    As for me, it's irrelevant what the media do these days, as I don't consider anything they say on face value as I used to.

    B Whitehead

  2. Didn't watch debate; hardly ever watch TV1.
    Twice seen a bit of "7 Sharp". Heard Hosking get quite irate when St Heliers school banned teaching the Bible in school. Thought that if a majority of parents didn't object, then it should have left as is - "that's democracy" ~ i.e. might is right. The second occasion was upon hearing Lynyrd Skynyrd he informed us they only had 1 Billboard hit; and on that basis "they can't have been any good, eh". And on that sort of logic, Jeff Beck (e.g.)can't play a guitar at all. Don't listen to ZB, but Hoskings comes across as a smug plonker - I suspect a Colin Craig supporter


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