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Hamish McKenzie - responder, London, Ontario

Thursday, August 04, 2005

This will be brief...

'Cos I don't want to dwell on it. But Aaron said he looked forward to my comments, so here they are.

Yes, TV3 is a private company, and yes, it is their prerogative to decide what goes on the show. But that doesn't mean they can shirk their responsibilities of fairness and balance in their election coverage.

TV3's poll had a sample of 1,000. 14 people chose ACT as their top party; 12 chose United Future. Based on this poll, excluding one of those parties in favour of another does not make fair and balanced coverage.

Furthermore, Aaron suggests it would be foolish for TV3 to consider other polling data in their decision when they invest so much to produce their own. Well, I would say that relying on the polls for this decision was a foolish idea in the first place. This far out from the election (still 42 sleeps!), the polls really don't mean much for the minor parties. The polls will mean something more for them once the leaders debate has been televised. That's when they finally get some time in the spotlight. At the moment they're very much confined to the sidelines while National and Labour throw mud at each other.

Also, Craig Ranapia sent me an email to say Dunne's comparison of TV3 to Mugabe "says more about his own self-important pomposity than the quality of TV3's editorial judgement." What do I have to say to that? Well, yeah, pretty much. Dunne was being hyperbolical, and he knows it. But he's desperate for attention, and without the TV3 leaders debate, perhaps he feels he has to go to desperate measures to get media attention. He would have wanted his comments to make front page news, to stir the hornet's nest. Comparing TV3 to Mugabe (a fashionable villain at the moment) might just have done the trick. Still, I agree that he's a dick for going that far.

Craig goes on to say "If the whole election hinges on one (commercial TV) hour of high-tech bear-baiting, our democracy is in very deep shit indeed."

Okay, it's not true that the whole election hinges on this leaders debate -- but it will affect United Future's, er, future. And it may well affect the make-up of the next government.